In Part 1: Earlier this year India suffered a huge blackout – leaving 700 million people with no access to power. Could this be one more example of why renewable energy's time has come in India?
10 ways that India could avoid the blackouts
- Aggressively expand large-scale deployment of both centralised and distributed renewable energy including solar, wind, hydro, biomass, and geothermal to ease the strain on the present transmission and distribution system – and allow more off-grid populations to be reached. Facilitate growth in large scale deployment by installing 100 million solar roofs and large utility-scale solar generation, through both centralised and distributed energy within the next 20 years;
- Enact a National Renewable Energy Standard/Policy of 20% by 2020 – to create demand, new industries and innovation, and a new wave of green jobs;
- Develop favourable Government policies to ease the project permitting process, and to provide start-up capital to promote the exponential growth of renewable energy. Create and fund a national smart infrastructure bank for renewable energy;
- Accelerate local demand for renewable energy by providing preferential Feed-in-Tariffs (FIT) and other incentives such as accelerated depreciation; tax holidays; renewable energy funds; initiatives for international partnerships/collaboration incentives for new technologies; human resources development; zero import duty on capital equipment and raw materials; excise duty exemption; and low interest rate loans.
- Phase out all conventional energy subsidies. Force petroleum products to compete with other fuels like biomass and biogas etc;
- Accelerate the development and implementation of cost-effective energy efficiency standards to reduce the long term demand for energy. Engage States, industrial companies, utility companies, and other stakeholders to accelerate this investment;
- Initiate a move to electrify automotive transportation or develop Electric Vehicle – plug-in hybrids – such as the Nissan Leaf or Chevy Volt, etc. Develop and implement time-of-day pricing to encourage charging of cars at night. Adopt nationwide charging of electric cars from solar panels on roofs, and solar-powered Electric Vehicle charging stations around the country. Thousands of these solar-powered recharging stations could spread across India, just like the present public call office (PCO), giving birth to the “Green Revolution.” These recharging connections could be deployed at highly-concentrated areas including shopping malls, motels, restaurants, and public places where cars might be parked long enough to give a jolt of power for electric vehicles;
- Aggressively invest in a smart, two-way grid (and micro-grid). Invest in smart meters, as well as reliable networks that can accommodate the two-way flow of electrons. Such networks need to be resilient enough to avoid blackouts and accommodate the advanced power generation technologies of the future;
- Develop large scale solar manufacturing in India (transforming India into a global solar manufacturing hub). Promote and establish utility scale solar generation parks and farms. Also, establish R&D facilities within academia, research institutions, industry, Government and civil society to guide technology development.
- Work towards a Hydrogen Economy development plan. Hydrogen can be fed into fuel cells for generating heat and electricity – as well as for powering fuel cell vehicles. Produce hydrogen using renewable energy with solar and wind power. If done successfully, hydrogen and electricity will eventually become society's primary energy carriers of the twenty-first century.
About: Darshan Goswami has over 35 years of experience in the energy field and is currently working for the United States Department of Energy (DoE) as a Project Manager in Pittsburgh, PA, USA. He previously worked as Chief of Energy Forecasting and Renewable Energy from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the writer and are not intended to represent the views or policies of the United States Department of Energy (or Renewable Energy Focus magazine). The article was not prepared as part of the writer's official duties at the United States Department of Energy.