India’s Renewable Rendezvous Right on Target for 2020

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India continues to seek  an increase in its renewable energy generation capacity. Even as global leaders head to Lima, Peru, for the United Nations climate negotiations meeting, India has announced plans to more than double its use of renewable energy as a share of its electricity mix by 2020. Which, according to some experts, means that the country can reduce CO2 emissions from the burning of fossil fuels.

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While climate change and dependency on renewable energy are proportionately linked, energy experts in India, on the other hand, are eagerly watching developments on the “green energy” front as the new Indian Government goes about its business.

As reported by MetalMiner, India has already expressed its intention to increase the total share of renewable energy it uses 15% from the present 6%. An international conference is scheduled to be held in India in February next year, too, to woo global investors in this sector.

Up until now, India’s efforts on the renewable energy front have been scattered, spread too far apart, and haphazard at best. Now, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy says it plans to roll out the first draft of a renewable energy bill within a month, which will be the first indication of its seriousness in pursuing this agenda.

One estimate put the annual investment requirement at $40 billion at the very least, if India wants to go anywhere with this sector.

Investors, unlike earlier times, have started looking at India with renewed interest. Much of it is also because of the global trips Prime Minister Narendra Modi has undertaken in his first 6 months in office. Recently, a $1 billion loan agreement was signed between the US Export-Import Bank and India’s renewable energy agency, IREDA, which will fund sourcing of US equipment for solar projects in India.

Two days ago, AT Holdings Pte Ltd., a Singapore-based $2.5 billion investment fund, announced it was expanding its renewable energy portfolio by investing an additional $40 million in the Orange Group, headquartered in New Delhi, India.

The companies within the Orange Group, wholly owned Indian subsidiaries of AT Holdings, are focused on the Indian renewable energy space namely biomass, wind and solar energy projects. The Orange Group currently has an operating wind energy portfolio of 105 megawatts and another 170 MW of wind projects at an advanced stage of development across the states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. In addition, the Orange Group has a pipeline of over 600 MW of greenfield wind power projects at various stages of development, and also operates two 10-MW biomass power projects. The group has emphasized that it is firm on its plan of becoming one of the leading renewable energy companies in India, targeting 1,000 MW of power generation capacity by 2017.

The new government had revised an earlier target of achieving 20,000 MW capacity of solar energy by 2022 to 100,000 MW. India’s National Action Plan on Climate Change recommends that the country generate 10% of its power from solar, wind, hydropower and other renewable sources by 2015, and 15% by 2020.

The author, Sohrab Darabshaw, contributes an Indian perspective on industrial metals markets to MetalMiner.

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