Union Minister of New and Renewable Energy Dr. Farooq Abdullah has said that the major challenge in the renewable energy sector is to reduce its per-unit cost. He was delivering the tenth Darbari Seth Memorial Lecture in New Delhi today. Emphasising the need for continuous innovation to increase efficiencies and bring down costs, he said research and development in renewable energy is an important area of action. Citing the example of the tariff discounting based bidding in the National Solar Mission that saw a cost decline of nearly 30%, the Minister added that the efficiencies can result from healthy competition and free play of market forces.
Stating that India today stands among the top five countries of the world in terms of renewable energy capacity, Dr. Abdullah said the country has an installed base of over 20 GW, which is around 11 per cent of India’s total power generation capacity and contributes over 6 per cent to the electricity mix. This represents an almost 400% increase in the past 5 years alone. The Minister said the investment in renewables grew by 25% last year and contributed nearly $3.8 billion. He added that India today ranks 8th in the world as far as attracting investments into Renewable Energy is concerned. Describing it just a beginning, the Minister said the National Action Plan on Climate Change mandates an increase in the share of renewable power in the electricity mix to 15 per cent by the year 2020. He said the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has already developed an action plan that aims at accelerating the deployment of renewable energy. A target of around 72 GW of renewable power including 20 GW solar capacity by 2022 has been set up.
Dr. Farooq Abdullah said the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy is also experimenting with numerous new applications of decentralized renewable energy. In Rajasthan, there is a plan to provide solar power to each of the 9168 panchayat ghars. These 1 Kw systems will help provide reliable power to run computers, televisions and provide e-connectivity to otherwise far-flung and poor areas. In many tribal and forest areas of Madhya Pradesh, solar power is being used to light up remote hamlets. In rural Bihar, experiment with locally available rice-husk is being done to generate electricity In numerous villages. He said, the Government is promoting solar charging stations as an opportunity to create micro-level enterprises and offer solar related services through them to the village community.
The Minister said Darbari Seth, a chemical engineer and Founder-Chairman of TERI had great love for renewable energy and used it on a large scale.