Need of green energy has been alarming. What if this costs a bit more? We might quickly find many people’s appetite for green energy is lower, especially if the worry cited is something as invisible, distant, long-term, and global as CO2 emissions that impact climate change. Energy is the most important issue that is being discussed throughout the world. The key differentiating factor in the use of energy sources is environment friendliness. Growth of green energy in developed nations is mainly driven by environmental concerns of fossil fuel based projects. In developing nations, green energy projects are adopted to decrease the demand supply-gap and to boost rural electrification and off-grid electrification. But for countries like India, an optimal energy mix of both kinds of energy sources is essential to have a sustainable energy system.
One of the major obstacles in extraction of green energy is high installation cost. While development of a coal based power plant requires around Rs.4 crore per MW, the investment required for wind and solar power-based plants is significantly higher. A wind based plant, with capacity utilisation of 25%, requires an investment of Rs.6 crore per MW.
Operating a green energy source demands the employment of skilled labours which is another big challenge. Proper system planning and integration is another important aspect. Knowing the decentralised nature of green energy projects, the capacity and type of project is to be decided where availability of the energy source can be ensured. Most green energy systems are weather dependent; thus, factors like number of sunny days, wind condition, monsoon, tide level, supply of biomass, etc play an important role in feasibility of the system. Plant availability is not predictable as in case of conventional plants. Social acceptance of renewable-based energy system is still not very encouraging in urban India. Despite heavy subsidy being provided by the government for installation of solar water-heaters and lighting systems, its penetration is still very low. Manpower training is another grey area. Currently, the Indian power sector is facing severe trained manpower shortage. Skill upgradation of the existing manpower and training of new professionals are essential to achieve the goal of “power to all”.
Despite having an installed capacity of over 167 GW, India is facing an energy deficit of 8% and peak deficit of 12%. So far, only 4.5% of renewable energy potential has been explored in India. To reduce the demand-supply gap, the renewable energy development is the need of the hour. While there has been a plethora of analysis on whether India will meet the 175 GW goal by 2022 – the overwhelming consensus is that it will not, as the current capacity stands under 60 GW and the country is adding less than 15 GW per annum – few have stopped to ask if such a goal is even desirable. A dose of realism need not dampen ambition but can instead help in making our approach towards clean and green energy more consolidated and serious.
Feature Image Credits: Southquayenergy