One of the biggest challenges facing the rise of India to global economic prominence is the availability of electricity. India requires not just cheap electricity to power its next-generation, but it requires safe and environmentally friendly sources of electricity. With the role of fossil fuels inextricably linked to the increase of global temperatures, nations around the world are looking towards renewable energy to both help restore the balance in the ecosystem and to create jobs that will power the future.
Renewable energy in India accounts for roughly 38% or 136 GW of the total installed energy capacity. The renewable energy sector in India is divided between Hydro, Solar, wind, and other renewable sources. The renewable sector is a major employment generator in India with around 7 lakhs people working in the sector, the lion’s share of the employment being generated in the hydroelectric sector, followed by solar and wind energy. As the price of electricity production through renewable sources achieves parity with coal-fired power plants thanks to a series of subsidies and improvements in core technologies, India has seen an increase in investments in the renewable energy sector.
It has been reported that the Indian renewable energy sector has increased by 250% between the years of 2014 and 2020 and in the financial year 2020-21 alone, India has seen FDI inflows to the tune of US$10.02 billion. This sum is expected to increase to US$50 billion in the next decade thanks in part due to schemes like the Atmanirbhar Bharat scheme which aims to create high-efficiency solar PV modules within the country. Today, around the country there are 456 government-funded projects and 29 private projects creating an investment pool of US$224.44 billion. This has the potential to create 3.2 million jobs within the renewable energy sector by 2050.
12% of the total electricity produced in India for FY 20-21 was hydroelectric. With the central government committed to increasing hydroelectric capacity by another 26GW by 2030, the reservoir of opportunities will only increase in this field. One mustn’t be shoehorned into thinking that hydroelectric power can only be generated from massive dams that generate upwards of 500MWs of power, instead, power is generated from small scale hydroelectric power stations like pumped hydropower plants which generate as little as 25MW ( the official limit after which hydroelectric production is considered to be green energy )
Hydroelectric is a green energy source that can generate electricity efficiently and quickly. Something that is needed during periods of low demand, in the absence of effective storage solutions, wind and solar energy will face bouts of low production which will cause grid failure if not addressed. A hydroelectric plant can generate electricity from idle in under 15 minutes, slotting these plants in the sweet spot of tiding over excess demand during peak hours or for tiding overconsumption in the off-peak hours.
Engineers can expect to start their career in the hydroelectric domain designing turbines, generators, powerhouses, daft tubes, surge tanks. A career in the hydroelectric sector is not beneficial for the climate but creates a career that is set for growth through the next three decades.
If there is one thing that Indians can agree on, it’s that our country is hot. For 300 days of the year India is baked by the sun leading to a situation where, theoretically, we can generate as much as 5,000 trillion kilowatt/hours of electricity every year. Of course, this is predicated on the fact that we carpet the country with solar panels. But, even just using 3% of the total wasteland will yield 748GW of electricity. Considering the total installed capacity in India is only 344GW you can understand the potential of harnessing the sun’s rays.
Currently, solar power accounts for 33GW or 2% of the total electricity generated. But, the Government has set a target of 100GW installed solar power capacity to be achieved by 2022, on top of this the Government is also going to increase the total renewable installed energy capacity to 400GW of which 60% (260GW) will be solar power, aspirational targets that are seeing massive investments in this space.
There is an increase in private and public investment in the solar energy space to capitalize on the decrease in the cost of photovoltaic cells and fall in tariff prices for solar energy, at Rs 2 per unit, solar energy is the lowest while electricity produced by coal-powered plants is at Rs 4/unit.
The Adani group currently has 3.5GW of installed capacity with another 25GW of planned projects in the works.
Tata group already has a portfolio of 7GW of installed solar energy capacity with investments to increase this number in the works.
With the Make in India initiative to reduce the dependence on Chinese parts used in the solar energy industry, the Government of India has unveiled production-linked incentives schemes for solar panel manufacturing in the country. The Government hopes to create 10GW of integrated solar PV manufacturing capacity in the country
India has the fourth-largest installed wind generation capacity in the world, with 38GW there is potential for India’s still underdeveloped wind energy sector. India sits on a goldmine of offshore wind generation as well, with a potential 70GW available along the coasts of TN and Gujarat.
Unlike solar energy, there is 80% localization of parts in the wind energy ecosystem. A shining success story of the Make in India initiative, the wind energy sector in India is only pulled down by the lack of availability of land. Even during the pandemic, India managed to install 1.1GW of new wind power projects, a number that is bound to increase thanks in part to the Government’s commitment to increase installed capacity to 140GW.
With increased investments in this sector, there are various avenues for employment opening up. Not limited to,
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