India is proving to be a hotspot for renewable energy.
Renewables will soon be responsible for more than a fifth of India’s electricity generation, Power Minister R. K. Singh said this week. Behind the trend are steps the country has taken to encourage investing in renewables, such as allowing foreign investors to own 100% of projects in the sector, strengthening purchasing power agreements and providing tax breaks for plants producing solar cells, batteries and other clean energy technology.
Renewables will contribute around 21% of total electricity demand for 2021-22 and 24% by 2026-27, Singh said, according to the Economic Times. The country in 2019 was expected to produce 17% of its energy from wind, solar and other replenishable sources, the International Energy Agency said.
India is setting up renewable energy parks to provide land and transmission connections to investors, and will give waivers of inter-state transmission charges for solar and wind electricity projects that are commissioned by the end of 2022, Singh said. The government intends to install 175 gigawatts of renewable energy capacity by 2022.
This comes a few days after Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced $3.08 billion in stimulus for the sector in the 2020-2021 budget. The government plans to finance 3.5 million solar water pumps and develop land along railway tracks for renewable energy projects.
India, the second-most populated country with 1.31 billion inhabitants, has a lot of work to do to meet its goals and deal with air pollution. The country pledged when it signed the Paris Agreement to curb global warming that renewables will account for 40% of power generation capacity by 2030.
India is home to 22 of the world’s 30 most polluted cities, according to IQ AirVisual, a Swiss-based group that gathers air-quality data, and Greenpeace.