India Faces Challenges to Renewable Energy Expansion

India is a country that doesn’t usually meet its development goals, with one notable exception: Renewable energy. So reports Bloomberg.

India’s “Power for All by 2012” policy was instituted seven years ago. As of November 2011, 288 million people in India still did not have power.

But India’s renewable energy sector is growing quickly, Bloomberg says.

As of late 2011, India had over 22 GW of renewable energy generating 11% of the nation’s power. That’s up from 10.2 GW in 2007.

What’s more, Bloomberg New Energy Finance found India was the leader in growth of renewable energy investment in 2011 with $10.3 billion.

And now Indian businessmen are gaining notoriety in the renewable energy sector. That includes Tulsi Tanti, founder of wind turbine company Suzlon; Harish Hande of Selco, which provides solar lighting to areas without electricity; and Gyanesh Pandey of Husk Power Systems, which generates cheap power from plants, Bloomberg says. These companies are raising money from investors like Shell Foundation, Draper Fisher Jurvetson and the International Finance Corporation.

According to Bloomberg, this could be a sign that challenges to renewable energy in India have been surmounted. However, challenges remain as grid modernization will eventually be necessary.

According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, Indian solar power capacity has expanded 20-fold in the last 12 months to at least 356 megawatts. It had planned to install 1233 megawatts, a Bloomberg researcher said. Some projects were delayed because of infrastructure problems, rains and financial issues.

Growth in India’s solar sector is good news for panel makers in other parts of the world, Bloomberg says.

However, coal consumption in India is growing, too, as the nation industrializes, the Economist notes. The country has the world’s fifth-largest coal reserves.

The nation used to be big on hydroelectric dams, but they now provide just 14% of power. That’s down from up to 50% in the 1960s, the Economist says.

Further, the Economist says fossil fuels will continue to dominate and carbon emissions will rise by about two and a half times over the next 20 years and India’s power industry will contribute one-tenth of the total global rise in emissions.

To read the full article by Bloomberg cited in this story, click here

To read the full article by Bloomberg cited in this story, click here

To read the full article by The Economist cited in this story, click here


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