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India’s renewable sector under limelight after Paris accord

Chillicious Bureau

On the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti, India ratified the Paris climate accord becoming the 62nd country to do so.

“Much before the climate change debate began, Mahatma Gandhi, regarded as the father of our nation had said that we should act as ‘trustees’ and use natural resources wisely as it is our moral responsibility to ensure that we bequeath to the future generations a healthy planet,” India said at UN headquarters in New York.

India accounts for 4.1 percent of global carbon emissions. Countries with 52 percent of global emissions have now ratified the agreement.

With European Union accounting for 12.1 percent of total global emission, expected to join shortly, the 55 percent threshold for the agreement to come into effect would be met and the agreement should come into force by November, 2016.

-India has committed to reduce emission intensity by 33 percent by 2030 and achieve 40 percent cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel based energy resources by 2030.

-As a result, the renewable sector will attract much larger global scrutiny as well as flow of financing and technical support from international institutions.

-Despite several sector related concerns, India’s global commitment to back its ambitious targets should further help sharpen policy agenda and attract investments in the renewable energy sector.

As part of its Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), India has committed to a reduction in carbon emission intensity of its GDP by 33 percent to 35 percent by 2030 from 2005 levels.

More pertinently for the power sector, India has committed that at least 40 percent of its installed power generation capacity will be non-fossil fuel based by 2030.

The current number is 30 percent, if hydro and nuclear power are included. A big share of the commitment will be achieved, if India meets its 175 GW of renewable power capacity target by 2022.

A report by Bridge to India, points out that the big imponderable here is India’s insistence that it will achieve the targets only if developed countries give it money and discounts on new technology.

The nation has has already become a leading global market for renewables, the report said.

Ratification of climate accord would attract a much larger global scrutiny on the country’s ability to achieve yearly renewable targets and compliance with policies such as Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO), it added.

As per the report, a significant increase in financing commitments from international agencies such as the World bank, International Financing Corporation (IFC), Asian Development Bank (ADB), Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), US Export-Import (EXIM) Bank, European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) is also expected.

India’s renewable targets are ambitious and delivery on ground in terms of new deployment has gathered considerable pace.

The ambitious targets are now further backed by India’s global commitment under a formal multinational agreement.

“Despite several key concerns that remain, this should help focus government policies for the sector, attract domestic and international capital into the sector and assure growth for all stakeholders,” the report said.