Use of renewable energy

In recent years with the rapid economic progress India's need for conventional source of energy has increased considerably. According to British Petroleum Statistical Review 2016, India's primary energy consumption rose by 5.2% in 2015 and India's share of global energy consumption stood at 5.3% making it third largest energy consumer after China and the US. However it has been established that the increased use of conventional source of energy like coal, petroleum and natural gas lead to large scale carbon foot print in the atmosphere. This increases atmospheric temperature giving rise to a phenomenon known as global warming. India this year signed a Paris climate agreement at the United Nation headquarters in New York along with more than 170 countries to bring down greenhouse gas emission. Use of renewable energy is a step in that direction.

India's ambitious plan is to quadruple its renewable power capacity to 175 gigawatts by 2022. It is also looking to add 100 gigawatts of photovoltaic capacity, 60 gigawatts of wind power, 10 gigawatts of biomass and five gigawatts of hydro projects. This proves that India is keen to use and promote the use of renewable source of energy considering a long term benefit to society and environment. Energy has become so important that uncertainty in its supply can threaten the country's economy. However, before full scale implementation of the renewable energy it is important for the country that the basic infrastructure that is needed to produce, supply and manage them has to be put in place. According to Energy Statistic Report 2015 published by Ministry of Statistic and Programme Implementation, Government of India the total potential for renewable power generation in India is estimated at 1,47,615 MW.

With increased awareness among masses about the effect of long term use of conventional source of energy people are experimenting with renewable source of energy. People living in rural areas and remote places, where electricity cannot be transmitted, are experimenting with renewable energy source like solar, wind, bio-gas, etc to generate electricity and power their equipments. To make this sector more attractive as a business for foreign investors India has allowed 100 % FDI in the renewable energy sector this has opened the gate for multi-billion dollar investment which is very important for the growth and sustainability of the country's economy. 

India produces its large quantity of renewable energy through wind power, solar power and bio-gas. Let's see briefly the amount of energy produced by each of this renewable energy source.

1. Wind power 

India is the 5th largest producer of wind energy in the world. Started in the year 1983-84, India's wind energy programme has seen continuous growth year-on-year and as per Indian Wind Energy Association as on 31st March 2015 India has installed wind energy capacity of 23,439.26 MW. Tamil Nadu is one of the largest producers of wind energy followed by Gujarat and Maharashtra as of 31st March 2015. Being a clean fuel it doesn't pollute the environment like conventional source of energy. It is cost-effective on long term basis since the raw material i.e wind is free and as the cost of technology required to build large turbines are coming down the effective price will be less compared to electricity produced by conventional sources. Framers and land owner can rent or sell their unused land for wind farming to the company. Though the down side of wind farming is that good sites for wind farming are found in remote place however the need for electricity is mostly concentrated in cities and urban areas. It is a climate dependent and hence fluctuation in wind flow might impact the output. Also there have been concerns raised by environmental activist about the damage it may cause to local wildlife. 

With paucity of energy due to depletion of conventional source of energy wind power is an ideal candidate that can fulfill our quest for clean source of energy. 

2. Solar Energy

Solar energy is one of the best alternative sources of clean energy. Just like wind power solar energy is abundant in nature and can be exploited and could be made a primary source of energy to produce electricity in the future with the help of advanced technology. There are millions of people living in rural areas who don't have access to electricity for them solar energy can bring huge relief. According to a press release by Ministry of New and Renewable Energy in January 2016, the solar power capacity in India has crossed 5,000 MW and the government is aiming at 100 GW of solar power by the year 2021-22 under the National Solar Mission program. Some of the key states producing solar powered electricity include Gujarat, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. 

With increasing awareness among people and access to advanced technology people are producing solar powered electricity at their home with mounting arrays of solar panels on their roof tops. In many of the developing countries people use solar panels shaped like clay roof titles to harness the solar power. Saving on electricity bills, low maintenance and diverse application of solar energy makes it one of the pollution free ways to produce electricity. On the down side the initial cost of the equipment and set up is high since it is weather dependent there will be fluctuation in the output and to set up solar farm need vast land area. However, with advancement of technology the production of solar energy will be more viable options.

3. Biomass Energy

Biomass fuel is obtained from organic waste and it is one of the renewable forms of energy that can be used to produce electricity and generate heat. According to Biomass knowledge portal nearly 32% of primary energy is produced through biomass and almost 70% of the country's population depends on them. As per The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) annual report 2015-16 cumulative capacity of biomass production in different states is 4,761 MW. India produces 450-500 million tons of biomass every year making it one of the cheapest sources of raw material available to produce electricity. Biomass can be a reliable source and its output does not fluctuate like solar and wind power. Even though biomass can be produced in abundance it has not been a primary energy source of the country. Some of the reasons for this include fragmented supply chain of biomass, lack of investments and absence of a formal biomass market. These challenges can be solved through bringing in proper business model, encouraging social entrepreneurs to start biomass fuel plant and bringing in favorable government policies for farmers who supply the agriculture waste as raw material for biomass fuel production. Biomass along with wind and solar power can become the alternative for conventional source of energy.

Future potentials of renewable energy

The consumption of power in India has gone up in recent times and conventional source of energy alone cannot meet the growing demand. Hence it is important to use renewable source to cover the energy deficit. Apart from this renewable source of energy don't pollute the environment and are cost effective in long run. With increased investment and greater awareness among people the future India will make a transition from conventional source of energy to renewable source of energy.