Renewable Energy – Wind, Tidal, Geothermal, etc.

Renewable Energy – Wind, Tidal, Geothermal, etc.

[pib] World Future Energy Summit 2024

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: World Future Energy Summit 2024, YFEL Program

Mains level: NA

Why in the news?

A panel discussion on “Future Growth Opportunities for Long Duration Energy Storage” was held at the World Future Energy Summit 2024 in Abu Dhabi.

About World Future Energy Summit (WFES)

  • The WFES is an annual event held in Abu Dhabi; hosted in the United Arab Emirates, aiming to advance future energy, energy efficiency, and clean technologies.
  • It began in 2008, held under the patronage of Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi.
  • Public relations firm Edelman helped set it up to “burnish the UEA’s green credentials“.
  • It was established as a platform to address the growing need for renewable energy solutions and sustainable development in response to global energy challenges.

Key Initiative: Young Future Energy Leaders

  • The Young Future Energy Leaders (YFEL) is an element of the annual World Future Energy Summit (WFES).
  • A program of the Masdar Institute, it is committed to raising awareness and engaging students and young professionals in the fields of renewable energy and sustainability.

PYQ:

[2014] Which of the following organizations brings out the publication known as ‘World Economic Outlook’?

(a) International Monetary Fund

(b) United Nations Development Programme

(c) World Economic Forum

(d) World Bank

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Renewable Energy – Wind, Tidal, Geothermal, etc.

Heat affects India’s aim to move from coal to renewables

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Heatwave;

Mains level: Climate Change; Heatwave;

Why in the News? 

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) recently said that India will have more than the ‘usual’ number of days with heat waves in this summer.

Increasing Temperature in India and its impact as per IMD:

  • Temperature Predictions: The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) predicts “above-normal” temperatures for April-June 2024, with a probability of 55%-65% in one half of the country and over 65% in the other half. Few parts are expected to have normal or below-normal temperatures.
  • Effect of Heat on Agriculture: Higher heat negatively impacts crop yield, agricultural workers’ productivity, and water availability, varying in degree depending on the crop.
  • Consequences of Heat in Urban Area: Increased heat leads to higher power demand in urban and industrial centers, poses deadly risks for outdoor workers (such as at construction sites), overwhelms health service providers (especially affecting the very young and old), and highlights the importance of access to clean, cool water, indoor ventilation, and bathrooms.
  • Power Demand: The availability of power is crucial for addressing the effects of heat. A chart shows that in March 2024, the average evening peak-hour demand reached a new high of 190 GW.

Major challenges around the Energy Demand and Government Targets:

  • Government Targets: The government aims to achieve 500 GW of power generation capacity from renewable energy sources by 2030. Additionally, it has committed to producing 50% of its power from non-fossil fuel energy sources by the same year.
  • Heat increases power demand: Heat boosts power demand in cities and industries, heightens risks for outdoor labor, strains healthcare services for vulnerable groups, and underscores the necessity of clean water, ventilation, and bathrooms. Power availability is fundamental for addressing these challenges.
  • Focus on Solar Power: A substantial portion of the renewable energy addition will come from solar power. However, due to the intermittent nature of solar output and the ongoing establishment of power storage capacity, coal is still relied upon to meet peak demand.
  • Coal’s Dominance: Chart 3 (above) illustrates the gross electricity generated using coal in India and coal’s share in total electricity generation. The coal’s share has remained between 70-74% since at least FY16.
  • Commercially Viable Energy Storage: In India, the most commercially viable energy storage forms currently are battery-based and Pumped Hydro Storage (PHS).
  • Renewable Energy Generation: Chart 4 depicts the gross electricity generated using renewable sources in India and the share of renewable sources in total electricity generation. The share of renewables, including solar, hydro, wind, etc., has remained between 20-25% since at least FY16

Major Dilemma For India: Cannot ignore Coal immediately:

  • Coal is projected to continue as the backbone of the Indian energy system until the next two decades and its phase-down will require active policies on critical minerals, according to a report by the Indian Institute of Management (IIM)- Ahmedabad.
  • The report, titled ‘Synchronising energy transitions towards a possible Net Zero for India: Affordable and Clean Energy for All,’ asserted that net zero is not possible without substantial nuclear power and renewable energy generation by 2070.
  • To achieve net-zero energy systems by 2070, the report mentioned that the electricity sector will need to decarbonize well before that.

 

Way Forward: 

  • NDC Goals: The remaining gaps in emissions will be offset through sequestration in forestry and tree cover as envisaged in our Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).
  • Need for Technological intervention: There is no silver bullet to achieve net zero. The transition needs multiple pathways to be adopted with the co-existence of myriad technologies in our energy basket.

 

Mains PYQ

Q Discuss the implications of heightened heat waves in India, as highlighted by recent statements from the India Meteorological Department (IMD).

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Renewable Energy – Wind, Tidal, Geothermal, etc.

Why green hydrogen presents both major opportunities, significant challenges

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: About Green , Blue and grey hydrogen

Mains level: Objecive of MNRE scheme, significance of hydrogen fuel vehicles and Challenges

why in the news? 

Recently, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has announced a Rs-496-crore (until 2025-26) scheme to support pilot projects that either test the viability of green hydrogen as a vehicle fuel or develop secure supporting infrastructure such as refuelling stations.

Objecive of MNRE scheme 

(i) validation of technical feasibility and performance of green hydrogen as a transportation fuel

(ii) evaluation of the economic viability of green hydrogen-powered vehicles

(iii) demonstration of safe operation of hydrogen-powered vehicles and refuelling stations.

About Green , Blue and grey hydrogen

The significance of hydrogen fuel vehicles, particularly hydrogen internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles and hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs)

  • Zero Carbon Emissions: Both hydrogen ICE vehicles and FCEVs produce zero carbon emissions during operation.
  • Energy Efficiency: While research suggests that burning hydrogen in an ICE vehicle may be less energy-efficient than using it in a fuel cell, FCEVs still offer high energy efficiency compared to traditional internal combustion engine vehicles, particularly those powered by fossil fuels like diesel and petrol.
  • Clean Energy Production: Hydrogen can be produced through various renewable energy sources, such as wind, solar, and hydroelectric power.
  • Lightweight and Increased Payload Capacity: Hydrogen FCEVs typically weigh less than battery electric vehicles (BEVs) due to the lighter weight of hydrogen and the fuel cell stack compared to EV batteries.
  • Long-haul Freight Applications: Research indicates that long-haul FCEVs can carry freight amounts similar to diesel trucks, while BEVs may suffer from a weight penalty due to heavier batteries.  .
  • Diversification of Energy Sources: Hydrogen fuel vehicles offer a viable alternative to battery electric vehicles, providing diversification in energy sources for transportation.

 Challenges 

  • Storage and Transportation Challenges: Developing specialized cylinders capable of safely storing high-pressure green hydrogen is essential. Existing cylinders designed for compressed natural gas (CNG) are not suitable for hydrogen storage
  • Fuel Costs and Infrastructure: Green hydrogen-powered vehicles face challenges in competing with battery electric vehicles (BEVs) due to higher fuel costs and the need for infrastructure development, including hydrogen refueling stations. The cost of establishing and maintaining hydrogen refueling infrastructure is significant, hindering the widespread adoption of hydrogen FCEVs.
  • Safety Concerns: Hydrogen is highly flammable, necessitating robust safety standards and protocols for handling and storing the fuel at refueling stations.

Conclusion 

Green hydrogen offers zero emissions, energy efficiency, and diversification in energy sources for transportation. However, challenges like storage, infrastructure costs, and safety concerns hinder widespread adoption, despite MNRE’s support scheme.

Mains PYQ

Q How is efficient and affordable urban mass transport key to the rapid economic development in India? (UPSC IAS/2019)

Q Discuss in detail the photochemical smog emphasizing its formation, effects and mitigation. Explain the 1999 Gothenburg protocol.(UPSC IAS/2022)

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Renewable Energy – Wind, Tidal, Geothermal, etc.

Renewable power, when it isn’t sunny or windy

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Merchant Sales

Mains level: India's ambitious renewable energy targets and the challenges associated with intermittency and peak demand

India pledges new climate crisis goal: Net zero by 2070 | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

 

Central Idea:

India aims to achieve its goal of becoming greenhouse gas (GHG) neutral by 2070 through the addition of renewable energy (RE) capacity by 2030. However, to address the challenges of intermittency and peak demand, there is a need for robust storage capacities, deeper power exchanges, and innovative bidding processes.

 

Key Highlights:

  • India targets RE capacity by 2030 to achieve GHG neutrality by 2070.
  • The country has made significant progress with solar and wind energy added.
  • Long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs) with state discoms have facilitated RE growth.
  • Favorable policies and reduction in capital costs have spurred competition and foreign investment.
  • Peak power deficits are growing, necessitating innovative solutions to match demand patterns.
  • Bids for renewable projects now require hourly demand matching, akin to traditional power sources.
  • Storage solutions, such as pumped hydro and battery storage, are crucial for grid stability.
  • Excess power generated can be sold to commercial consumers or on power exchanges.

 

Key Challenges:

  • Meeting peak demand and demand patterns poses a challenge for intermittent renewable sources.
  • Reluctance of discoms to accept must-run renewable energy hampers adoption.
  • Capital costs of storage solutions, like battery storage, remain relatively high.
  • Lack of vibrant power exchange markets limits opportunities for excess power sales.
  • High merchant sales may impact project bankability, requiring guaranteed floor prices.

 

Main Terms:

  • GHG Neutrality: Achieving a balance between emitted greenhouse gases and those removed from the atmosphere.
  • Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs): Contracts between electricity generators and buyers, often discoms, for the sale of electricity.
  • Renewable Purchase Obligations: Mandates requiring power utilities to purchase a certain percentage of their electricity from renewable sources.
  • Firm and Dispatchable Renewable Energy (FDRE): Renewable energy sources capable of meeting demand fluctuations, akin to traditional power sources.
  • Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE): The average cost of generating electricity from a particular source over its lifetime.

 

Important Phrases:

  • Must-Run Status: Requirement for uninterrupted operation of renewable energy projects, except for safety reasons.
  • Intermittencies: Variations in energy production from renewable sources due to weather conditions.
  • Peak Deficits: Shortages in electricity supply during periods of highest demand.
  • Round-the-Clock Demand: Consistent electricity supply matching consumer demand throughout the day.
  • Merchant Sales: Selling excess electricity generated beyond contractual obligations on the open market.

 

Useful Statements:

  • “Storage capacities are central to maintaining grid stability as we expand renewable energy capacities.”
  • “Innovative bidding processes now require renewable generators to match demand patterns akin to traditional power sources.”
  • “Reluctance of discoms to accept must-run renewable energy hampers India’s renewable energy goals.”

 

Facts and Data:

  • India aims to add renewable energy capacity by 2030.
  • Peak demand is expected to grow in the coming years.
  • India’s power exchanges have witnessed increased trading activity but still lag behind developed economies.
  • Battery storage costs are currently estimated, compared to for pumped hydro.

 

Critical Analysis:

The article underscores India’s ambitious renewable energy targets and the challenges associated with intermittency and peak demand. It highlights the importance of storage solutions and innovative bidding processes in ensuring the viability of renewable energy projects. However, challenges such as the reluctance of discoms and high capital costs of storage solutions need to be addressed to accelerate India’s transition to a greener energy landscape.

 

Way Forward:

  • Implement policies to incentivize discoms to accept must-run renewable energy.
  • Invest in research and development to reduce the capital costs of storage solutions.
  • Enhance power exchange markets to facilitate the sale of excess renewable energy.
  • Provide guaranteed floor prices for excess power sales to improve project bankability.
  • Continue to innovate bidding processes to better match renewable energy supply with demand patterns.

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Renewable Energy – Wind, Tidal, Geothermal, etc.

For India, the easiest way to decarbonise is to scale up renewable capacity

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: CO2eq

Mains level: Policy consistency and focus on achieving the goal of being net-zero by 2070

Why the Next Decade is Crucial for India to Fulfil Its Emission Goals -  BusinessToday - Issue Date: Feb 20, 2022

Central Idea:

The article delves into India’s current carbon emissions landscape, spotlighting the Global Carbon Project’s findings released during COP28. It underscores the imperative for a thoughtful decarbonization strategy, scrutinizing challenges and potential resolutions, particularly in the context of renewable energy, electric vehicles (EVs), and the prospect of green hydrogen.

Highlights:

  • India’s projected CO2 emissions are poised to surpass 3 gigatons by the close of 2023, reflecting an 8% uptick from 2022.
  • Despite lower per capita and cumulative emissions compared to global averages, India grapples with the task of mitigating emissions in key sectors: energy, agriculture, and industry.
  • The energy sector shoulders 76% of greenhouse gas emissions, necessitating a shift away from fossil fuels, notably in power generation and transportation.

Challenges:

  • Transport Sector Transition: EV adoption confronts challenges due to dependence on the fossil fuel-reliant power grid and infrastructure gaps, especially for four-wheelers and heavy transport.
  • Industrial Decarbonization: Industries reliant on intense heat, such as iron and steel, face hurdles in substituting fossil fuels, as renewable sources may fall short in meeting their power requirements.
  • Green Hydrogen: Despite being hailed as a solution, global production of green hydrogen remains minimal. Challenges include the need for substantial green power and water, along with issues in transportation and energy-intensive storage methods.

Key Terms:

  • CO2eq: Carbon dioxide equivalent, a metric expressing the global warming potential of various greenhouse gases.
  • Renewable Capacity: The quantum of energy a country can generate from renewable sources like solar and wind.
  • Green Hydrogen: Hydrogen produced using renewable energy sources, deemed a potential clean fuel.

Key Phrases:

  • “Low-hanging fruit”: Referring to the simplest or most readily achievable goals, such as scaling up renewable capacity.
  • “Net-zero by 2070”: The aspiration to achieve equilibrium between greenhouse gas emissions produced and removed from the atmosphere by 2070.

Key Quotes:

  • “Reduction in the use of fossil fuels can be easily done in the case of power generation…”
  • “What is thus evident is that the easiest way to decarbonise is to scale up renewable capacity…”

Key Statements:

  • “India’s per capita and cumulative emissions notwithstanding, we need to strategize our decarbonization process.”
  • “The best solution for sectors like heavy transport or industries is getting access to green hydrogen.”

Key Examples and References:

  • Reference to India’s Third National Communication (2023) offering data on greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Mention of the challenges in adopting electric vehicles, especially for heavy transport and four-wheelers.

Key Facts and Data:

  • India’s total greenhouse gas emissions in 2019 were 3.1 gigatons of CO2eq, with the energy sector contributing 76%.
  • The energy sector, particularly power generation, accounts for 39% of CO2 emissions in India.

Critical Analysis:

  • The article underscores the intricacies of decarbonization, recognizing the limitations of current solutions like electric vehicles and the hurdles in transitioning industries.
  • It stresses the need for a comprehensive approach, amalgamating renewable energy scaling with advancements in technologies like green hydrogen.
  • The author critiques policy inconsistencies, highlighting the incongruity between announcing new coal-based capacity and a prior commitment to avoid it.

Way Forward:

  • Prioritize renewable capacity growth by simplifying land acquisition processes, ensuring regular payments to generators, and facilitating access to the grid.
  • Address challenges in the transport sector and industry by promoting research and development in sustainable alternatives like green hydrogen.
  • Maintain policy consistency and focus on achieving the goal of being net-zero by 2070.

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Renewable Energy – Wind, Tidal, Geothermal, etc.

Private: Global Renewables and Energy Efficiency Pledge at COP28

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Global Renewables and Energy Efficiency Pledge

Mains level: NA

Central Idea

  • On December 2, at the COP28 climate summit, 118 countries signed the Global Renewables and Energy Efficiency Pledge.
  • The pledge aims to triple the world’s green energy capacity to 11,000 GW by 2030, reducing dependence on fossil fuels.

Global Renewables and Energy Efficiency Pledge

  • Energy Efficiency Goal: Countries committed to doubling the global average annual rate of energy efficiency improvements from around 2% to over 4% each year until 2030.
  • Future Energy Sources: Solar, wind, hydropower, and biofuels are envisioned as primary energy sources by 2050, potentially eliminating fossil fuels.
  • Emission Reduction Target: The initiative seeks to limit the global average temperature rise to below 2 degrees Celsius, aligning with the goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement.
  • Non-Binding Nature: The pledge is not legally binding and is not officially part of the COP28 calendar.
  • Indication of Global Intent: It symbolizes a strong desire among world leaders to actively reduce global emissions.

Key IEA Observations on Renewable Energy

  • Renewables Growth Forecast: The IEA predicts that renewables will constitute over 90% of global electricity capacity expansion between 2022 and 2027.
  • Key Contributors: This growth is driven by policy implementations and reforms in China, the EU, the US, and India, partly in response to the energy crisis.
  • Historic Growth Rate: Renewables are expected to grow by almost 2,400 GW from 2022 to 2027, an 85% increase from the previous five years.
  • India’s Renewable Energy Status: India ranks as the third-largest producer of renewable energy globally, with 40% of its energy capacity from non-fossil sources. The country aims for 50% renewable energy by 2030 and net-zero emissions by 2070.

Significant Challenges  

  • Sectoral Hurdles: The global expansion of renewables faces challenges like rising costs, labour constraints, and supply chain issues, leading to project delays and cancellations.
  • Financial Impact: These challenges have resulted in significant financial losses for leading developers.

India and China’s Position

  • Stance on the Pledge: India and China did not sign the pledge due to its call for phasing down coal and ending investment in new coal-fired power plants.
  • India’s G20 Commitment: In September 2023, India supported the G20 commitment to work towards tripling global renewable energy capacity by 2030.

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Renewable Energy – Wind, Tidal, Geothermal, etc.

White Hydrogen reserves discovered in France

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: White Hydrogen

Mains level: NA

white hydrogen

Central Idea

  • In a groundbreaking discovery, scientists searching for fossil fuels beneath northeastern France stumbled upon a vast reservoir of hydrogen.
  • Initial calculations suggest that this deposit of “white hydrogen” is among the largest ever found, estimated to range from 6 million to 250 million metric tons, holding immense promise for clean energy applications.

Understanding White Hydrogen  

  • White hydrogen is a naturally occurring gas found within the Earth’s crust.
  • While hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe, it typically combines with other molecules.
  • Hydrogen is hailed as a promising clean energy source for industries such as aviation, shipping, and steel production.
  • Its combustion produces only water, making it a highly eco-friendly energy option compared to solar or wind energy.

Other types of Hydrogen

Obtained from Production Method Carbon Emissions
Green Hydrogen Water and renewable energy sources Electrolysis with renewables Very low to zero
Blue Hydrogen Natural gas Steam Methane Reforming (SMR) with Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) Reduced, but captured
Gray Hydrogen Natural gas Steam Methane Reforming (SMR) without CCS High

Significance of the Discovery

  • Shifting Paradigm: Historically, scientists believed that large-scale hydrogen production required lab-based processes. Hydrogen was categorized into different types based on their origin, such as gray, brown, blue, and green.
  • Untapped Potential: White hydrogen, as a naturally occurring and abundant resource, offers a significant source of clean-burning energy.
  • Natural and Cost-Effective: Unlike energy-intensive production methods, white hydrogen is naturally occurring and more cost-effective. Estimated costs for white hydrogen production are approximately $1 per kilogram, while green hydrogen costs around $6 per kilogram.

Back2Basics: Steam Methane Reforming (SMR) Process

smr

SMR is the most widely used method for industrial hydrogen production, accounting for the majority of global hydrogen production.

  • Feedstock: It uses methane (CH4) from natural gas as its primary feedstock, making it a cost-effective and readily available source of hydrogen.
  • Reaction: SMR involves the reaction of methane with high-temperature steam (H2O) in the presence of a catalyst. The primary chemical reactions produce hydrogen (H2) and carbon monoxide (CO).
  • Endothermic Process: The reactions in SMR are highly endothermic, meaning they absorb a significant amount of heat energy, typically supplied through external heating.
  • By-products: In addition to hydrogen and carbon monoxide, SMR also produces carbon dioxide (CO2) and unreacted methane.

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Renewable Energy – Wind, Tidal, Geothermal, etc.

International Solar Alliance to release ‘Solar Stocktake’ Report

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: ISA, Solar Stocktake

Mains level: Solar Energy Transition

solar

Central Idea

  • The International Solar Alliance (ISA), a coalition of 116 member nations committed to advancing global solar technology adoption, is set to unveil its inaugural ‘global solar stock-take report.’
  • This initiative is inspired by the United Nations’ inaugural ‘Global Stocktake’ event, slated for Dubai later this year.

About International Solar Alliance (ISA)

  • The ISA is an alliance of more than 121 countries, most of them being sunshine countries, which lie either completely or partly between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn.
  • It is headquartered in Gurugram, India.
  • The primary objective of the alliance is to work for efficient exploitation of solar energy to reduce dependence on fossil fuels.
  • The alliance is a treaty-based inter-governmental organization.
  • The initiative was launched by PM Modi at the India Africa Summit and a meeting of member countries ahead of the 2015 UN Climate Change Conference in Paris in November 2015.

ISA’s Solar Stocktake

  • First-Ever Report: The ISA’s ‘solar stocktake’ report marks a historic endeavor, with its release scheduled for mid-November.
  • Assessing Progress: The report will comprehensively evaluate the strides made by nations in the adoption of solar energy.
  • Global Solar Investment: Notably, investments in solar energy have surged, reaching nearly $300 billion in 2020 and approximately $380 billion in 2022. However, there is significant manufacturing concentration in China.
  • Diversifying Solar Manufacturing: The ISA aims to explore strategies for diversifying solar manufacturing beyond China.

ISA’s Commitment to Solar Expansion

  • Leadership: The ISA, co-led by India and France, is gearing up for its sixth annual meeting, scheduled in Delhi.
  • Africa Solar Focus: One of the ISA’s primary objectives is to expand solar installations in Africa. To facilitate this, the Global Solar Facility (GSF) has been established.
  • Global Solar Facility (GSF): The GSF consists of three funds: a payment guarantee fund, an insurance fund to mitigate project risks, and an investment fund for technical assistance.
  • Expanding to Other Regions: Following its work in Africa, the ISA aims to extend its efforts to West Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean.

Global Solar Energy Landscape

  • Growing Solar Capacity: As of 2022, global solar photovoltaic installations reached 1,133 gigawatts (GW), with an impressive addition of 191 GW in 2022.
  • Chinese Dominance: China, despite not being an ISA member, accounts for nearly a quarter of global solar installations, at around 350 GW. The United States, an ISA member, follows with 111 GW. India, also an ISA member, ranks among the top five countries globally, with 62 GW of solar capacity.

Conclusion

  • The ISA’s ‘solar stocktake’ report represents a significant milestone in the global push for solar energy adoption.
  • As the world grapples with the imperative to transition to renewable energy sources, this initiative offers insights into progress and challenges.

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Renewable Energy – Wind, Tidal, Geothermal, etc.

Green Hydrogen push will need to counter challenges

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Green hydrogen and its applications

Mains level: Green Hydrogen, National Green Hydrogen Mission, challenges and way forward

What’s the news?

  • Recently, the government affirmed its commitment to making India a green hydrogen hub with a trial run of two buses that will operate on this clean fuel.

Central idea

  • Green hydrogen is recognized for its minimal emissions and higher efficiency compared to internal combustion engines. The government’s move to conduct a trial run of two buses on green hydrogen fuel is part of a larger plan to introduce 15 more such buses by the end of the year. However, several challenges must be addressed to ensure the commercial viability of green hydrogen.

What is green hydrogen?

  • Green hydrogen, often referred to as clean hydrogen, is a type of hydrogen gas produced through a process that uses renewable energy sources or other low-carbon methods with little to no greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Green hydrogen (GH2) is produced by splitting water (H2O) into hydrogen and oxygen (O2) using renewable electricity.
  • It is considered an environmentally friendly and sustainable form of hydrogen production because it does not rely on fossil fuels or emit harmful pollutants or greenhouse gases during its creation.
  • It can serve as an energy source (heavy industry, long-distance mobility, aviation, and power storage) and an energy carrier (as green ammonia or blended with natural gas).

Have you heard about green steel?

  • Green steel refers to steel that is produced using sustainable and environmentally friendly methods.
  • Green steel is produced using renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar power, and by utilizing low-emission technologies that reduce carbon emissions.
  • One of the main ways to produce green steel is through the use of hydrogen instead of coal or natural gas as the reducing agent in the steel-making process.
  • Green steel is seen as a way to reduce the environmental impact of the steel industry, which is responsible for a significant portion of global carbon emissions.
  • The costs of green steel, made from green hydrogen, are currently much higher but could be reduced with economies of scale and changes in production technologies.

Challenges and roadblocks

  • Renewable Energy Capacity Gap: India needs to add approximately 100 GW of renewable energy capacity every year for the next seven years to meet its green hydrogen production goals. In contrast, only about 16 GW of renewable energy capacity was added last year, revealing a substantial capacity deficit.
  • Water Intensity: The production of 1 kg of green hydrogen requires around eight to nine liters of water. This poses a significant challenge in regions already grappling with water scarcity issues, potentially straining local resources.
  • Electrolyser Manufacturing Capacity: The global manufacturing capacity of electrolysers, the critical component in green hydrogen production, currently stands at about 10 GW. To meet its 2030 targets, India may need to increase its capacity six to tenfold, indicating a pressing need for rapid expansion.
  • Access to Rare Earth Minerals: Rare earth minerals are essential for electrolyser production, and China currently dominates this market. India must secure a consistent supply of these minerals through strategic partnerships or domestic production to support its green hydrogen ambitions.
  • Safety Concerns: Green hydrogen is highly flammable, necessitating rigorous safety measures throughout the production, storage, and transportation processes. These safety concerns may impact public perception and adoption.

Way forward

  • Accelerate Renewable Energy Deployment: India should intensify efforts to deploy renewable energy sources like solar and wind power. Policies, investments, and streamlined regulatory processes are necessary to attract investments and expedite capacity expansion.
  • R&D for Water-Efficient Technologies: Investment in research and development is critical to developing water-efficient hydrogen production technologies. Collaborations with research institutions and international partners can expedite progress.
  • Domestic Electrolyser Production: India should prioritize domestic electrolyser manufacturing capabilities. Strategic diplomatic negotiations and alliances can help secure access to rare earth minerals for indigenous production.
  • Stringent Safety Standards: Developing and enforcing robust safety standards and protocols for green hydrogen production, storage, and transport is essential. Ensuring safety will foster confidence in the technology.
  • Infrastructure Development: Building the necessary infrastructure, including pipelines and refueling stations, for green hydrogen production, storage, and distribution is crucial for its widespread adoption.

Steps in the right direction

  • Green Hydrogen Mission: The Indian government has launched the Green Hydrogen Mission, which aims to produce 5 million tonnes of green hydrogen annually by 2030. This initiative is designed to reduce the country’s dependence on imported fossil fuels and mitigate 50 million metric tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Investment in Electrolysis Technology: A significant portion of the Green Hydrogen Mission’s budget is dedicated to developing electrolysers, the devices used in the electrolysis process to produce green hydrogen. This investment is crucial to scaling up hydrogen production capacity in the country.
  • Utilizing the Indian Oil Corporation’s Expertise: The government has wisely leveraged the Indian Oil Corporation’s expertise for the country’s inaugural green hydrogen vehicle project. To access global markets and foster collaborations with other nations, India must further develop its capabilities in the green hydrogen sector.

Conclusion

  • India’s aspirations to become a green hydrogen hub are laudable and align with global efforts to combat climate change. However, the journey ahead is fraught with challenges. Technological innovation, international partnerships, and a sustained commitment to clean energy are essential to transforming these ambitions into a sustainable reality.

Also read:

[Sureshot] National Green Hydrogen Mission

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Renewable Energy – Wind, Tidal, Geothermal, etc.

PUSHp Portal: A Game-Changer

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: PushP Portal

Mains level: NA

Central Idea

  • The National Power Committee (NPC) has urged States to contribute their insights towards shaping incentives for both buyers and sellers on the Power High Price Day Ahead Market (HP-DAM) and Surplus Power Portal (PUShP).
  • This innovative platform, introduced by the Ministry of Power, aims to enhance power availability, optimize utilization, and facilitate efficient power trading.

PUSHp Portal

  • Concept Launch: The Ministry of Power unveiled the HP-DAM and PUShP to address power scarcity during peak demand periods and to encourage surplus power trading.
  • Price Flexibility: The platform allows certain sellers to offer power at prices exceeding the ceiling of Rs 12 per unit during peak demand, promoting higher availability.
  • Surplus Power Indication: Power distribution companies (DISCOMs) can display their surplus power availability on the portal, indicating the block times, days, or months.
  • Requisition Mechanism: DISCOMs in need of power can requisition the surplus power from the portal, promoting efficient allocation.

Operational Mechanism

  • Cost Determination: New buyers will pay both variable charges (VC) and fixed costs (FC) as regulated by authorities.
  • Reassignment Implications: Once power is reassigned, the original beneficiary relinquishes the right to recall power, including the entire FC liability.
  • Reducing Fixed Costs: This approach alleviates the fixed cost burden on DISCOMs, making power distribution more efficient.
  • Optimal Capacity Utilization: The platform ensures that all available generation capacity is effectively utilized, mitigating wastage.

Back2Basics: Day Ahead Market

  • A Day Ahead Market is a platform for trading electricity where delivery occurs within 24 hours from the following day’s midnight.
  • Electricity is traded in 15-minute time blocks, and prices are determined through auction bidding.
  • The auction process establishes prices and the quantum of electricity traded, ensuring transparency.

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Renewable Energy – Wind, Tidal, Geothermal, etc.

Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP)

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP)

Mains level: NA

just energy

Central Idea

  • Senegal has joined the Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP) deal, becoming the fourth country to sign after South Africa, Indonesia, and Vietnam.
  • The deal aims to mobilize 5 billion euros in new financing for Senegal.

What is Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP)?

  • JETP is a financing mechanism that aims to support developing countries in their transition from fossil fuel-based energy systems to clean and renewable energy sources.
  • JETP is designed to bridge the gap between wealthier nations and coal-dependent developing nations, addressing both the environmental and social aspects of the energy transition.

JETP Mechanism and Social Considerations

  • JETPs provide financing to developing countries to phase out coal and transition to clean energy.
  • Social aspects, such as protecting affected communities and providing job opportunities, are crucial in JETP plans.
  • Reskilling, upskilling, and creating new jobs are essential components of a just energy transition.

Funding Sources and Donor Pool

  • JETP funding can be provided through grants, loans, or investments.
  • The International Partners Group (IPG) and the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ) Working Group are key contributors.
  • The IPG includes countries such as Japan, the USA, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, the EU, and the UK.
  • The GFANZ Working Group comprises multilateral and national development banks and finance agencies.

JETP Success Stories

  • South Africa was the first country to enter into a JETP at COP 26 Glasgow, with a pledge of 8.5 billion USD in financing.
  • Indonesia announced its JETP at the G20 Bali Summit, receiving an initial 20 billion USD in public and private financing.
  • Vietnam joined the JETP initiative, securing an initial fund of 15.5 billion USD over the next three to five years.

Prospects for India’s Participation

  • Talks of a JET-P deal with India are ongoing but have not reached a final conclusion.
  • Challenges include the complexity of India’s coal-based power sector and financing in the form of loans.
  • India seeks favorable conditions and no compromise on energy security and development.

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Renewable Energy – Wind, Tidal, Geothermal, etc.

India’s Effective Approach to Renewable Energy and Sustainable Development

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: India's sustainable development strategies and initiatives

Mains level: Understand the Changing approach towards sustainable development, India's effective strategies for renewable energy and sustainable development , challenges and way forward

Development

Central Idea

  • In recent years, climate change has gained significant attention, necessitating urgent implementation of mitigation and adaptation measures in India. With a population of 1.4 billion residing in areas vulnerable to climate impacts, sustainable development has become crucial to safeguard lives, livelihoods, and the nation’s infrastructure investments.

The changing dynamics of Sustainable Development

  • Perception and Awareness: There has been a significant shift in the perception of sustainable development, with increased awareness of its importance. It is now recognized as a critical aspect of addressing climate change, protecting ecosystems, and ensuring the well-being of present and future generations.
  • Science-Based Approach: Sustainable development now emphasizes the integration of scientific concepts and knowledge into development plans and policies. This approach helps in understanding the complex interactions between human activities and the environment, and guides the formulation of effective solutions.
  • Technological Solutions: There is a growing emphasis on utilizing technological advancements to support sustainable development. Tools and innovations are being developed to link sustainable practices with technological solutions, enabling more efficient resource utilization, renewable energy integration, and environmentally-friendly practices.
  • Information Asymmetry: Despite progress, information asymmetry remains a challenge at the local and hyper-local governance levels. Efforts are being made to bridge this gap by promoting collaboration between scientific and research bodies and policymakers, ensuring that decision-makers have access to accurate and up-to-date information on the implications of climate change.
  • Availability of Environmental Data: The increased availability of data on various environmental indicators has transformed the formulation of climate change policies. With better data, policymakers can gain a deeper understanding of the potential impacts and casualties associated with climate change, particularly in terms of adaptation and mitigation strategies.
  • Policy and Fiscal Incentives: Governments are implementing policies and providing fiscal incentives to promote sustainable practices. These measures, such as subsidies for renewable energy, carbon pricing mechanisms, and support for sustainable infrastructure, aim to drive the adoption of sustainable solutions and transform sectors towards more environmentally-friendly practices.
  • International Collaboration: Sustainable development is no longer confined to national boundaries. Countries are recognizing the need for international collaboration and partnerships to address global challenges collectively. Initiatives like the International Solar Alliance (ISA) exemplify this trend, where countries work together to promote renewable energy and combat climate change.
  • Inclusive and Just Transitions: Sustainable development is increasingly seen through the lens of equity, inclusiveness, and justice. Efforts are being made to ensure that the benefits of sustainable practices are shared by all, and that marginalized communities are not disproportionately affected by the transition to sustainable development

India’s comprehensive approach to renewable energy

  • National Solar Mission: In 2010, India launched the National Solar Mission, which aimed to promote the use of solar energy for power generation. The mission set a target of installing 20,000 megawatts (MW) of grid-connected solar power capacity by 2022. However, this target was achieved four years ahead of schedule, leading to an increased commitment to solar energy.
  • Solar Power Capacity Expansion: India has witnessed significant growth in solar power capacity over the years. As of March 2023, more than 60,000 MW of solar capacity has been installed, making India one of the leading countries in terms of solar energy deployment.
  • Pradhan Mantri Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan (KUSUM) Scheme: The KUSUM scheme was introduced to promote the use of solar energy in the agricultural sector. Under this scheme, farmers with grid-connected agricultural pumps are provided support to run their water pumps on solar power. The scheme covers two-thirds of the cost, with the central and state governments sharing the expenses. Farmers can use the solar power generated for irrigation and sell any surplus energy to the distribution company.
  • International Solar Alliance (ISA): India, along with France, spearheaded the formation of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) during the 2015 Paris climate conference. The ISA aims to promote solar energy adoption globally, facilitate collaboration among member countries, and mobilize funds for solar projects.

India’s approach towards Sustainable Development: Various strategies and initiatives

  • Integration of Science and Policy: India recognizes the importance of integrating scientific concepts and knowledge into development plans and policies, specifically in relation to climate change and its impacts across sectors. Efforts are being made to minimize the information asymmetry on climate change implications between governance institutions and scientific/research bodies.
  • Data-Driven Decision Making: The availability of comprehensive environmental data is considered crucial for effective climate change policy-making. Improved data on environmental indicators allows for a better understanding of casualties and impacts, especially in adaptation and mitigation strategies.
  • Emphasis on Technological Solutions: India has shown a focus on leveraging technology as a means to address sustainable development challenges. Integrating technology-based solutions with public policies centered around sustainability is seen as a way to create cascading effects and contribute to good governance.
  • Policy and Fiscal Incentives: The Indian government has implemented policies and fiscal incentives to support renewable energy, including solar power. These measures have contributed to the transformation of the energy sector and can serve as a roadmap for other sustainable governance initiatives.
  • Swachh Bharat Mission: India’s Swachh Bharat Mission directly addresses Sustainable Development Goal 6 by focusing on sanitation, cleanliness, and hygiene. It aims to achieve universal sanitation and cleanliness across the country.
  • Technological Innovation for Carbon Neutrality: India recognizes the role of technology in achieving systemic shifts like carbon neutrality. Market-based mechanisms for carbon pricing and cutting-edge knowledge on carbon sequestration are seen as crucial in increasing transparency, delivering sequestration benefits, and designing compliance and liability frameworks.
  • Just and Equitable Energy Transition: As India looks to phase out coal, efforts are being made to ensure a just and equitable transition for those employed in the coal ecosystem. The aim is to apply science and policy to provide fair solutions while addressing the needs of affected individuals and communities.
  • Multi-Institutional Collaboration: Collaboration between public and private sectors is seen as essential for scalable solutions and systemic change. Technological innovation, public participation, and solutions for sustainable development are viewed as opportunities to empower individuals and drive sustainable governance.
  • Planning for Structural Shifts: India aims to plan for structural shifts and innovation in governance to promote sustainable practices. These shifts are expected to contribute to good sustainable governance, and as India assumes leadership in the G20, it has the potential to inspire and lead in sustainable governance practices.

Challenges regarding India’s approach to Sustainable Development

  • Information Asymmetry: The governance institutions at local and hyper-local levels in India are affected by information asymmetry regarding the implications of climate change. Bridging this gap and ensuring the dissemination of accurate and up-to-date information is a challenge.
  • Equity and Just Transition: As India aims to phase out coal, ensuring a just and equitable transition for those employed in the coal ecosystem poses a challenge. Balancing the need for sustainable energy sources while addressing the socio-economic concerns of affected individuals and communities is crucial.
  • Population Vulnerability: India’s large population, combined with its exposure to climate change impacts, poses challenges in protecting vulnerable communities from extreme weather events, water scarcity, and other climate-related risks.
  • Infrastructure and Environmental Impact: Balancing the rapid pace of infrastructure development with sustainability considerations is a challenge. Ensuring that infrastructure projects minimize environmental impacts, such as carbon emissions and ecosystem degradation, is essential.
  • Poverty and Inequality: Addressing poverty and income inequality is crucial in achieving sustainable development goals. Ensuring that sustainable development initiatives reach marginalized and vulnerable communities and do not exacerbate existing disparities is a challenge.
  • Waste Management: Effective waste management is identified as a challenge in India, particularly in urban areas. Improving waste segregation, recycling infrastructure, and proper disposal practices is necessary for sustainable waste management.
  • Water Management: There are challenges of water scarcity, water pollution, and unsustainable water management practices. Balancing competing water demands, promoting water conservation, and improving water quality are significant challenges.
  • Behavioral Change: Bringing about a shift in behavior and promoting sustainable lifestyles at the individual and community levels is a challenge. Encouraging environmentally conscious choices and reducing consumption patterns require widespread awareness and behavioral change campaigns.

Way Forward

  • Strengthening Awareness and Education: Increasing awareness and understanding of sustainable development among the general public, policymakers, and stakeholders is crucial. Promoting education and awareness campaigns that highlight the importance of sustainable practices and their benefits can drive behavior change and foster a culture of sustainability.
  • Integrated Policy Frameworks: Developing integrated policy frameworks that encompass environmental, social, and economic aspects of sustainable development is essential. These frameworks should provide clear guidelines and incentives for sustainable practices, address cross-cutting issues, and promote collaboration across sectors.
  • Enhancing Stakeholder Engagement: Encouraging active participation and engagement of diverse stakeholders, including local communities, civil society organizations, businesses, and academia, is vital.
  • Promoting Green Technologies and Innovation: Encouraging the development and adoption of green technologies and innovation can drive sustainable practices across sectors. This includes promoting research and development in renewable energy, sustainable agriculture, waste management, and other key areas.
  • Strengthening Governance and Institutional Capacity: Enhancing governance mechanisms, transparency, and accountability is crucial for effective implementation of sustainable development policies. This involves improving coordination among different levels of government, streamlining regulatory frameworks, and investing in capacity building for policymakers and administrators.
  • Financing Sustainable Development: Mobilizing adequate financial resources for sustainable development projects is essential. Governments, along with international organizations, should explore innovative financing mechanisms, encourage public-private partnerships, and attract investments in sustainable sectors.
  • International Cooperation: Collaboration with the international community and participation in global initiatives is important for sharing best practices, accessing technology, and mobilizing resources. Engaging in international partnerships, such as the International Solar Alliance and climate change negotiations, can strengthen India’s efforts towards sustainable development.
  • Monitoring, Evaluation, and Reporting: Establishing robust monitoring and evaluation mechanisms to track progress and measure the impact of sustainable development initiatives is crucial. Regular reporting and transparency in reporting progress can help identify gaps, inform policy adjustments, and ensure accountability.

Conclusion

  • India’s urgent need for sustainable development in the face of climate change requires the integration of science and policy. By leveraging scientific knowledge, implementing innovative policies, and promoting multi-institutional collaboration, India can pave the way for sustainable governance at local, national, and international levels. As the world looks to India for leadership, it is essential to plan for structural shifts and prioritize sustainable practices that ensure equity, inclusiveness, fairness, and accountability, while managing negative externalities

Also read:

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): India’s Progress Analysis

 

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Renewable Energy – Wind, Tidal, Geothermal, etc.

Subansiri Lower Hydroelectric Project (SLHEP)

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Subansiri Lower Hydroelectric Project (SLHEP)

Mains level: Hydropower in India

subansiri

Central Idea

  • Trial runs for the Subansiri Lower Hydroelectric Project (SLHEP): NHPC Limited, a government of India enterprise, will begin trial runs for the Project in July.
  • India’s largest: After a delay of 20 years, India is finally approaching the launch of India’s largest hydropower project which is crucial for the region’s energy transition.
  • About NHPC Ltd: NHPC Limited, formerly known as National Hydroelectric Power Corporation Ltd, is the largest hydropower development organization in India.

About Subansiri Lower Hydroelectric Project (SLHEP)

  • Gravity dam: It is a concrete gravity dam 116 m high from river bed level on the Subansiri River.
  • Location: The dam is located approximately 2.3 km upstream of the Subansiri River in Arunachal Pradesh, India.
  • Accessibility: The project is located near North Lakhimpur on the border of Arunachal Pradesh and Assam. The nearest railhead is Nagaon, and the nearest airport is Lilabari/Dibrugarh.
  • Run-of-the-river project: NHPC Limited, the project developer, describes the SLHEP as a run-of-the-river project, indicating its design aims to maintain the natural flow of the river.
  • Power generation capacity: Once completed, the SLHEP is expected to have a power generation capacity of 2,000 MW, making it one of the largest hydroelectric projects in India.

Construction challenges

  • Natural obstacles: The project has faced several challenges during its construction, including issues related to landslides, the need for redesigning certain aspects, and opposition from various stakeholders.
  • Delayed completion: Originally scheduled for completion in 2018, the project has experienced delays, contributing to its ongoing construction status.
  • Clearance from NGT: The SLHEP received clearance from the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on July 31, 2019, allowing for the resumption of main dam construction activities on October 15, 2019.
  • Construction progress: As of early 2019, work on the SLHEP and other major dam projects in the Assam region, such as the Dibang Dam, had faced challenges and were not progressing as expected.

Benefits offered

  • Cascade development and flood moderation: It is expected to moderate floods in the Subansiri River and bring overall development to the area, benefiting the local economy.
  • Hydropower boost: Hydropower plays a crucial role in balancing the electricity grid, especially as solar and wind power generation rise.

Strategic Location

  • Its strategic significance is heightened by its proximity to the India-China border.
  • Located in Arunachal Pradesh, which shares a border with China, the project holds geopolitical importance.

 

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Renewable Energy – Wind, Tidal, Geothermal, etc.

Engaging States in India’s Energy Transition: A Multi-Scale Approach

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: India's energy transition targets

Mains level: India's Energy Transition and the role os states

Energy Transition

Central Idea

  • In the forthcoming G20 forum, India intends to propose a diversified approach to energy pathways that considers the distinct contexts and development trajectories of countries. By bridging the gap between national ambitions and State-level implementation, India can effectively achieve its climate pledges and drive actions at the regional level.

Why States Matter in India’s energy transition?

  • Implementation and Realization of National Targets: While the central government sets goals and provides support, the actual realization of these targets depends on how they align with State priorities and capabilities. States serve as the spheres of implementation, and their active participation is essential for achieving national energy goals.
  • Addressing Legacy Issues: The electricity sector in India faces challenges such as high losses, unreliable supply, and poor service quality. These issues are deeply rooted in the State-level political economy and must be addressed at the regional level. States are responsible for tackling these legacy issues, which can be exacerbated during the energy transition if left unaddressed.
  • Laboratories of Policy Innovations: States in India have been instrumental in driving policy innovations, particularly in the renewable energy sector. Early initiatives taken by States like Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, and Tamil Nadu have significantly contributed to the uptake of renewable energy at the national level.
  • Roadblocks or Support for National Goals: States can either facilitate or hinder the achievement of national energy goals, depending on their perception of alignment with State priorities. If the national goals are perceived as misaligned or imposing undue burdens on certain States, they may become roadblocks to progress.
  • Regional Diversities and Opportunities: India is a vast and diverse country with significant regional variations in resources, economic development, and social priorities. States have unique contexts, capabilities, and opportunities that need to be taken into account during the energy transition. Recognizing and engaging with State-level diversities is essential for developing targeted and effective policies that consider regional nuances.

Insights from Achievements and Challenges of India’s energy transition

  • Partial Achievement of Targets: While India made significant progress towards its 2022 target of 175 GW renewable energy capacity, it was not fully achieved. This highlights the importance of understanding the factors that contribute to successful implementation at the State level.
  • Regional Disparities: Only a few States, such as Gujarat, Karnataka, and Rajasthan, were able to meet their individual renewable energy targets. The concentration of renewable energy capacity in certain regions, particularly in the west and south of India, highlights the need for a more balanced and inclusive distribution across States.
  • Implementation Challenges: The energy transition faces implementation challenges related to various factors such as land availability, infrastructure development, policy framework, and financial viability. These challenges vary from State to State and require tailored solutions to overcome barriers and ensure smooth implementation.
  • Importance of State-Level Support: State governments play a crucial role in driving the energy transition. States with supportive policies, favorable regulatory frameworks, and proactive engagement have demonstrated higher success rates in achieving renewable energy targets.
  • Learnings from State-Level Experiments: Successful State-level initiatives in renewable energy, such as Gujarat and Rajasthan’s early adoption of solar energy and Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu’s focus on wind energy, provide valuable lessons for scaling up renewable energy adoption at the national level.
  • Addressing Legacy Issues: Legacy issues in the electricity sector, such as high losses and unreliable supply, pose challenges to the energy transition. These issues are deeply ingrained in the State-level political economy and require targeted interventions and reforms to ensure a smooth transition to clean and sustainable energy sources.
  • Balancing National Goals and State Priorities: State priorities and goals may sometimes differ from national objectives, creating potential roadblocks. It is crucial to align national goals with State priorities and consider regional contexts to build consensus and ensure that the energy transition is inclusive and equitable.

Importance of State-Level Framework in the context of India’s energy transition

  • Understanding State Plans and Actions: A state-level framework helps in comprehending the specific plans, actions, and governance processes undertaken by individual states regarding the energy transition.
  • Broadening the Transition Discourse: By applying a state-level framework, the focus of the transition discourse expands beyond mere outcome-oriented discussions. It includes an analysis of the processes that shape the outcomes, such as transparency, accountability, affordability, and reliability of services.
  • Enhancing Transparency and Legitimacy: A state-level framework ensures that stakeholders are engaged and have the opportunity to participate, contribute, and provide inputs. This transparency fosters public legitimacy and buy-in for complex decisions related to the energy transition, enhancing public acceptance and support for sustainable energy initiatives.
  • Addressing State-Level Diversities: A state-level framework allows for a more nuanced understanding of these diversities and tailors energy transition strategies accordingly. It recognizes that what works in one state may not be directly applicable or effective in another state, leading to more context-specific and targeted policies and interventions.
  • Evidence-Based Policy Choices: A state-level framework facilitates evidence-based policy choices by providing a structured approach to assess state-level preparedness and requirements for the energy transition. It enables comprehensive analyses of factors such as targets, resources, cross-sectoral inter-linkages, and implications of policy decisions
  • Sensitizing National Policy Discourse: Viewing the energy transition through the lens of state-level preparedness brings greater sensitivity to state-level diversities, priorities, capacities, and opportunities.

Way ahead: A Multi-Scale Planning and Execution Strategy

  • National-Level Planning: National-level planning involves defining renewable energy goals, establishing regulatory frameworks, and providing financial incentives to promote renewable energy adoption. It also includes creating an enabling environment through supportive policies, such as feed-in tariffs, subsidies, and tax incentives.
  • State-Level Engagement: Engaging with States is vital as they have diverse contexts, priorities, and capabilities. State-level planning involves aligning national goals with State priorities and developing tailored strategies to address regional challenges and opportunities.
  • Regional and Local Implementation: Energy transition planning should extend to regional and local levels. This involves working closely with local communities, stakeholders, and authorities to ensure effective implementation of renewable energy projects.
  • Integration of Inter-Linkages: A multi-scale planning approach should consider inter-linkages between various sectors and dimensions of the energy transition. Identifying and leveraging these inter-linkages can enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the energy transition.
  • Capacity Building and Knowledge Exchange: A multi-scale strategy should prioritize capacity building and knowledge exchange across all levels. This includes providing training and support to State-level policymakers, energy officials, and local communities to enhance their understanding of renewable energy technologies, financing mechanisms, and implementation best practices.

Facts for prelims

THE PANCHAMRIT (The five-nectar-element commitments)

  • Indian Will take its non-fossil energy capacity to 500 GW by 2030.
  • Indian will meet 50 % of its energy requirements from renewable energy by 2030.
  • India will reduce the total projected carbon emissions by one billion tonnes from now till 2030.
  • By 2030, India will reduce the carbon intensity of its economy by less than 45 percent.
  • By the year 2070, India will achieve the target of net zero

Conclusion

  • Engaging with States is crucial for India’s energy transition as they act as key stakeholders in the implementation of national goals. A multi-scale approach that considers State-level contexts, priorities, and capabilities will pave the way for a successful transition. By establishing a State-level framework, analyzing inter-linkages, and understanding regional preparedness, India can expedite its energy transition, achieve its climate pledges, and create a more sustainable future

Also read:

[Burning Issue] Energy Security and Energy Transition

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Renewable Energy – Wind, Tidal, Geothermal, etc.

Energy Transition to Renewables: Challenges and the Way Ahead

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Clean energy solutions

Mains level: Energy crisis and Need of Transition towards renewables

Energy

Central Idea

  • Access to affordable and reliable energy is essential for economic development and public services. However, the global energy market has been disrupted due to demand and supply-side factors leading to rising prices and disruptions in energy supply chains. As a result, countries with a high dependence on fossil fuels, including India, faced a significant challenge.

The correlation: Energy availability and economic development

  • The correlation between energy availability and economic development is that energy availability and accessibility are essential inputs for many public services, and securing affordable and reliable access to energy remains a central political and economic imperative for almost all governments.
  • Energy availability and accessibility are necessary for economic growth and development, and a lack of access to energy can hamper the growth of industries, limit productivity, and impede social development.

Energy

Factors that contributed to the Global Energy Crisis

  • Demand and Supply-side Factors: There have been disruptions in the oil and gas supply chains due to the ongoing Russia and Ukraine war. Additionally, energy prices came under pressure due to a sudden rise in demand resulting from abnormally high temperatures and associated heatwaves across the globe. These factors inflated the international price of oil and natural gas.
  • Dependence on Finite Fossil Fuels: Fossil fuels account for over 80% of global energy requirements and over 64% of electricity generation worldwide. Additionally, most countries are net importers of fossil fuels, and thus prone to adverse supply shocks resulting from various geopolitical and economic events.
  • Overdependence on Fossil Fuels: Many countries turned to coal to meet their energy needs, while those already using coal intensified its exploitation, putting immense pressure on the coal market.
  • Increased Cost of Electricity: The increased cost of electricity due to a higher usage of fossil fuel-based sources imposed a heavy burden on low-income households since they spend a larger share of their incomes on electricity and gas.
  • Widespread Power Outages: Widespread power outages in many countries due to disruptions in electricity supply threw lives out of gear.
  • Dependence on Imported Fossil Fuels: Europe, for instance, faced a challenging situation due to its historic high dependence on imported gas from Russia to meet its energy requirements.
  • Climate Change: Fossil fuels account for 75% of global greenhouse gas emissions and around 90% of carbon dioxide emissions. Climate events, such as floods and droughts, cause immense human and economic loss.

Impact on countries

  • High energy prices: The increased cost of electricity due to a higher usage of fossil fuel-based sources imposes a heavy burden on low-income households since they spend a larger share of their incomes on electricity and gas.
  • Power outages: Widespread power outages in many countries due to disruptions in electricity supply throw lives out of gear. For instance, Bangladesh witnessed a countrywide blackout as many gas- and diesel-based power plants, responsible for approximately 85 percent of the country’s electricity generation, were forced to shut down due to fuel shortages.
  • Slowdown in economic growth: Increased prices and disrupted supply severely impacted those countries with a high dependence on fossil fuels, particularly its import, and led to a slowdown in global economic growth, forcing some countries and regions into recession.
  • Environmental degradation: Overdependence on fossil fuels impacts countries adversely in the form of air and water pollution and soil degradation, while also being a significant cause of climate change.
  • Foreign exchange reserves: The dependence on fossil fuels also affects countries’ foreign exchange reserves, as the fluctuations in prices of fossil fuels affect their import bills and balance of payments.
  • Revenue loss: Many regions and their economies, especially in developing countries, depend on incomes derived from fossil fuel-based employment, such as mining, power generation, transmission, and distribution and storage. In many regions, governments are also dependent on the revenue generated from fossil fuels to enhance infrastructure that enables local communities to expand and diversify their livelihood options.

Challenges in way of transition to renewable sources of energy

  • Mobilizing capital: While the cost of clean energy is declining, many clean energy technologies require high upfront investment costs, which may be beyond the capacities of most developing countries. Additionally, international support for developing countries is lacking, making it difficult for them to transition to renewable energy sources without supportive international actions.
  • Ensuring a just transition: There is a need to ensure decent work opportunities and social support for people likely to lose their livelihoods in the process of transitioning to low-carbon and renewable-based economies. Many people are employed in the fossil fuel industry globally, and there is a risk of destabilizing local economies during the transition process.
  • Technical challenges: The transition to renewable energy sources may require significant upgrades to infrastructure, including energy storage and transmission systems, which can be costly.
  • Policy and regulatory challenges: The transition to renewable energy sources requires significant policy and regulatory changes, including reforms to subsidy systems, pricing mechanisms, and energy markets.
  • Reliability and intermittency of renewable sources: Unlike fossil fuels, renewable energy sources are often intermittent, making it difficult to guarantee a stable supply of electricity. This may require investments in energy storage and backup power systems to ensure reliable supply.
  • Public acceptance: The transition to renewable energy sources may face resistance from some stakeholders, including those who are reliant on fossil fuels for their livelihoods or those who are concerned about the visual and environmental impacts of renewable energy infrastructure.

Energy

Way ahead: Addressing these challenges

  • Mobilizing capital: Developed countries need to fulfill their commitment to providing climate finance to developing countries. Innovative financial instruments such as green bonds and blended finance could also be used to attract private investment.
  • Ensuring a just transition: Governments need to develop comprehensive plans that protect workers and communities affected by the shift to renewable energy. This could involve retraining programs, investment in new industries, and social safety nets.
  • Investing in research and development: Governments, international organizations, and the private sector need to invest in research and development to drive down the costs of renewable energy technologies and improve their efficiency.
  • Promoting energy efficiency: Governments and businesses need to prioritize energy efficiency measures such as retrofitting buildings and improving industrial processes to reduce energy demand and costs.
  • Accelerating deployment of renewable energy: Governments need to set ambitious targets for renewable energy deployment and create policy frameworks that incentivize investment in clean energy.
  • Building energy infrastructure: Governments need to invest in building the infrastructure needed to support the deployment of renewable energy, including grid upgrades, energy storage, and electric vehicle charging stations.
  • Promoting international cooperation: The transition to renewable energy requires international cooperation, especially between developed and developing countries. Developed countries can support developing countries through technology transfer, capacity building, and financial support.

Facts for prelims

Distributed Renewable Energy (DRE)

  • DRE refers to the generation and distribution of electricity from renewable energy sources, such as solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, and biomass, through small-scale, decentralized systems.
  • These systems are often installed in remote or rural areas where it is difficult or expensive to connect to a centralized power grid.
  • DRE systems can range from individual rooftop solar panels to small-scale wind turbines, mini-hydro systems, and biomass generators.
  • They are typically designed to serve a single household or community, rather than a large urban or industrial center.
  • DRE systems are also known as off-grid or mini-grid systems, and they can be standalone or connected to a larger power grid.

Conclusion

  • The transition towards renewables is an attractive option for countries to hedge against the risks associated with fossil fuel-based energy sources. However, this requires access to affordable finance and international support to enable a just transition through on-the-job retraining programs, infrastructure investments, and so on. Access to affordable and reliable energy is crucial for sustainable economic development.

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your personal mentor for UPSC 2024 | Schedule your FREE session and get the Prelims prep Toolkit!

Also Read:

Lessons Learned: Transition To A Self-reliant Clean Energy System

 

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Renewable Energy – Wind, Tidal, Geothermal, etc.

Lessons Learned: Transition To A Self-reliant Clean Energy System

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: NA

Mains level: India's transition to a self-reliant clean energy system.

Central Idea

  • Lessons learned from the liberalization of upstream petroleum sector can guide India’s transition to a self-reliant clean energy system.

Background

  • In 1980, then-Prime Minister Indira Gandhi took a significant step in liberalizing the upstream petroleum sector in India. This move aimed to reduce the country’s reliance on external sources for petroleum and protect it from supply shocks. However, the liberalization did not bridge the gap between domestic demand and indigenous supply.
  • In 2020, Prime Minister Narendra Modi introduced the production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme to promote investment in minerals, components, and equipment required for the generation and consumption of clean energy. This decision was driven by the strategic imperative to transition to a self-reliant clean energy system and reduce dependence on external sources of energy.

Bridging the gap between demand and supply in the clean energy sector

  • Demand and supply gap: The liberalization of upstream petroleum did not bridge the gap between the domestic demand for petroleum and indigenous supply.
  • Capital is not enough: The clean energy sector must not presume that the availability of technical talent and capital will be enough to create a world-class hub for the manufacture of batteries, solar cells, wafers, and modules.

Efficient Implementation of Technology in Clean Energy Sector

  • India’s oil and gas producing average: The recovery rate of oil and gas from India’s producing fields has averaged between 25-30%, while fields of comparable geology across the world have a recovery rate between 40-60%.
  • China’s dominance in clean energy value chain: China’s dominance of the clean energy value chain is because its process engineers have perfected the implementation of the several technological steps required to convert raw material into end product.

Reduce entry barriers and improve business condition

  • India cannot compete on the size of the incentive package, and the endeavor should instead be to lower entry barriers, ease business conditions and remove the perception that India offers a high-cost operating environment.

India’s Dependency on External Market and Two-Track Policy with China

  • India remains dependent on the external market for supplies of petroleum, but the country should desist from building a high-cost, domestic, clean energy hub that is forever dependent on subsidies.
  • India should continue with its two-track policy and strengthen its trading relationship with China.

Conclusion

  • India can learn from the lessons of the last 40 years to transition to a self-reliant clean energy system. The country needs to focus on creating an enabling ecosystem, efficiently utilizing technology, and easing business conditions to attract international investment. India should focus on trading relationships and not build a high-cost, domestic clean energy hub dependent on subsidies.

Mains Question

Q. India’s clean energy sector has enormous potential for growth, however there is a gap between domestic demand and indigenous supply. What specific measures can India take to bridge this gap and emerge as global leader in renewable energy?

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Renewable Energy – Wind, Tidal, Geothermal, etc.

[pib] State Energy Efficiency Index, 2021-22

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: State Energy Efficiency Index

Mains level: Not Much

energy

The Union Minister of Power and New & Renewable Energy has released the report of State Energy Efficiency Index (SEEI) 2021-22.

State Energy Efficiency Index

  • The SEEI 2021-22 has been developed by Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) in collaboration with Alliance for an Energy Efficient Economy (AEEE).
  • SEEI 2021-22 consists of 50 indicators (common and programme-specific) spanning 7 sectors – buildings, industry, municipal services, transport, agriculture, DISCOMs, and cross-sector.
  • 36 states and union territories have been assessed for their energy efficiency progress in FY 2020- 21 and FY 2021-22 in SEEI 2021-22.
  • Based on their efforts and achievements, states have been classified as ‘Front runner’, ‘Achiever’, ‘Contender’, and ‘Aspirant’.

Highlights of the 2021-22 report

Category States
Front Runner (>60 points) Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Rajasthan, Telangana
Achiever (50-60 points) Assam, Haryana, Maharashtra, Punjab

 

Importance of SEEI

  • The SEEI improves data collection, enables cross-state collaboration, and develops energy efficiency program ideas.
  • It helps states identify areas for improvement, learn from best practices, and adopt an economy-wide approach to energy efficiency implementation.
  • By prioritizing energy efficiency, it aims at driving decarbonization efforts and achieving a more sustainable future.

Key recommendations of the report

The report outlines the following recommendations to help states drive change in EE which will contribute towards the fulfillment of SDGs and NDC:

  • Enabling fiscal assistance for energy efficiency in the focus sectors.
  • Developing institutional capacity in states and UTs to address emerging needs and challenges in energy efficiency implementation.
  • Enhancing cross-functional collaborations across financial institutions, energy service companies, and energy professionals in large-scale energy efficiency implementation in states.
  • Mainstreaming energy data reporting and monitoring across sectors.

Back2Basics: Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE)

  • BEE was established by the Government of India on 1st March 2002 under the provisions of the Energy Conservation Act, 2001.
  • The primary objective of BEE is to reduce the energy intensity of the Indian economy by developing policies and strategies based on self-regulation and market principles.
  • BEE coordinates with designated consumers, designated agencies, and other organizations to perform its functions under the Energy Conservation Act.
  • The Energy Conservation Act provides for both regulatory and promotional functions for BEE.
  • BEE’s role includes recognizing, identifying, and utilizing existing resources and infrastructure to promote energy conservation and efficiency.
  • It works towards driving energy efficiency policies and programs at the state and local level, enabling cross-state collaboration and developing energy efficiency program ideas.

 

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Renewable Energy – Wind, Tidal, Geothermal, etc.

Gravity-Operated Electricity Generation from Defunct Mines

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Read the attached story

Mains level: Utilizing defunct mines for RE generation

gravity

Central idea: Green Gravity is an Australian renewable energy company that has developed a unique scheme to generate electricity. The company’s plan involves using defunct mines, such as the Kolar Gold Fields (KGF) in Karnataka, India, to produce reliable and cost-effective renewable energy.

The breakthrough: Gravity-Operated Weighted Blocks

  • It uses a weighted block of up to 40 tonnes up to the top of a mine shaft using renewable power during the day when it is available.
  • When backup power is required, the heavy block will fall under gravity, powering a generator via a connected shaft or rotor.
  • The depth to which the block falls can be determined via a braking system, giving control over the amount of power produced.

Comparison to Pumped Hydropower Storage

  • Green Gravity’s approach is similar to the well-established approach of “pumped hydropower” storage.
  • In this approach, water is pumped upstream electrically into a reservoir and released downhill to move a turbine and produce electricity when needed.

Need for such technology

  • Renewable energy, such as solar and wind power, often faces the challenge of being unreliable during nights or windless days.
  • Charging a battery for backup power is very expensive and inefficient.

Advantages of Weighted Blocks over Water

  • Using weighted blocks instead of water means that decommissioned mines can be put to use, and the environmental costs and challenges of moving water up can be avoided.
  • This approach can also mean less reliance on coal-produced power and access to reliable power.

Potential Use in KGF

  • The Kolar Gold Fields in Karnataka, India, is an iconic but defunct gold mine that has the potential to be used for renewable energy production.
  • The weighted block apparatus could produce up to thousands of megawatt-hours of power from the mine’s deep shafts, some of which run nearly 3,000 metres.

 


Are you an IAS Worthy Aspirant? Get a reality check with the All India Smash UPSC Scholarship Test

Get upto 100% Scholarship | 900 Registration till now | Only 100 Slots Left

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Renewable Energy – Wind, Tidal, Geothermal, etc.

World’s 1st Sand Battery developed in Finland

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Sand Battery

Mains level: Not Much

sand

Finland has successfully installed the world’s first sand battery that can store heat from various energy sources for months.

What is the Sand Battery System?

  • The battery is a massive steel silo, 7 m tall and 4 m wide with 100 tonnes of sand, and was installed in Finland’s Kankaanpaa town in June 2022.
  • It is connected to the town’s centralised heating network that keeps buildings and public water systems warm.
  • The storage system has three main components:
  1. Sand silo,
  2. Electrical air heater, and
  3. Air-to-water heat exchanger

Working principle

  • For charging the sand silo, air is heated to 600°C in the electrical air heater.
  • The hot air is then circulated inside the silo using a heat-exchange pipe and blowers to raise the temperature of the sand at the silo’s core to 600°C.
  • When the storage enters the discharging stage, the blowers are used to pump air into the pipe inside the sand silo.
  • Once the air reaches 200°C, it is transferred to the air-to-water heat exchanger, where it is used to boil water.
  • It is then sent to the heating network.

Electricity Requirements and Capacity of the Battery

  • The storage system requires electricity at all times to charge the battery, monitor the temperature during standby, and run the blowers when the battery is used.
  • The installed battery can store 8 megawatt-hours (MWh) of energy and release heat at 0.1 MW, which is enough to provide heating and hot water for about 100 homes and a public swimming pool.

Advantages of Sand as a Heat Storage Material

  • The Finnish researchers replaced water with sand in the battery system because of its advantages.
  • Sand can be heated up to 600 degrees Celsius (°C), whereas water starts to boil at 100°C.
  • It also has low heat conductivity, which reduces energy loss.

Importance of Heat Energy

  • Heat accounts for half of the world’s energy use, followed by transport (30 per cent) and electricity (20 per cent), as per the International Energy Agency (IEA).
  • Currently, 80 per cent of the world’s energy comes from dirty fossil fuels.

 


Are you an IAS Worthy Aspirant? Get a reality check with the All India Smash UPSC Scholarship Test

Get upto 100% Scholarship | 900 Registration till now | Only 100 Slots Left

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Renewable Energy – Wind, Tidal, Geothermal, etc.

Distributed Renewable Energy (DRE) Transforming Rural Women’s Life

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Renewable Energy

Mains level: Distributed Renewable Energy and women , advantages and challenges

DRE

Central Idea

  • Women from rural India are adopting clean energy-based livelihood technologies to catalyse their businesses. From solar refrigerators to silk-reeling machines and biomass-based cold storage to bulk milk chillers, distributed renewable energy (DRE) is transforming women’s livelihoods at the grassroots.

What is Distributed Renewable Energy (DRE)?

  • DRE refers to the generation and distribution of electricity from renewable energy sources, such as solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, and biomass, through small-scale, decentralized systems.
  • These systems are often installed in remote or rural areas where it is difficult or expensive to connect to a centralized power grid.
  • DRE systems can range from individual rooftop solar panels to small-scale wind turbines, mini-hydro systems, and biomass generators.
  • They are typically designed to serve a single household or community, rather than a large urban or industrial center.
  • DRE systems are also known as off-grid or mini-grid systems, and they can be standalone or connected to a larger power grid.

Recent Statistics

  • More than 80% are women: A recent Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW) study has shown that out of the 13,000 early adopters of clean tech livelihood appliances, more than 80% are women.
  • Future projection: By 2030, India is expected to see 30 million women-owned micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) employing around 150 million people. DRE livelihood technologies a $50 billion market opportunity in India alone have the potential to transform rural livelihoods, with women at the core of this transition.

DRE

Advantages of DRE systems

  • Several advantages: They are more resilient to natural disasters and grid failures, they can reduce energy costs for communities and households, and they can increase energy access in areas that are not served by the main power grid.
  • Reduce carbon emissions: Additionally, DRE systems can reduce carbon emissions and help to mitigate the impacts of climate change.
  • DRE advantages for women: DRE-powered technologies provide an additional advantage to women farmers and microentrepreneurs by enhancing income opportunities through mechanization. They also free women from several gender-assigned manual activities that are laborious.

DRE

Steps to scale up this impact

  • Leverage the experience of early women adopters: The technology providers must leverage early users to share their experiences with potential customers, becoming demo champions/sales agents to market these products, based on their first-hand product experience and local credibility.
  • For example: Kissan Dharmbir, an energy-efficient food processor manufacturer, engaged Neetu Tandan, an Agra-based micro-entrepreneur using the processor to produce fruit squashes and jams, as a demo champion. Her demonstrations are generating sales leads.
  • Organise hyperlocal events and demos: These events also create spaces for women to network, become aware of the product and connect with people who can help them procure, finance and use these machines.
  • For example: At an event in Hamirpur, Uttar Pradesh, more than 200 women booked seven appliances on the spot, including solar sewing machines and multi-purpose food processors.
  • Enable easy finance to purchase products: Limited avenues to avail financing for these clean technology products remain a bottleneck. Financiers supporting women farmers and microentrepreneurs should consider the technologies themselves as collaterals while easing the loan application process.
  • For example: Samunnati Finance, a financier in the agri-value chain, availed an 80% first-loan default guarantee to support six women-led FPOs in Andhra Pradesh that purchased 100-kg solar dryers.
  • Support backwards and forward market linkages: Only technology provision is not enough in all cases. Many rural products have larger market potential. Thus, finding and connecting producers to consumption hubs in urban areas are equally important to generate higher incomes.
  • Ensure adequate after-sales services buy backs: Technology manufacturers and promoters should also ensure adequate after-sales services and buy-backs. To build financiers’ confidence, evidence on the economic viability of these technologies should be shared and promoters must offer partial default guarantees.
  • Enable policy convergence: No private sector entity has the kind of reach and scale government institutions have, so leveraging their reach is imperative to exponentially scale up. Multiple Ministries are working towards promoting livelihoods for women from State rural livelihood missions, horticulture and agriculture departments, Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, to the Ministry of Textiles. They should embrace clean energy solutions to further their respective programmes and outcomes.

What are the challenges that women face?

  • Perception of high risk: The high starting price and newness of DRE appliances can create a perception of high risk, particularly for women users who may have a lower risk appetite due to socio-economic factors.
  • Low belief: Due to historical limitations on women’s access to new information, people tend to want to physically touch and see high-tech, high-priced DRE products before believing in their ability and promised benefits.
  • Limited network: Women often struggle with established market linkages because of their limited mobility and networks outside their villages.

DRE

Conclusion

  • Much like it takes a village to raise a child, scaling the impact of clean energy solutions on women’s livelihoods needs a village of policymakers, investors, financiers, technology promoters and other ecosystem enablers. Only then can we truly unlock the potential of rural women and clean technologies simultaneously.

Mains question

Q. What do you understand by Distributed Renewable Energy (DRE)? What is to be done scale up this impact from thousands of women to millions of them?

Attempt UPSC 2024 Smash Scholarship Test | FLAT* 100% OFF on UPSC Foundation & Mentorship programs

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Renewable Energy – Wind, Tidal, Geothermal, etc.

India plans to export Solar Power

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: NA

Mains level: Solar energy promotion and export

solar

Central idea: The article states that the Ministry for New and Renewable Energy is working towards increasing the production of solar modules in the country, with the goal of making India a net exporter of solar modules by 2026.

How can India be a net exporter of solar energy?

  • Increased manufacturing of PV modules: By 2026, Indian industry will be able to manufacture solar modules worth 100 gigawatts (GW) annually, and help the country be a net exporter of solar power.
  • Increased installation capacity: This would significantly aid India’s target of installing 500 GW of electricity capacity from non-fossil sources by 2030.

Issues with solar power sector

Ans. Reduced capacity

  • Slow pace: India had planned to install 175 GW of renewable energy by December 2022, including 100 GW of solar power, but has only achieved 122 GW, with solar power accounting for only 62 GW.
  • Huge cost: A key bottleneck has been the cost of solar modules (or panels).
  • Regressive import duties: While India has traditionally relied on China-made components such as poly-silicon wafers, necessary to make modules, higher customs duty on them has shrunk supply. This was done to make equivalent India-manufactured components more competitive.

Motive behind export promotion

  • Surplus generation: India need about 30-40 GW for our domestic purposes annually and the rest can be used for export.
  • Manufacturing boost: PLI scheme for polysilicone manufacturing is in place are designed to encourage the manufacturers of ingots and wafers in India.

What obstructs solar power growth in India?

Ans. Land crunch

  • Apart from module prices, land acquisition has been a major challenge for solar power manufacturers.
  • Despite the Centre commissioning 57 large solar parks worth 40 GW in recent years, only 10 GW have been operationalized.
  • Installing a megawatt of solar power requires on average four acres of land. So various developers face challenges in acquiring it and that’s one reason for the delay.

Various initiatives for solar energy in India

  • International Solar Alliance (ISA): India, along with France, launched the ISA in 2015, a global platform to promote the use of solar energy.
  • Solar Parks: The government has set up Solar Parks to provide land and infrastructure to developers for the installation of solar power projects.
  • Rooftop Solar Program: The government has launched a rooftop solar program to promote the installation of solar panels on rooftops of residential and commercial buildings.
  • Incentives and subsidies: The government has provided various incentives and subsidies to promote the adoption of solar energy, including tax exemptions, accelerated depreciation, and subsidies for capital costs.

Way forward

India has significant potential to become a major exporter of solar power. Here are some steps that can be taken to promote solar power export by India:

  • Increase domestic production: To promote solar power export, India needs to increase domestic production of solar panels and equipment. This can be achieved by providing incentives and subsidies to domestic manufacturers, reducing import duties on raw materials, and investing in research and development.
  • Focus on quality: Indian manufacturers need to focus on producing high-quality solar panels and equipment that can compete with products from other countries. The government can establish quality standards and certification programs to ensure that Indian-made products meet international quality standards.
  • Develop infrastructure: India needs to develop a robust infrastructure to support the export of solar power, including transportation, storage, and transmission facilities. The government can provide support for the development of this infrastructure, such as funding and regulatory support.
  • Partner with other countries: India can partner with other countries to promote the export of solar power. The International Solar Alliance, of which India is a founding member, can play a key role in this regard.
  • Expand market access: India needs to expand market access for its solar power products by signing trade agreements with other countries and participating in international exhibitions and events. The government can also provide support for Indian companies to participate in trade fairs and exhibitions abroad.

By implementing these measures, India can promote the export of solar power and become a key player in the global solar energy market.

 

Attempt UPSC 2024 Smash Scholarship Test | FLAT* 100% OFF on UPSC Foundation & Mentorship programs

Get your Rs 10,000 worth of UPSC Strategic Package for FREE | PDFs, Zoom session, Tests, & Mentorship

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Renewable Energy – Wind, Tidal, Geothermal, etc.

India- Nordic can be the powerhouse of the green transition globally

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: NA

Mains level: India- Nordic cooperation for Green transition

Nordic

Context

  • Over the last decades, Nordic countries have been pioneering in green technologies. Over the last decades, Nordic have also been at the forefront of developing new green technologies and solutions such as hydrogen, offshore wind, batteries and carbon capture and storage solutions that are essential for the world to succeed in the green transition it desperately needs. Together, the Nordics and India can deliver key technologies and solutions to stop climate change and boost green growth.

Crack Prelims 2023! Talk to our Rankers

Nordic

India- Nordic connect

  • Nordic-India Summit: At the Nordic-India Summit held in Copenhagen in May 2022, the five Nordic Prime Ministers and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi agreed to intensify cooperation on digitalisation, renewable energy, maritime industries, and the circular economy.
  • Joint Nordic solutions for green transition: Modi expressed an interest in joint Nordic solutions that can support India’s green transition.
  • Knowledge exchange and cooperation: It is very much with this in mind that, the Trade Ministers of Norway and Finland, are currently visiting India together During their visit, they aim to showcase the added value to the partnership can bring to India and learn from the impressive innovations and digital solutions being developed in India.
  • Ambition to increase collaboration: They have business delegations and companies that are leaders within sectors such as clean energy, circular economy, digitalisation, tourism, and the maritime sector. They have great ambitions for increased collaboration with India.
  • Nordic business community in India is also growing: The most valued and renowned Nordic businesses are already operating in India and have made substantial investments. There are now 240 Norwegian and Finnish companies in India.

Nordic

Trade links that can grow

  • India a priority country for Finland: The past year has seen a significant rise in trade and investments between Finland and India, and India has grown to become a priority country for Finland.
  • For instance: Finland opened a new consulate General in Mumbai. This further increases the number of Nordic representations in India’s commercial capital and will contribute to strengthening India-Finnish ties.
  • Trade between Norway and India has doubled in the last three years: Finnish companies such as Nokia and Fortum see India as their largest growth market now and have some of their most significant investments in India. The Norwegian Sovereign Wealth Fund is likely to become one of India’s largest single foreign investors (around $17.6 billion).
  • Number of investments is increasing rapidly: The Norwegian government has also recently established a new Climate Investment Fund for investments in renewables abroad, and India has been declined as a focus country. Almost ₹1,500 crore have been invested so far in India through the climate investment fund, and the number of investments is increasing rapidly.

Nordic

Untapped potential for trade and further collaboration

  • Finland, as a member of the European Union (EU), is a part of the EU-India FTA negotiations, and Norway is negotiating through the European Free Trade Association.
  • Trade in services is an area of significant potential, especially with tourism, education, IT, energy, maritime and financial services.
  • As India takes rapid strides into a green, digital, and innovative future, Nordic countries such as Finland and Norway stand ready to share experiences and be a part of India’s transition.

Conclusion

  • Although Nordic countries are significantly smaller than India population-wise and a located on the other side of the globe, they have world-leading technologies and expertise to other. Technologies and innovations that are successful and are scaled-up in India can easily be transferred to other parts of the world. Together, the Nordics and India can be the powerhouse of the green transition globally.

Mains question

Q. Over the last decades, Nordic countries have been pioneering in green technologies. Together, the Nordics and India can power the green transition the world needs. Discuss.

(Click) FREE 1-to-1 on-call Mentorship by IAS-IPS officers | Discuss doubts, strategy, sources, and more

 

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Renewable Energy – Wind, Tidal, Geothermal, etc.

Micro hydro systems: An alternative source of energy

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Hydropower projects and locations, and Micro hydro systems,

Mains level: Hydropower Projects in fragile Himalayan region and alternatives

hydro

Context

  • The crisis unfolding in Joshimath for over a month has led to conversations on the relevance of hydropower in the Himalayan region. Two years ago, a glacier burst led to question marks over the Rishiganga hydroelectric project in Uttarakhand.

What is hydropower

  • Hydropower generates electricity from the natural flow of water without releasing any emissions or pollutants. It also does not rely on fossil fuels. Therefore, it is often considered green energy.

hydro

Hydropower Projects in Himalayan region

  • The Himalaya are a major water source for much of South Asia: Most countries in the region, including India, China, Nepal, Bhutan, and Pakistan, have built or are planning to build hydropower projects in the Himalaya.
  • Hydropower one of the key renewable energy sources of India: In India, the government has identified hydropower as a key renewable energy source. Many hydropower projects are under construction or in the planning stages in the Indian Himalaya, including the Subansiri Lower Hydroelectric Project in Arunachal Pradesh and the Teesta Low Dam Hydroelectric Project in Sikkim.
  • Nepal has also identified hydropower as a major source of energy: Nepal has many hydropower projects in the planning and development stages, including the Arun III Hydroelectric Project and the West Seti Hydroelectric Project.
  • Main source of revenue for Bhutan: In Bhutan, hydropower is the main source of revenue, and the government has set a target to export surplus electricity to India. The country has built several hydropower projects, including the Chukha Hydropower Project and the Tala Hydropower Project.

hydro

Concerns about the potential conflicts over water resources in the region

  • Fragile ecosystem of Himalaya already under stress: The Himalaya is a fragile ecosystem and home to a diverse range of flora and fauna. It is already threatened by deforestation, overgrazing, and construction activities that harm the environment and local communities that depend on it.
  • Construction of dams can disrupt the characteristics of river flow: The construction of dams can disrupt the flow of rivers, leading to changes in water temperature and chemistry. It can also cause erosion, landslides, and sedimentation which can have a negative impact on the local environment.
  • Construction disrupts well-being of the local population: Dams also disrupt the migration patterns of fish and other aquatic species and impact the local wildlife, particularly if the dam’s construction leads to habitat loss. Large-scale hydroelectric dams displace local communities, affecting their livelihoods and cultural heritage and impacting the overall well-being of the local population.

hydro

Micro hydro systems as an alternative to hydropower

  • Micro hydro system of 100 kilowatts (kW): It is a small-scale hydroelectric power generation system that typically generates up to 100 kilowatts (kW) of electricity.
  • Applications: These systems use the energy of falling water to turn a turbine, which, in turn, generates electricity. They can be used for various applications, including powering homes, businesses, and small communities.
  • Less expensive and smaller environmental footprint: They are typically less expensive to build and maintain than large hydroelectric dams and have a smaller environmental footprint.
  • Can be located at inaccessible areas: They can be located even in inaccessible areas where it is difficult to transmit electricity from larger power stations, and they can provide a reliable source of energy to communities that are not connected to the grid.
  • Two types : Micro hydro systems can be classified into two main types i.e., run-of-river and storage systems. 1. Run-of-river systems use the natural flow of water in a stream or river to generate electricity. 2. In contrast, storage systems use a reservoir to store water and release it as needed to generate electricity.

hydro

Conclusion

  • The environmental impact of hydropower can vary depending on projects and the ways in which they are implemented. Micro hydro systems can be tailored to minimize the ecosystem’s negative impact and provide sustainable energy solutions. However, it also can have some impact on the environment and local communities. A detailed assessment should be carried out to evaluate the potential impact before proceeding with the project.

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Renewable Energy – Wind, Tidal, Geothermal, etc.

India’s first Waste-to-Hydrogen Project

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: India’s First Waste-to-Hydrogen Project

Mains level: Hydrogen Energy

Hydrogen

Context

  • India assumed the Presidency of the Group of 20 this December. The world’s third largest emitter is moving beyond a transition strategy based squarely on solar development by branching out into emerging fields such as hydrogen.

Present Energy status and future Predictions

  • Only country to keep promise: India is one of the few countries that has kept to its Paris Agreement (21st Conference of Parties or COP21 to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) commitments, with an exponential increase in renewable energy capacity.
  • Energy through renewables: It is anticipated that by 2050, 80-85 per cent of India’s overall power capacity will come from renewables by achieving the nationally determined contributions commitments.
  • Reducing the fossil fuel: India had committed to increasing the share of non-fossil fuels to 40 per cent of the total electricity generation capacity by 2030.

Hydrogen

Potential of hydrogen energy

  • 6 million tonnes hydrogen: India consumes about six million tonnes of hydrogen annually to produce ammonia and methanol in industrial sectors, including fertilisers and refineries.
  • Rising demand of hydrogen: This could increase to 28 million tonnes by 2050, principally due to the rising demand from the industry.

Efforts to promote Green Hydrogen

  • Search for technology to generate: Ever since the Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) shared that it is time for green hydrogen, private players have been looking for new technologies to generate it.
  • Electrolyser is inefficient: With the challenges of electrolyser capacity for generating green hydrogen globally, finding alternatives to foster green hydrogen in the country is essential.
  • Incentives from central government: The central government, the prime facilitator of such projects, has been coming up with new initiatives, policies and schemes to unleash the potential of green hydrogen generation and boost its demand.
  • Rational utilization of resources: The long-term low-emission development strategy of the country submitted to UNFCCC at COP27 focused on the rational utilisation of national resources for energy security in a just, smooth and sustainable manner.

Idea proposed by Pune Municipal Commission

  • Partnership with private player: PMC has partnered with business management consultant The Green Billions (TGBL) to manage its waste and generate it into useable green hydrogen. TGBL’s special purpose vehicle or subsidiary, Variate Pune Waste to Energy Private Ltd, will be undertaking the work.
  • Waste management: The new facility for generating hydrogen from waste will solve major problems of Inefficient waste management and carbon emissions. Waste management is one of the prime issues in the country, which is blamed for generating pollution in the surroundings.
  • Reducing carbon emissions: Pune, the second largest city in Maharashtra, hosts many industries, including steel, fertilisers and pharmaceutical industries. The emissions in the city increased by 12 per cent to 1.64-tonne carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2Eq) per capita in 2017 from 1.46 tonne tCO2Eq per capita in 2012.

Hydrogen

How Hydrogen will be generated?

  • Hydrogen generation for 30 years: Variate Pune Waste to Energy Private Ltd will be managing and utilising the municipal waste of 350 tonnes per day (TPD) for generating hydrogen for 30 years. This waste will comprise biodegradable, non-biodegradable and domestic hazardous waste.
  • Plasma gasification technology: The Refuse-Derived Fuel (RDF) from the waste would later be utilised to generate hydrogen using plasma gasification technology. The technology has been developed while closely working with the Bhabha Atomic Research Institute (BARC) and the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru.
  • 9MT Tonnes of H2: It is estimated that 150TPD RDF and 9MT tonnes of H2 would be generated out of 350 TPD waste.
  • Decarbonising the city: The hydrogen generated at the facility will be utilised locally to help the city lower its emissions. As the Centre is focusing on industrial decarbonisation and facing the challenges of just transition, the project can prove to be a game-changer in helping industries reduce carbon emissions.

Hydrogen

Conclusion

  • In India, where the hydrogen industry is nascent, it is imperative to keep the cost of hydrogen competitive to expand its usage in various sectors. TGBL will work on the same by making hydrogen affordable and easier to switch in the just-transition.

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Renewable Energy – Wind, Tidal, Geothermal, etc.

Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion Plant in Lakshadweep

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: OTEC technology

Mains level: Renewable Energy in India

The National Institute of Ocean Technology is establishing an Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) plant with a capacity of 65 kilowatts (kW) in Kavaratti, the capital of Lakshadweep.

What is OTEC Plant?

  • Ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC) is a process or technology for producing energy by harnessing the temperature differences (thermal gradients) between ocean surface waters and deep ocean waters.
  • Energy from the sun heats the surface water of the ocean.
  • In tropical regions, surface water can be much warmer than deep water.
  • This temperature difference can be used to produce electricity and to desalinate ocean water.

How do they work?

  • The OTEC technology uses the temperature difference between the cold water in the deep sea (5°C) and the warm surface seawater (25°C) to generate clean, renewable electricity.
  • The technology requires a minimum of 20°C difference between the surface and deep ocean temperatures.
  • Warm surface water is pumped through an evaporator containing a working fluid. The vaporized fluid drives a turbine/generator.
  • The vaporized fluid is turned back to a liquid in a condenser cooled with cold ocean water pumped from deeper in the ocean.
  • OTEC systems using seawater as the working fluid can use the condensed water to produce desalinated water.

 

UPSC 2023 countdown has begun! Get your personal guidance plan now! (Click here)

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Renewable Energy – Wind, Tidal, Geothermal, etc.

A five-point plan to boost renewable energy

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: Paper 3- Transition to renewable

Context

As the fallout of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine ripples across the globe, the response of some nations to the growing energy crisis has been to double down on fossil fuels, pouring billions more dollars into the coal, oil and gas that are deepening the climate emergency.

Need for transition to renewable energy

  • Fossil fuels are the cause of the climate crisis.
  • Renewable energy can limit climate disruption and boost energy security. Renewables are the peace plan of the 21st century.
  • But the battle for a rapid and just energy transition is not being fought on a level field.
  • Investors are still backing fossil fuels, and governments still hand out billions in subsidies for coal, oil and gas — about $11 million every minute.
  • The only true path to energy security, stable power prices, prosperity and a livable planet lies in abandoning polluting fossil fuels and accelerating the renewables-based energy transition.
  • We must reduce emissions by 45 per cent by 2030 and reach net-zero emissions by mid-century.
  • But current national commitments will lead to an increase of almost 14 per cent this decade.
  • Reducing cost:  The cost of solar energy and batteries has plummeted 85 per cent over the past decade.
  • The cost of wind power fell by 55 per cent. And investment in renewables creates three times more jobs than fossil fuels.
  • Nature-based solutions: Of course, renewables are not the only answer to the climate crisis.
  • Nature-based solutions, such as reversing deforestation and land degradation, are essential.
  • So too are efforts to promote energy efficiency.
  • But a rapid renewable energy transition must be our ambition.

Five point plan to boost renewable

  • 1] Renewable energy technology as global good: We must make renewable energy technology a global public good, including removing intellectual property barriers to technology transfer.
  • 2] Improve global access: We must improve global access to supply chains for renewable energy technologies, components and raw materials.
  • In 2020, the world installed five gigawatts of battery storage.
  • We need 600 gigawatts of storage capacity by 2030.
  • Shipping bottlenecks and supply-chain constraints, as well as higher costs for lithium and other battery metals, are hurting the deployment of such technologies and materials.
  • 3] Fast-tracking : We must cut the red tape that holds up solar and wind projects.
  • We need fast-track approvals and more effort to modernise electricity grids.
  • 4] Shifting energy subsidies: The world must shift energy subsidies from fossil fuels to protect vulnerable people from energy shocks and invest in a just transition to a sustainable future.
  • Increase investment in renewables: We need to triple investments in renewables.
  • This includes multilateral development banks and development finance institutions, as well as commercial banks.

Conclusion

When energy prices rise, so do the costs of food and all the goods we rely on. So, let us all agree that a rapid renewables revolution is necessary and stop fiddling while our future burns.

UPSC 2022 countdown has begun! Get your personal guidance plan now! (Click here)

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Renewable Energy – Wind, Tidal, Geothermal, etc.

Unlocking the potential of green hydrogen

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Grey hydrogen and green hydrogen

Mains level: Paper 3- Green hydrogen

Context

The ongoing tensions between Russia and Ukraine have led to the prices of crude oil shooting to $130/barrel. Green hydrogen is an emerging option that will help reduce India’s vulnerability to such price shocks.

Four deficiencies in Renewable Energy Technologies

  • 1] Intermittent nature of RE: RE can only be generated intermittently.
  • Battery technology cannot store electricity at a grid scale.
  • 2] Financial viability: There are question marks on the financial viability of green power.
  • In India, renewable electricity is a replacement for coal-based power, the cheapest form of energy.
  • That’s a big constraint on its viability.
  • Moreover, the customers of this power – the state distribution companies – are collectively insolvent.
  • A business cannot prosper if its primary customers are not financially viable.
  • 3] Batteries are not suitable for heavy trucks: While electric cars and two-wheelers get a lot of visibility, much of India’s oil is burnt in heavy trucks.
  • Lithium batteries are not viable for trucks.
  • 4] Critical minerals: Electric vehicles require large quantities of lithium and cobalt that India lacks.
  • These minerals also have very concentrated supply chains that are vulnerable to disruptions.
  • Large-scale investments in electric vehicles may create unsustainable dependencies for the country.

Is green hydrogen a solution?

  • Intermittent hydrogen in the energy mix can help circumvent some of these problems.
  • Hydrogen is an important industrial gas and is used on a large scale in petroleum refining, steel, and fertiliser production.
  • As of now, the hydrogen used in these industries is grey hydrogen, produced from natural gas.
  • Green hydrogen produced using renewable energy can be blended with grey hydrogen.
  • This will allow the creation of a substantial green hydrogen production capacity, without the risk that it may become a stranded asset.
  • Creating this hydrogen capacity will provide experience in handling the gas at a large scale and the challenges involved.
  • Blending with CNG: To widen the use of green hydrogen, it can be blended with compressed natural gas (CNG), widely used as a fuel for vehicles in Delhi, Mumbai and some other cities.
  • This will partly offset the need for imported natural gas and also help flag off the challenges of creating and distributing hydrogen at a national level.
  • By bringing down the price of green hydrogen sufficiently, India can help unlock some stranded assets.
  • The country has close to 25,000 megawatts of gas-fired power generation capacity that operates at a very low-capacity utilisation level. The high price of natural gas reduces the viability of such electricity.
  • These plants could use hydrogen blended with natural gas. Hydrogen should, however, be used to generate electricity after it has served its utility in other avenue.

Way forward

  • To catalyse a hydrogen economy, India needs some specialist players to execute projects as well as finance them.
  • Participation of private players: Apart from government-backed players, the hydrogen economy will need private sector participation.
  • India’s start-up sector, with over 75 unicorns, is perhaps the most vibrant part of the country’s economy currently.
  • This ecosystem has been enabled by a mix of factors, including the presence of entrepreneurs with ideas and investors who are willing to back up these ideas
  • Creation of refueling network: One challenge of using new transport fuels, whether CNG or electric vehicles, is the creation of large-scale refuelling networks.
  • Bringing hydrogen vehicles on the road too soon will require the creation of yet another set of infrastructure.
  • Building fleets of hydrogen-fueled vehicles for gated infrastructure can be a good starting point.
  • Airports, ports and warehouses, for instance, use a large number of vehicles such as forklifts, cranes, trucks, tractors and passenger vehicles.

Conclusion

The government’s Green Hydrogen Policy sends the right signals about its intent. It now needs to ensure that investment can freely come into this space.

UPSC 2022 countdown has begun! Get your personal guidance plan now! (Click here)

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Renewable Energy – Wind, Tidal, Geothermal, etc.

Tariff problem of renewable energy

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: COP26

Mains level: Paper 3- Power generation tariff issue

Context

We need to shift to a two-part tariff for solar and wind to incentivise private investments.

Background of power generation tariff in India

  • The two-part tariff has been in vogue since 1992.
  • It applies to thermal and hydro generation.
  • 1] Fixed component: The first part is a fixed component – the cost that a generator incurs.
  • This is not linked to the amount of power generated.
  • 2] Variable component: The second part varies with the quantum of generation.
  • It does not apply to renewable generation — solar, wind, and also nuclear.
  • Under the two-part formula, the variable cost is calculated on the basis prescribed by the regulatory commissions.
  • This is based on the cost of fuel — coal or gas or lignite — as the case may be.
  • The fixed cost is also determined by regulatory commissions and it has a graded payment system depending on the extent to which the plant would be in a position to generate.
  • The point here is that when a generator is in a position to generate, it gets to recover the fixed cost (or some part of it), irrespective of whether it actually generates power.

Single-part tariff for nuclear, wind and solar

  • In contrast, solar and wind generation and also nuclear are still governed by a single-part tariff.
  • The single-part tariff applies to nuclear power stations for various reasons including the fact that given the technology, a nuclear generator does not usually increase/decrease the generation at a quick tempo, but maintains a steady stream.
  • In any case, nuclear power accounts for only about two per cent of the entire generation, so let’s leave it aside.
  • On the other hand, solar and wind generation account for about 10 per cent of the generation today and going by the statement delivered during COP26 in Glasgow, we want to ramp it up to 50 per cent by 2030.

Issues with single-part tariff for wind

  • Must run status: The renewable sector has been given a “must run” status.
  • This means that any generation from renewables needs to be dispatched first.
  • The problem is that “must run” runs counter to the basic economic theory that in order to minimise total cost, dispatch should commence from the source offering the cheapest variable cost and then move upwards.
  • With a single-part tariff, whenever the renewable generator is asked to back down for maintaining grid balance, it is paid nothing.
  • With a single part tariff for renewable generation, the entire cost is variable and at Rs 2.5 per unit for solar generation, it is not the cheapest source.
  • There are several NTPC coal-fired pit head plants whose variable costs are far lower, for example, Simhadri (Rs 1.36), Korba (Rs 1.36), Sipat (Rs 1.43).
  • For the older solar plants, the tariff could be well above Rs 3 per unit and for wind-based generation, it is even higher, averaging around Rs 4.5 per unit.
  • Therefore, the SLDCs often flout the principle of “must run”, since the distribution companies would save money by asking the renewable generator to back down while keeping the tap on for a coal-based generation.

Solution

  • Two-part tariff for solar: The solution to this problem is to apply a two-part tariff for solar and wind generators as we do for hydro plants today.
  • Lowest variable cost: The overriding principle is that the percentage allocated as variable cost should ensure that renewable generation has the lowest variable cost so that there is no violation of the “must-run” principle.
  • At the same time, the fixed cost component should not be kept so high that it hurts the consumers. 
  • A fine balance between the proportion of the fixed and variable costs will have to be maintained.
  • It would also ensure a certain minimum return to developers even if they are not generating during certain hours, as in the case of coal and hydro plants.
  • Proper environment: If we are serious about having a renewable generating capacity of 450-500 GW by 2030, we need to create a proper environment and ensure adequate returns to invite fresh investments into renewable generation.

Conclusion

The switch from a single to a two-part tariff structure for renewables has to be made right now as we are at the cusp of ramping up our renewable generation and it takes time for matters to get streamlined as we have seen in the past.

UPSC 2022 countdown has begun! Get your personal guidance plan now! (Click here)

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Renewable Energy – Wind, Tidal, Geothermal, etc.

Renewable Purchase Obligations (RPO).

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: REC, RPO

Mains level: Renewable Energy in India

Telangana CM in harsh words has criticized the Prime Minister over Renewable Purchase Obligations (RPO).

Why such a gesture by Telangana CM?

  • Telangana has been particularly vocal about the “increasing burden” forced upon states by the Centre on account of the clean energy cess imposed on coal and the RPOs (Renewable Purchase Obligation).

What are RPOs?

  • Renewable Energy Certificates (REC) is a policy instrument to catalyze the development of renewable energy.
  • It is a market-based mechanism that will help the states meet their regulatory requirements (such as RPOs) by overcoming the geographical constraints on existing renewable potential in different states.
  • Under RPO, power distribution companies purchase a certain percentage of their requirements from renewable energy sources.

REC Mechanism

  • REC mechanism is a market-based instrument to promote renewable energy and facilitate compliance of renewable purchase obligations (RPO).
  • It is aimed at addressing the mismatch between availability of RE resources in state and the requirement of the obligated entities to meet the RPO.
  • 1 REC is treated as equivalent to 1 MWh.

How many types of RECs are there?

There are two categories of RECs, viz., solar RECs and non-solar RECs.

  1. Solar RECs are issued to eligible entities for the generation of electricity based on solar as a renewable energy source.
  2. Non-solar RECs are issued to eligible entities for the generation of electricity based on renewable energy sources other than solar.

Issues highlighted by Telangana

  • Mandatory purchase: The CM has raised the issue of mandatory purchase of renewables reducing the Plant Load Factor (PLF) for existing thermal power projects.
  • Only solar RPO: The CM questioned the mandate to procure a certain percentage of power from solar energy noting that Telangana had hydropower projects producing over 2,500 MW of power from rivers.
  • Not all states have ample renewables: States have thus far not been able to meet RPO targets, with over a dozen states and UTs achieving less than 60% of RPOs.
  • Penalty for non-compliance: There is a (small) penalty for not meeting RPO obligations. The Centre has proposed to increase penalties on states for non-compliance with RPOs in the draft electricity amendment bill.

Clarification from the centre

  • States were free to hold their own bids and buy green energy from any developer instead of procuring power based on bids by the SECI.
  • They can choose to have their own bids.

 

 

UPSC 2022 countdown has begun! Get your personal guidance plan now! (Click here)

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Renewable Energy – Wind, Tidal, Geothermal, etc.

The consequences of an ill-considered green strategy

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: Paper 3- Issues with rapid transition to green energy

Context

Europe’s push for renewable energy at the cost of conventional fuel may end up causing a global food crisis.

Consequences of fuel shortage in Western Europe

  • Since August 2021, Western Europe has faced a problem with renewable energy – the wind doesn’t always blow when needed and the sun doesn’t always shine.
  • Commodity markets across the world operate on a balance of demand and supply — even seemingly “small” changes in either side of a few percentage points can push the prices up or down sharply.
  • High energy bills: Higher gas prices have pushed up energy bills for households and are expected to impact household spending and consumption as well.
  • High urea prices: Natural gas is used to produce urea – if gas prices go up, fertiliser also becomes expensive.
  •  Some poor and middle-income countries are already starting to face problems of fertiliser availability — there are reports from several Indian states as well. 
  • High food prices: The impact of expensive fertiliser will be felt some months down the line as expensive fertiliser and reduced harvests push up food prices.
  • India is relatively less affected as the share of natural gas in the country’s energy mix is low but will still face problems due to high food prices.
  • In 2007-08, when oil prices were high, there was a push to use “biofuels” led by the US and Europe.
  •  The effects of the 2008 food price crisis were felt around the world, especially by the poor.

Lessons for India

  • Cheap and reliable energy sources should not be abandoned until the alternatives have been stringently stress tested.
  • India will be especially hard hit if oil prices spike as it imports close to 1.4 billion barrels of oil annually.

Consider the question “What are the inherent dangers in rapid transition to the green energy? Suggest the way forward for India.”

Conclusion

A blind push to shut down traditional sources of energy and move to less reliable “clean” energy can have second and third order effects.

UPSC 2022 countdown has begun! Get your personal guidance plan now! (Click here)

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Renewable Energy – Wind, Tidal, Geothermal, etc.

Preparing for a green energy shift in 2022

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: Paper 3- Challenges in transition to clean energy

Context

Political leaders find themselves currently amid a messy reality. The seemingly “irresistible force” for clean energy has met, it would appear, the “immovable object” of an embedded fossil fuel energy system.

Changes in the energy sector in 2021

  • Commitment to Net-zero: One hundred and thirty-three countries pledged to a “net-zero carbon emissions date” and most governments, corporates and civic entities have shown determination to “phase down” and eventually phase out fossil fuels from their energy basket.
  • Price volatility: The petroleum market seesawed and was expectedly volatile.
  • High price: Natural gas prices reached stratospheric levels as demand exceeded supplies and geopolitics compounded the imbalance. 

Five trends that will shape the emergent energy landscape

[1] Transition to clean energy will be long and expensive

  • Redesign and rebuilding: The fossil fuel-based economic system will have to be redesigned and, in parts, rebuilt for clean energy to achieve scale.
  • The process will take decades and require massive capital infusion.
  • No country or multilateral institution can finance this transition individually.
  • The world needs to collaborate: The world will have to collaborate and if it fails to do so, the financing deficit will push back the transition even further.

[2] Fossil fuels will dominate the energy basket during the transition

  • Fossil fuels will dominate the energy basket during this transition phase.
  • Contributing factors: As has been the case so far, its market will be defined by the “fundamentals” of demand, supply and geopolitics and the “non-fundamentals” of exchange rates and speculative trade.
  • The price movements will be sharp, volatile and unexpected.

[3] The resurgence of market influence of OPEC plus after private companies move beyond fossil fuel

  • The “ OPEC plus” will resurge in market influence.
  • The low-cost, high resource petrostates (Saudi Arabia, the Gulf nations, Iraq, Iran, Russia) will, in particular, gain greater control over the petroleum market as private companies move beyond fossils under pressure from shareholders and regulators.

[4] Transition will create new centres of energy power

  • The Democratic Republic of Congo controls, more than 50 per cent of the global supply of cobalt; Australia holds a comparably large share of the lithium market; and China controls the mining, processing and refining of rare earth minerals.
  • It is difficult to tell how and when these countries will exercise their market power but it is clear that the “green transition” will create new centres of energy power.

[5] Nationalism and political opportunism will influence energy policy

  • The US and China are currently embroiled in a “Cold War” over technology, trade, cyber issues and the South China Sea.
  • The US and China appear to be in a similar face-off. But that has not come in the way of their energy relations.
  • A few weeks ago, the two countries decided to coordinate the release of oil stocks from their strategic reserves to cool off the oil market.
  • The underlying reality is that national self-interest and short-term political ambition will be the defining determinant of future energy supply relations cutting across values and rhetoric.

Suggestions for India

  • Nurture relations with traditional suppliers: India must assiduously nurture relations with our traditional suppliers of oil and gas.
  • It must not assume their role in the energy market will diminish.
  • Increase storage capacity of strategic reserves: It should accelerate the build-up of the storage capacity for oil and gas; the latter to hold strategic oil reserves, the former to store gas for inter alia conversion to blue hydrogen.
  • Ecosystem for search and development of minerals required for clean energy: It must create a facilitative ecosystem for the search and development of the minerals and metals required for clean energy.
  • Clean energy supply chain: It should create a “clean energy aatmanirbhar supply chain”.

Conclusion

The green transition must not lead to import dependency on raw minerals and manufactured inputs, especially from China. The current policy to incentivise the manufacture of semiconductors is a step in the right direction.

UPSC 2022 countdown has begun! Get your personal guidance plan now! (Click here)

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Renewable Energy – Wind, Tidal, Geothermal, etc.

Langtang Project: Nepal’s first hydropower from a glacial lake

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Langtang Microhydro Electricity Project

Mains level: NA

 

Langtang Microhydro Electricity Project, Nepal’s first hydropower from a glacial lake has become functional recently.

Langtang Microhydro Electricity Project

  • The Project was built three years after the 2015 earthquake-avalanche that devastated the valley, with help from the Hong Kong-based Kadoorie Charitable Foundation.
  • It has a weir and spillway at the moraine, and the water is taken through a fibre glass-insulated penstock pipe to a powerhouse that generates 100kW of electricity.
  • It seeks to provide 24 hours of electricity to 120 households and tourist lodges in Kyanjin and Langtang.

Uniqueness of the project

  • The project is the first-of-its-kind in Nepal to power a village and holds promise for other remote Himalayan valleys where the risk posed by expanding glacial lakes can be mitigated.
  • At the same time, it provides electricity to tourism-dependent families.

 

UPSC 2022 countdown has begun! Get your personal guidance plan now! (Click here)

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Renewable Energy – Wind, Tidal, Geothermal, etc.

India retains 3rd position in RE Investment Attractiveness Index

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: RE Country Attractiveness Index (RECAI)

Mains level: Renewable Energy in India

India has retained the third rank in the Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index released by consultancy firm EY.

RE Country Attractiveness Index (RECAI)

  • The RECAI ranks the world’s top 40 markets on the attractiveness of their renewable energy investment and deployment opportunities.
  • The rankings reflect assessments of market attractiveness and global market trends.

India’s performance

  • India remained at the third position since three consecutive years.
  • India’s thriving renewable energy market conditions, inclusive policy decisions, investment and technology improvements focusing on self-reliant supply chains have pushed the transition.
  • RECAI highlights that corporate power purchase agreements (PPAs) are emerging as a key driver of clean energy growth.
  • A new PPA Index – introduced in this edition of RECAI – focuses on the attractiveness of renewable power procurement and ranks the growth potential of a nation’s corporate PPA market.
  • India is ranked sixth among the top 30 PPA markets.

Global scenario

  • The US, mainland China and India continue to retain the top three rankings and Indonesia is a new entrant to the RECAI.
  • The top-performing markets have held their ground in this latest issue – with no movement into or out of the top eight.
  • France (fourth position, up by one) and the UK (fifth position, down by one), while Germany (sixth position, up by one) has edged back ahead of Australia (seventh position, down by one).

 

UPSC 2022 countdown has begun! Get your personal guidance plan now! (Click here)

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Renewable Energy – Wind, Tidal, Geothermal, etc.

[pib] Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) Mechanism

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: REC Mechanism

Mains level: Renewable Energy in India

Union Minister of Power and New & Renewable Energy has given his assent to amendments in the existing Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) mechanism.

What are RECs?

  • Renewable Energy Certificates (REC) is a policy instrument to catalyze the development of renewable energy.
  • It is a market-based mechanism that will help the states meet their regulatory requirements (such as Renewable Purchase Obligations (RPOs)) by overcoming the geographical constraints on existing renewable potential in different states.

REC Mechanism

  • REC mechanism is a market-based instrument to promote renewable energy and facilitate compliance of renewable purchase obligations (RPO).
  • It is aimed at addressing the mismatch between availability of RE resources in state and the requirement of the obligated entities to meet the RPO.
  • 1 REC is treated as equivalent to 1 MWh.

How many types of RECs are there?

There are two categories of RECs, viz., solar RECs and non-solar RECs.

  1. Solar RECs are issued to eligible entities for generation of electricity based on solar as renewable energy source.
  2. Non-solar RECs are issued to eligible entities for generation of electricity based on renewable energy sources other than solar.

Sources of revenue under REC mechanism

  • Revenue for a RE generator under REC scheme includes revenue from the sale of electricity component of RE generation and the revenue from the sale of environmental attributes in the form of RECs.

What are the proposed changes?

The salient features of changes proposed in revamped REC mechanism are:

  • Validity of REC would be perpetual i.e., till it is sold.
  • Floor and forbearance prices are not required to be specified.
  • The RE generator who are eligible for REC, will be eligible for issuance of RECs for the period of PPA as per the prevailing guidelines.
  • The existing RE projects that are eligible for REC would continue to get RECs for 25 years.
  • A technology multiplier can be introduced for promotion of new and high priced RE technologies, which can be allocated in various baskets specific to technologies depending on maturity.
  • RECs can be issued to obligated entities (including DISCOMs and open access consumers) which purchase RE Power beyond their RPO compliance notified by the Central Government.
  • No REC to be issued to the beneficiary of subsidies/concessions or waiver of any other charges.
  • Allowing traders and bilateral transactions in REC mechanism.

 

UPSC 2022 countdown has begun! Get your personal guidance plan now! (Click here)

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Renewable Energy – Wind, Tidal, Geothermal, etc.

[pib] International Hydropower Association (IHA)

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: International Hydropower Association (IHA), Teesta River

Mains level: NA

NHPC’s 510 MW Teesta-V Power Station located in the Himalayan State of Sikkim has been conferred with the prestigious Blue Planet Prize by International Hydropower Association (IHA).

Teesta-V Power Station

  • The power station has been built, owned and being operated by NHPC.
  • The award has been conferred for its sustainability assessment undertaken by Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol (HSAP) of IHA.

About IHA

  • IHA is a London based non-profit membership association operating in 120 countries.
  • The IHA membership includes leading hydropower owners and operators, developers, designers, suppliers and consultants.
  • The IHA Blue Planet Prize is awarded to hydropower projects that demonstrate excellence in sustainable development.
  • The Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol (HSAP) is the leading international tool for measuring the sustainability of hydropower projects.
  • It offers a way to benchmark the performance of a hydropower project against a comprehensive range of environmental, social, technical and governance criteria.

Back2Basics: Teesta River

  • Teesta River is a 414 km long river that rises in the Pauhunri Mountain of eastern Himalayas, flows through the Indian states of Sikkim and West Bengal through Bangladesh and enters the Bay of Bengal.
  • It drains an area of 12,540 sq km.
  • In India, it flows through North Sikkim, East Sikkim, Pakyong District, Kalimpong district, Darjeeling District, Jalpaiguri District, Cooch Behar districts and the cities of Rangpo, Jalpaiguri and Mekhliganj.
  • It joins River Brahmaputra at Fulchhari in Bangladesh. 315 km portion of the river lies in India and rest in Bangladesh.
  • Teesta is the largest river of Sikkim and the second largest river of West Bengal after Ganges.

UPSC 2022 countdown has begun! Get your personal guidance plan now! (Click here)

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Renewable Energy – Wind, Tidal, Geothermal, etc.

Green hydrogen, a new ally for a zero carbon future

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Pink hydrogen

Mains level: Paper 3- Green hydrogen

Context

The forthcoming 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow from November 1-12, 2021 is to re-examine the coordinated action plans to mitigate greenhouse gases and climate adaptation measures.

How Green hydrogen as a fuel can be a game changer?

  • Hydrogen is the most abundant element on the planet, but rarely in its pure form which is how we need it.
  • High energy density: It has an energy density almost three times that of diesel.
  • ‘Green hydrogen’, the emerging novel concept, is a zero-carbon fuel made by electrolysis using renewable power from wind and solar to split water into hydrogen and oxygen.
  • Best solution to remain under 1.5° C: The International Energy Agency (IEA) forecasts the additional power demand to be to the tune of 25%-30% by the year 2040.
  • Thus, power generation by ‘net-zero’ emission will be the best solution to achieve the target of expert guidelines on global warming to remain under 1.5° C.
  • Untapped potential: Presently, less than 0.1% or say ~75 million tons/year of hydrogen capable of generating ~284GW of power, is produced.

Challenges: Production and storage cost

  • The challenge is to compress or liquefy the LH2 (liquid hydrogen); it needs to be kept at a stable minus 253° C.
  • This leads to its ‘prior to use exorbitant cost’.
  • The ‘production cost’ of ‘Green hydrogen’ has been considered to be a prime obstacle.
  • The production cost of this ‘green source of energy’ is expected to be around $1.5 per kilogram (for nations having perpetual sunshine and vast unused land), by the year 2030; by adopting various conservative measures.

Experiments in India

    • The Indian Railways have announced the country’s first experiment of a hydrogen-fuel cell technology-based train by retrofitting an existing diesel engine; this will run under Northern Railway on the 89 km stretch between Sonepat and Jind.
  • The project will not only ensure diesel savings to the tune of several lakhs annually but will also prevent the emission of 0.72 kilo tons of particulate matter and 11.12-kilo tons of carbon per annum.

Way forward for India

  • India is the world’s fourth-largest energy-consuming country (behind China, the United States and the European Union), according to the IEA’s forecast, and will overtake the European Union to become the world’s third energy consumer by the year 2030.
  • It is high time to catch up with the rest of the world by going in for clean energy, decarbonising the economy and adopting ‘Green hydrogen’ as an environment-friendly and safe fuel for the next generations.

Conclusion

In order to achieve the goal of an alternative source of energy, adopting a multi-faceted practical approach to utilise ‘Green hydrogen’ offers a ray of hope.

UPSC 2022 countdown has begun! Get your personal guidance plan now! (Click here)

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now