India’s green energy goals: The way forward | Rare Techy
Recently, there has been a lot of talk about greenhouse gases in the context of climate change and global warming. Many developed and developing countries have already announced or are in the process of establishing schedules to achieve “neutral” emissions of greenhouse gases.
The term “net zero” refers to a situation in which a balance is achieved between greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere and removed from the atmosphere by various means (including capture). Although this situation is very good, it requires a lot of effort from all advanced countries to make progress. At the same time, it is important that different countries commit themselves at different times to this project, depending on the level of current readiness and most importantly access to the necessary resources.
In the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) held between October 31 and November 12 in Glasgow last year, India pledged to reduce its emissions to zero by 2070. China has announced plans to become carbon neutral by 2060, the US and the EU. announced their goal of becoming debt-free by 2050.
India recently updated the first National Development Contribution (NDC) under the Paris Agreement (2021-2030) announced earlier in 2015, and announced the revised NDCs in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in August 2022. India’s main domestic goals are to achieve “net zero”. The country’s goal is “to take a better path to the sky and a cleaner path than that followed by others at previous levels of economic development”. India has also committed to “reduce the emissions intensity of its GDP by 45 percent by 2030, from 2005 levels”. In addition, the country’s desire to achieve “nearly 50 percent of installed electricity generation from non-renewable energy sources by 2030”, will involve technology transfer from advanced nations and the help of low-cost international funds, including the Green Climate Fund (GCF).
Since reaching the goal of global transmission such as net failure will be very important and will have a significant impact on the global economy, we must draw up sustainable ways to achieve high levels.
There are many aspects of that transition related to technology, environment and socio-economic conditions that vary in the specific culture of the country. Therefore, a country needs to be careful and considerate before considering disruptive changes in existing infrastructure, and a systemic approach is needed to understand the impact of changes in the integration process.
From the latest NDC, it is clear that India’s approach to addressing “net neutrality” is heavily reliant on “Green Energy”, which aims to reduce CO2 emissions. Most importantly by 2021 the energy sector alone will account for 49 percent of total CO2 emissions in India.
On the other hand, India’s transport sector contributes to 13.2 percent of the country’s total CO2 emissions, which is 90 percent more than the emissions that can be attributed to the road transport sector alone. (includes passengers and vehicles).
Therefore, the country is looking for ways to reduce CO2 emissions from these two sectors. Although new energy sources such as solar photovoltaic (PV) and wind power are leading among non-renewable energy sources, electric vehicles (EVs) have been able to push some government support programs and e-mobility. it is considered to be the key to achieving a green and sustainable transport sector.
A major factor that is often overlooked when creating larger than life images is the availability of resources. To give more context, the availability of important raw materials involved in the production of critical components for key “green energy” systems and “green mobility” products should be identified as a priority. Spaces in variable renewable energy (VRE) sources require the use of grid-scale storage (batteries).
Batteries are also needed for EVs. The main materials used in batteries are lithium, cobalt and nickel. The price of cobalt rose from around $32,000 per tonne to $70,000 per tonne in January-December 2021, while the price of lithium increased by more than five times by 2021. Price hikes are expected to continue in the near future.
Therefore, the ambition of a big green transition should be revisited from time to time to re-evaluate the priorities and show the most practical way of transitioning to a cleaner future.
In addition, new regulations issued by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) made heavy consumer goods more energy efficient. Two “clean goods” that dominate the market in India are room air conditioners (RAC) and washing machines (LWM), as they have a lower level of market penetration in refrigerators.
RACs and LWMs are increasingly using Rare Earth (RE) permanent magnets in their automotive designs because of their superior performance compared to ferrite models. Currently, all motors and magnets used in air conditioners, washing machines, and EVs are imported.
Industrial capabilities related to the production of sustainable RE engines and cars geared towards “clean goods” and EVs are lacking in India. The creation and sustainability of the ecosystem requires incentives, the continuous availability of the essential RE materials used in magnets, and the demand for basic products.
The availability of important resources, the smooth transfer of technology, the structure of the industry are closely related aspects of the ambition of green energy in the country. The integration of all these elements requires strong intervention from the government and financial requirements that must be met through close interactions with the industry.
Once the priorities are decided, it makes sense to adopt a hybrid business model that combines top-down and bottom-up approaches that pursue company-level information from relevant sectors. Only then can the true spirit of “AtmaNirbhar Bharat” and “Make in India” be realized in a joint effort.
(The author is Assistant Professor, National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bengaluru)