With a present installed capacity of over 25 GW of grid-connected power, India stands among the top five countries of the world in terms of renewable energy capacity, according to Dr. Farooq Abdullah Union Minister of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE).
Addressing a distinguished gathering at the Institute of International and European Affairs (IIEA) in Dublin, Dr. Abdullah said that renewable energy in India represents about 12 per cent of total installed electricity generation capacity, and the country is committed to increasing the share of renewables in the electricity mix to 15 per cent by the year 2020. Dr. Abdullah told the international community that India has geared its policy and regulatory regime to measure up to the challenges of a low carbon growth paradigm.
Throwing light over the ambitious Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM) programme, the MNRE minister said it aims to facilitate the installation of 20 GW grid-connected and 2 GW off-grid solar power by 2022. He informed that around 20 million sq. m of solar thermal collector area and 20 million rural households with solar home lighting is to be facilitated by 2022. He added that India has already succeeded in setting up about 1 GW solar power capacity.
Dr. Abdullah said that the reverse bidding process adopted under the mission has led to reduction in the price of solar electricity from about 35 US cents per kWh to less than 17 US cents per kWh in the last one year alone. Stating that around 1.1 million Indian households are already using solar energy to meet their lighting energy needs, Dr. Abdullah said that the present efforts are focused on creating a framework for a self-sustaining programme based on a rural entrepreneurship model to be able to provide universal energy access.
Dr. Abdullah said that despite the strong push for solar energy, wind energy continues to contribute significantly to India’s renewable energy matrix and with over 17 GW installed capacity, India competes globally in manufacturing and deployment and occupies the fifth position in the world. He said that surplus biomass material could also potentially be used to generate about 20 GW of power.