x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 24 November 2017

Cooperation is key to reaping rewards from India’s green energy sector

Uday Salunkhe, group director at the Welingkar Institute of Management Development and Research, talks about India’s green-energy sector.

Power-generating windmill turbines are pictured in Suzlon wind farm at Sanodar village, 160 km (99 miles) west of the western Indian city of Ahmedabad. Amit Dave / Reuters
Power-generating windmill turbines are pictured in Suzlon wind farm at Sanodar village, 160 km (99 miles) west of the western Indian city of Ahmedabad. Amit Dave / Reuters

Uday Salunkhe, group director at the Welingkar Institute of Management Development and Research, talks about India’s green-energy sector.

What needs to be done to boost the renewable-energy in India?

Newer technologies, research and international cooperation have to be roped in to bring alternative sources of energy into the mainstream. India has to focus on effective project management, environmental clearances, land acquisition and train adequate skilled manpower for the newer technologies. Indigenous production is to be streamlined. Smaller power stations attached to wind and solar might be easier in the off-grid hinterlands, giving a spur to the development in the regions otherwise inaccessible. State policies should encourage enterprise and build up the relevant infrastructure. The country needs systems to tap the solar in the west, wind in the southern states of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu in and hydro power from the north-east.

What are the major challenges and hurdles that the renewable energy sector in India is facing?

Frankly speaking, India is not self-sufficient as we still import solar panels. Cost is another factor. The technology used in the panels and the paraphernalia needs to be further worked upon to slash the costs per unit. Then there are tariff-related issues in most of the sectors under renewables. There is an ambiguity about the tariff policies with each state having its own rules to play by. A central authority is needed to remove the hassles and bring harmony between states.

Are costs a challenge?

The notion that conventional power costs less will soon be upended. With the depleting coal deposits, rising tariffs on one hand, and aggressive research and development and domestic production of critical raw materials, components and products, advances in technology, collaborations, and subsidies on the other, investors are divesting themselves of coal stocks and putting their stakes in renewables. Renewables have a lot going in their favour, including offers of incentives. The wind and solar sectors will certainly receive massive overseas investments, and make good progress in the coming years.

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