The power sector, which has come a long way, having sufficient power for all, will need cooperation from states and political will to make it the true growth engine of the economy. Speaking at the Inaugural Ministerial Plenary of a virtual conference and exhibition - Aatma Nirbhar Bharat – Opportunities in Renewable Energy Manufacturing – organised by CII on 16th July, Mr Piyush Goyal, Minister for Commerce and Industry and Railways said there are huge opportunities in this sector but it needs all stakeholders to converge and come on board.
Mr Goyal said ‘this mission on AatmaNirbhar Bharat and manufacturing will lead to greater economic activity in growth. India has become a model for the world when it comes to renewable energy and has led from the front as a responsible global citizen towards climate change”. There were deep challenges that we faced when we started the journey from a time when they were headlines about power outages, to power for all. As a nation, we have sufficient power for all and if we have the support and political will of the states to come on board and support the policies laid down by the centre, we will have a robust power industry.
India has invested deeply into the transmission sector. Power today is available 24x7 across the country at an affordable rate and the renewable energy will be the differentiator that will help India reduce the power costs. Renewable energy has the advantage of having low operating costs, largely dependent on the capex for 25 years and we will be able to strike a balance between costs and availability with renewable energy leading from the forefront. Dependency on fossil fuel cannot be the way forward and it is not viable, it will only provide the peak and balancing load.
He added, ‘there is traction for clean energy in the country and we now need two major initiatives, one bring in manufacturing in the sector, right down to the fab including use of indigenous raw material and second states need to support centre on the various transformational policy changes”.
Mr Goyal said that railways will move towards 100% electrification in the next 3.5 years, and aims to embrace clean energy sources in the next 10 years. India will house the world’s first largest railway network driven by 100% renewables by 2030, with a neutral net emission rate. “We will be looking at various combinations of clean power from different sources, use of storage, availing banking facilities etc. to achieve this target”. Railways will buy 20GW of indigenously manufactured solar products in the coming years. The Government is taking various steps to improve RE manufacturing including addition of 7000MW of modules and 2000MW of wafers. ‘I see India becoming self-sufficient in solar cells and modules but it is important that we look at further backward integration so that we have an indigenously manufactured power sector powering not only India but powering the world.
The future is ‘One Sun, One World and One Grid’ and look at an international grid which will help the world fasten the deployment of solar energy. ISA and CII should work together to help build an initial vision paper to make this a reality.
The Ministerial Plenary 1 of the Conference was moderated by Mr Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, CII.
16 July 2020