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Investment in Green Technology – Part 1

  • IASbaba
  • November 15, 2021
  • 0
UPSC Articles
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Nov 13: Investment in Green Technology – https://youtu.be/LqRFsfaLbf4 

TOPIC:

  • GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
  • GS-3: Environmental Conservation
  • GS-3: Climate Change

Investment in Green Technology – Part 1

Context: India has made significant commitments at COP26 towards climate action. These include fulfilling 50% of its energy requirement through renewable energy and bringing its non-fossil fuel energy capacity to 500 GW by 2030. All this will require huge investment in green technologies and big corporates are gearing up for this task. 

Renewable Energy in India

  • Solar and wind energy prices have fallen over 90% since 2000, incentivized by only modest subsidies. However, solar and wind energy are intermittent and cheap storage is needed for them to ensure power 24/7.
  • New batteries and renewables are all set to power the world in a few decades based on commercial profitability. 

Growth of Renewable Energy Sector in India

  • Doubled generation capacity: Renewable generation, at 138 billion units, has doubled in FY20, from 66 billion units in FY16. 
  • Robust growth of sector: The country witnessed 20% CAGR growth in the renewable generation since FY16 while total electricity generation saw 4.3% growth in the same period. 
  • Decreasing Cost: The current levelised cost of energy (LCOE) for large scale solar in India is around Rs 2.5 per kWh, compared to ~Rs 12 in 2010. In the recent bidding, it came down to Rs 2.

Measures taken by government that accelerated the progress in renewable sector: 

  • Waiver of inter-state transmission charges for the sale of solar and wind power
  • The renewable purchase obligation (RPO) trajectories for states
  • Focus on maintaining the sanctity of contracts
  • Permitting FDI in the renewable sector

Challenges w.r.t Renewable Energy

  • Vulnerable to Weather Conditions: While conventional power plants—that are coal-based or large hydro—have the ability to vary the generation as per need, renewable generation is more at the mercy of nature. Nor are the buyers who are focused on commercial considerations keen to purchase renewable power.
  • Challenges of Market Intervention: Given the seasonality and intermittency of renewable power, it is not easily susceptible to market intervention. 
  • Weak participation in electricity exchanges: Most renewable power generation companies in India are committed to selling their power to consumers—mostly discoms and a few third-party consumers under the long-term Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs), with little prospect of excess generation to be offered on the exchange and the inability to schedule power supply

E-Mobility in India

India’s 2030 vision of e-mobility includes 70 per cent of all commercial cars, 30 per cent of private cars, 40 per cent of buses, 80 per cent of two-wheelers and three-wheeler sales to be electric by 2030. This translates into more than 100 million Electric Vehicles and would require approximately 12.5 lakh crore rupees investment. 

Issues with Electric Vehicles

  • Electric Vehicles may eventually solve the tailpipe-emission problem, they don’t address all the damage done to the environment while making them
  • Compared with traditional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, greenhouse gases released while making EVs account for a higher portion of life-cycle emissions.
  • As the EV gains momentum, battery production and research is powering ahead and sales are growing. That means material emissions will rise to over 60% by 2040 from 18% today.
  • Decarbonizing the production phase of a car is harder than the use phase
  • Currently battery units in EVs are heavy, increasing the total weight of the car, which in turn requires more energy to drive. To deal with this, carmakers are turning to aluminium for light-weight body designs, with EVs using 45% more of the Aluminium than traditional vehicles. Emissions from aluminium have started rising because it’s energy-intensive to mine and produce.
  • Companies try to make batteries that can take cars further, they are using nickel, cobalt and manganese, which generate still more greenhouse gases.
  • The high greenhouse gas emissions in the car manufacturing supply chain are “not even properly quantified by carmakers, because of poor disclosure of their suppliers’ emissions data

Note: Part-2 elaborating on Green Hydrogen will be covered on 15th Nov 2021 (Tomorrow’s edition)

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