There aren’t many countries that are more important than India when it comes to climate change. Today India is a relatively low emitter - measured at 1.7 metric tons per person in 2010 - which is about 9% of the per capita emissions of the United States and about 22% of that of China. But with four times the population of the United States any small changes will have a big impact. Some trends are problematic - coal use, for example, has tripled since 2008 and India is not really making any substantive progress with carbon capture and storage (CCS). There is good news, however, to be found in India’s energy strategy around renewables and this approach could be a game-changer for the world.
India's ambitious plans for solar
India’s new plans around solar came into being with last year’s election of India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Executing on the ambitious approach will make India a world leader in solar - installing five times as many photovoltaics as the U.S. has now by 2022 and putting it in a similar position to China’s planned deployment with 100 GW of deployed technology by 2022 (China hopes to reach that target by 2020). Considering that China currently has 10 times the amount of deployed solar power as India, this would truly be a monumental Cleanleap. The key will be funding and the U.S. is supporting the plan in a recent announcement which is good news as there have been issues raised in the past with the WTO around domestic sourcing restrictions.
Report highlights for making a Cleanleap
This report from the Asian Development Bank is from early 2013 so it pre-dates this plan but its still worth reading to look at the following:
- The abundance of India’s renewable resources. One of the reasons that solar makes sense for India is that it is located on the earth's sunny belt and receives abundant energy from it.
- A summary of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission that was officially launched in November 2009. The targets for this mission have become more ambitious targets but the current plan overall is fairly consistent with this document.
- The power scenarios in the states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka which show what two of India’s leading states in terms of energy initiatives are doing. The state of Gujarat is also having a major impact on the national strategy, particularly solar.
- A good overview of solar thermal technology, including recommendations on how to select the appropriate technology.
In summary, this report is important reading for anyone that wants to understand some of the key aspects of the solar revolution that India is trying to undertake. Its a big challenge but its the kind of transformation we’ve seen India rise up to deliver in the information technology sector. At Cleanleap we like bold, ambitious visions and we think this definitely has the potential to be one of the world’s most important energy initiatives. We hope you like the report.