Renewable Energy: India to Replace Coal with Cheaper Solar Power by 2022
India is taking the lead in creating a country powered by renewable energy by replacing expensive imported coal with affordable solar power in just six years' time. But how will they do it?
According to a report from Eco Business, India is aiming to alleviate poverty by providing the entire population with cheap electricity while, at the same time, not contributing to global warming by turning its back on fossil fuels and fully embracing solar energy.
An Alarming Dependency on Fossil Fuels
A 2016 BP Energy Outlook report showed alarming numbers on India's energy consumption if it continues to depend on fossil fuels. The report says that by the year 2035, India's gas import will increase by a staggering 573 percent, oil import by 169 percent and coal import by 85 percent.
The report says the key drivers in the rising demand for energy in the future are population growth and the doubling of GDP.
Turning Its Back on Fossil Fuels
As a solution to the ballooning of energy consumption, India's government has recently updated its National Solar Mission Target. By the year 2022, the country aims to achieve 175 GW of renewable power, including 100 GW of solar power. This means that India's capacity for renewable energy needs to be seven times bigger, from 3 GW to 20 GW per year.
However, a big feat as it may seem, this new focus on renewable energy will benefit 600 million people with electricity by 2040. Ajay Goel, president of solar and chief of new businesses at ReNew Power said, "Especially for the 400 million Indians who have no access to electricity, solar power would mean access to clean and affordable energy."
Is a Solar-Powered India Possible?
According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, if India manages to create photovoltaic ground-mounted systems, the country will have an energy source that's more affordable than imported coal. By using the levelised cost of energy (LCOE), the outlet notes that in the future, solar energy will be more economic than using coal.
Apart from giving access to cheap electricity, solar energy will also provide livelihood and "generate more than 675,000 jobs in the Indian solar industry," Goel notes.