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Leading India to Energy Independence

January 27, 2023 6:00 pm

Leading India to Energy Independence

India seeks to ensure that everyone has constant access to adequate electricity while simultaneously hastening the clean energy transition by reducing its reliance on fossil fuels and shifting toward more ecologically friendly, renewable energy sources. Future investments will benefit from robust demand fundamentals, legislative support, and the government’s increased emphasis on infrastructure.
Energy independence and energy security
Growing urbanisation and infrastructure are enhancing the electricity sector’s development possibilities. When we fuel expansion, the evident demands of transportation—urban and rural transportation—increase the energy requirements for that, and therefore the electricity consumption rises. So, how are we doing right now? More than 50–60 percent of our energy generation is based on fossil fuels, the majority of our transportation fuel is based on oil, and we are talking about a tremendous import bill that will be played across the board.
Commenting on this, Raghavendra Mirji, Sr. Vice President & Business Head for Godrej Electrical & Electronics, Godrej & Boyce Co. Mfg., says, “When we talk about the significance of energy independence, often known as energy security, we discussed security from a different angle, defending our territory and protecting it from adversaries, but the greater adversary is going to be ensuring the country’s energy requirements, which would financially destroy it. The government intends to attain energy independence by 2047. This also demonstrates the seriousness with which we want to strengthen our energy security.
More than half of our energy imports are driven by a need, and a desire for energy prompts most of what we buy. As a result, $160 billion in energy imports are necessary today, with 140 million metric tonnes of oil required. And when we mention energy, we are not necessarily referring to power; we are also referring to the large percentage used by transportation.
Vikram Gandotra, Member—NEC, IEEMA, Chair—WUC, talks about our domestic manufacturing and export capabilities. “Looking at the data for the Indian electrical and electronic sector, the spectrum of products manufactured in India is now over 30 billion US dollars.” We provide EPC and other services worth approximately $50 billion. We are the world’s second-largest manufacturing centre after China. We do intend to expand. We are also a significant exporter, with an estimated 10 billion US dollars in equipment exported. “At the same time, we import electrical equipment worth around 11 billion US dollars.
This is merely the beginning; India’s per capita consumption is a fraction of the world average, implying that this will only move in one direction. As it expands, our networks will require significant investment, indicating that our manufacturing capabilities in India will also need to grow.
Role of renewables and green hydrogen
A recent energy analysis report discussed the current account deficit, just 4.4 percent. The last time we saw this, it escalated in 2013. And then we are getting into an intense economic situation with the occurrence of the Russia-Ukraine war, among the other global challenges for India. So, having homegrown technologies and renewable energy sources plays a vital role in maintaining continuous power generation. With the recent announcement of India’s Green Energy Mission, we see a positive push for newer green products, technologies, and energy storage systems that will meet energy storage requirements in the coming years.
Mirji elaborates on green hydrogen by outlining the entire renewable energy pathway. We’ve always discussed the potential of solar and wind energy generation, but he says green hydrogen is a relative newcomer to the market.” We’ve had success with solar and wind because of their strength and support for our generation capacity. It is time to explore green hydrogen technologies, their capabilities, and other connected advantages.” Private enterprises have begun to employ hydrogen fuel in their vehicles, whether trucks or cars. So that’s how the technology will function.
Shirish S. Garud, Director of Renewable Energy Technology at TERI, says, “Everyone is unified and energising to move toward renewables and greener technology.” It is no longer just the prime minister’s dream; it is now everyone’s focus of intervention at all levels and in all states. “Renewable energy-rich states have created special programmes to attract investment in the industry.” The entire ecosystem is full of energy and passion. This will provide significant impetus for transitioning to a cleaner, more self-sufficient energy future. There is no doubt that we have abundant renewable energy sources; the only question is how to harness and use them efficiently.
Gandotra, on the other hand, believes that we must make significant efforts to make this industry more profitable. We are already witnessing some remarkable developments under PLI that have been launched. There will be new improvements to accommodate modern technologies. Consider green energy. It is one thing to create renewable energy, but for a customer who demands 24×7 electricity, we must discover options for storing green energy. It might be traditional, tried-and-tested options, such as pump storage or developing technology.

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Evolution of renewable power trading
With the rise of renewables, a new category for purchase that does not have a variable fee is emerging. They always have surplus power, which they trade on the exchange since the electricity is created and injected into the grid, and this surplus power will enable them to make more profits. On the other hand, when it comes to the traditional one, there will be concerns with fuel availability for gas and imported coal and rationalisation of the tariff in place for the transportation of coal from one part of the country to another, or maybe from one part of the world to another.
All these cost imposition difficulties are crucial for any distribution firm that wishes to charge or establish a tariff that its consumers will accept. “Parallel licencing is a novel idea in which various corporate organisations that are prominent players in the power and energy sectors aspire to join the distribution area where they may sell electricity to the end customer as a value chain participant,” says Anil Kale, Head-Strategy & Regulatory, PXIL.
Innovations in renewable energy and green hydrogen
A hybrid mode of operation for solar and battery systems is required for optimal energy demand response. However, these can only be implemented with grid upgrades. Only can be achieved with these technologies if connectivity and communication improve. And the necessary policy changes are urgently required. We must do all in our power to lower the hurdles to such technological development. When individuals can come and invest in our premier colleges, such as the IITs, we must adequately finance them, and policy must be supportive, decreasing the entry barrier so that this technology may genuinely be realised.
In terms of technology, Garud mentions that the PLI programme for solar is already in place and that one is investigating more efficient solar PV production methods. The cost of solar has decreased significantly, and it is expected to decrease further if we get strong breakthroughs in the Indian manufacturing ecosystem for high-quality solar technology. Therefore, new methods for hydrogen and battery storage are being developed.
We are collaborating with a Swiss business to introduce solar thermal-based hydrogen-generating technologies, eliminating the need for electrolysers due to patented technology.
When talking about these things, we need manufacturing units for green hydrogen generation, PV manufacturing, solar, and a lot of land. Furthermore, the policy framework should address a straightforward approach to land acquisition so that this can be accomplished quickly. Looking at these developments and their implementation, Mirji highlights that they would require an approximate investment of around $300 billion. “However, achieving 500 GW of renewable energy by 2030 is a massive undertaking, and we cannot rely solely on the government to launch everything.” “And with this combination of measures, we can demonstrate our strength, and I am convinced that we can achieve energy independence one day, perhaps even before 2047.”
Elaborating on innovations and investments to churn out all the possibilities to lead the development of cutting-edge innovations in electrical and allied manufacturing, he further believes that our perspective must shift toward R&D since we are one of the few countries that will spend in R&D for our development. “And this must alter so that we are at the forefront of technology, product design, production processes, and delivery in another area where we need to increase our quality,” Gandotra stresses.
Various investment initiatives have been implemented, both for the use of technology and how it might be used. The time available is too short—say, 2070 or 50 years—but the technology we need to embrace is rapid and widespread. While the government can create rules on the spot, we as individuals and organisations must make the enormous expenditures and decisions necessary for increasing renewable energy consumption.

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