As heads of state and climate researchers travel to Glasgow to attend the 26th Conference of the Parties organized by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the question of how to deal with this the threat of climate change remains unanswered. The global climate action plan requires a massive overhaul, especially following the report released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) a few months ago. India and its active participation in the COP26 summit remain an integral part of the fight against climate change.
As a responsible climate leader, India can seek to mediate between developing and developed countries. While increasing its own ambitions to reduce net emissions and improve clean energy infrastructure, India may seek to support states that still depend on traditional energy sources to provide basic amenities to their citizens. Ongoing efforts to increase clean energy production have enabled India to almost meet the target of 40% non-fossil fuel power generation capacity, with 38.5% already installed in the country. This timely achievement of climate targets by India may also give it sufficient weight to denounce the failure of the developed world to adhere to agreed climate targets.
India and its policies to tackle the climate crisis as well as increasing the renewable energy infrastructure in the country can serve as a basis for other states seeking to improve the achievement of their climate goals.
A transnational solar grid
India, as a founding member of the International Solar Alliance (ISA), has developed a plan called âOne Sun, One World, One Gridâ (Osowog), which advocates the construction of a transnational solar array. The main objective of the plan is to help the transparent transmission of solar energy across borders to different countries.
ISA’s November 2020 statement deepened the idea behind Osowog with the actors involved. The initiative is led by the ISA, the Indian government and the World Bank, which has already signed a memorandum of understanding for the development of a long-term vision for the implementation of the plan. Osowog’s first plenary session adopted the initiative, as well as the formulation of the World Solar Bank as two of the main deliverables of COP26. The host country of the conference, the United Kingdom, also offered its support for the implementation of Osowog.
With the first phase of the plan for a global solar array focusing on the Indian subcontinent, India’s role in promoting solar energy accessible to the rest of the world underscores the importance of Osowog’s role and of India in the implementation of the initiative. India hopes to project the plan as a potential change in the fight against climate change and a necessary step to achieve the climate goals that were previously set. Global approval of the plan can strengthen India’s role as a clean energy pioneer and underscore its role in delivering renewable energy projects.
The proposed energy storage policy
With the steady increase in solar and wind capacity installation in India, the threat of a huge injection of electricity into the grid from renewable sources could cause the entire grid to go down. This requires a storage mechanism to help balance the national electricity grid.
A statement issued on October 6 by the Indian Ministry of Energy called for “suggestions regarding the formulation of a comprehensive policy framework and … other interventions to promote energy storage in the electricity sector. “. A detailed energy storage policy by the Indian government is in preparation, which largely focuses on regulatory and financial aspects to improve storage capacity in the country.
The need to integrate an efficient and consistent supply of renewable energy into the overall system in the future requires an adequate storage system to rely on. Providing flexibility and the ability of the grid to maintain certain consumption levels through specific mechanisms can serve as a model for emerging clean energy economies looking to transform their renewable energy sectors.
India has already commissioned a grid-wide battery storage system at a renewable energy park in Gujarat, along with a plan to promote hydraulic pump storage systems in the country. These proposed programs and policies have strengthened India’s commitment to the transition to a green economy, which can steer developing countries towards improving their net emissions.
Clean energy investments
With a flourishing renewable energy market in India, the total installed renewable energy capacity has gradually increased year by year. The inclusive political decisions made by the government have also resulted in significant investment in the clean energy market in the country. This has proven to be a watershed moment for India in tackling the climate crisis and ensuring that the state is on track to meet its environmental goals that had been decided at previous summits.
This has been validated by the ranking of the Country Attractiveness Index for Renewable Energy (RECAI), published by the consulting firm EY. India has retained its position as the third most popular destination for renewable energy investment and deployment opportunities in recently released rankings, behind the United States and China. RECAI takes an in-depth look at the potential of each state to carry out clean energy projects and improve the infrastructure necessary to achieve set climate goals. The importance of environmental, social and governance (ESG) measures, as well as RECAI, help multinational companies and investors to analyze the potential risks involved and to identify the growth opportunities that exist in a market.
RECAI also emphasizes the role of Corporate Power Purchase Agreements (PPA) as a key driver of clean energy growth. This edition of RECAI introduced a new PPA index that focuses on the national corporate PPA market. India, with its growing renewable energy market, ranks sixth among the top 30 PPA markets in the world. These indices highlight the country’s ability to source renewable energy and build a resilient supply chain to accelerate the process of transition to a green economy.
The recent energy crisis has caused huge problems for India and China, two of the largest renewable energy markets in the world. The supply of traditional energy sources, such as coal and natural gas, has been affected around the world. Some analysts have attributed the recent surge in global energy prices and the looming energy crisis to a concept called âgreenflationâ. Rising energy prices have been equated with restrictions imposed by some governments on traditional energy sources. Continued support for renewable energy sources and coal and natural gas regulations by governments could lead to future inflation in energy markets, according to observations by some climate analysts. A potential shortage of supply of these traditional energy sources in developing countries that still rely heavily on them to provide basic amenities to their citizens can be a major drawback in the fight against climate change.
Despite reports that India has only its last remaining coal reserves with the possibility of a coal shortage, the country remains committed to meeting its renewable energy targets. The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) said India was on track to meet its target of installed capacity from non-fossil energy sources. A total of 450 GW of installed renewable energy capacity is expected to be reached by the end of 2030, according to government reports.
India’s steadfast nature in meeting its climate goals may be an ideal story for developing and developed countries around the world. This makes India’s presence at global climate forums imperative to develop a cohesive action plan to deal with future climate crises.