ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Deep Renewables Penetration and Tariff Shocks

Using a simple scenario analysis based on the latest data on the finances of the distribution utilities and the 20th Electric Power Survey of India, we calculate the possible tariff impact of the addition of around 420 GW of variable renewable energy from 2020–21 to 2031–32. The cost of evacuation of renewable power and battery costs emerges as major factors. We recommend higher union government expenditure to incentivise the creation of transmission infrastructure to facilitate renewables absorption by utilities and the reduction of grid integration and battery deployment costs.

Impact of Political Regime and Ideology on Renewable Energy Installations in India

The Indian renewable energy sector has seen two ideological shifts post 2014: one, focus shifted greatly to solar, and two, increased focus to competitive bidding in policy design. The paper examines if regime change and political ideology have any influence on the “type” of renewable energy. No convincing evidence is found of either a changed political regime or differing ideology of union and state governments on the trajectory of renewable energy installations once we control for other variables.

India’s Sustainable Future

According to an October 2022 study from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, India’s renewable energy industry is shining and thriving.

Decarbonisation and the Indian Railways

Indian Railways is the world’s fourth largest railway network in terms of size and one of the largest electricity consumers in the country consuming approximately 18,410 million units (MU) for traction loads (trains) and 2,338 MU for non-traction loads (office, railway stations, etc) in 2020.

India’s Energy Policy

Historically, India has been an importer of its energy needs. Only the United States (us) and China consume more energy than India. In addition, it is the consumer with the quickest growth in the world, consuming 813 million tonnes of oil equivalent in 2019 (MOPNG 2021).

What Is Stopping the Obvious?

For the vast majority of human existence, international trade was fuelled by renewable energy. Trade winds were used to cruelly bring enslaved labour from Africa to grow cane, limes, bananas, and cocoa in the Caribbean and powered the windmills that turned the cane into molasses and sugar.

Unlocking Fortune at the Bottom of India’s Gobar Pyramid

A 2014 International Labour Organization study claimed that India can create millions of rural jobs by raising the value of gobar (manure) from the present `0.15–`0.30 per kg wet weight to `1.50–`2.00 per kg. This would benefit millions of landless and marginal dairy farmers who make a meagre income from gobar. Biogas technology is the answer, but its reach in rural India is insignificant. India’s biogas programme needs to make a quantum leap through initiatives that pilot new business models for village-scale plants with the support of dairy cooperatives. It needs to maximise the energy as well as nutrient value that can be derived from gobar, overcome farmers’ loss aversion by monetising benefits and costs, and incentivise the installation of biogas plants and optimise their operating performance.

 

Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2020

The proposed Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2020 aims to reduce subsidies and push for privatisation, especially in the distribution segment of the power sector. Undertaking structural changes in a core sector at a time of crisis from the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic effects defies logic. The proposed amendments are not only anti-people, but they also fail to address the long-term crises in the sector and will only accelerate its deterioration. The central government must hold off on passing any hasty legislation on the subject and adopt a more scientific and less ideological approach to deal with the travails of the power sector.

The Emerging Energy Industry Is Much More Revolutionary Than What Arvind Subramanian Imagines

Arvind Subramanian’s Darbari Seth Memorial Lecture last year was a status-quo view of a traditional industry with merely the arithmetical addition of renewables as a variable.

Smart Cities Need Smart Villages

The current Smart Cities Mission needs to be linked to India’s villages. The lacuna in the current mission mandate can be filled by directly addressing the opportunities provided by renewable off-grid production to increase employment and diversification in the rural economy, with a particular focus on India’s rural youth.

 

Enforcing Renewable Purchase Obligations

The Renewable Purchase Obligation mechanism and the trade of Renewable Energy Certificates were introduced to promote investment in renewable energy. However, the RPO requirement has not been met in many cases in India, which has resulted in low trading in RECs. While there are a few instances of state electricity regulatory commissions imposing penalties, a uniform enforcement of this mechanism by imposing specific penalties on non-complying entities can be recommended.

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