Powering India's future: The energy revolution is driving the govt's Viksit Bharat vision

09 Jul 2024
Powering India’s future: The energy revolution is driving the govt’s Viksit Bharat vision

Opinion: Souryabrata Mohapatra & Sanjib Pohit.

The goal of achieving energy independence by 2047 is a pivotal aspect of the Viksit Bharat vision and projections suggest that India is on its way to attain that vision.

Currently, India imports 90% of its oil and 80% of its industrial coal, a dependency that exposes the nation to global market volatility and economic vulnerabilities. The goal of achieving energy independence by 2047 is, therefore, a pivotal aspect of the Viksit Bharat (VB) vision. Projections suggest that India’s CO2 emissions will peak in the early 2030s and subsequently decrease to around 800 million tonnes per year by 2047, marking an 85-90% progress towards net-zero emissions.

To meet the escalating energy demands, India plans to install over 500 GW of non-fossil electricity generation capacity by 2030, with the aim of achieving an 80% green grid by 2040 and 90% by 2047. This transition will include a significant shift towards electric vehicles (EVs), aiming for nearly all new vehicle sales to be electric by 2035. Additionally, heavy industrial production will primarily transition to green hydrogen and electrification, targeting 90% of iron and steel and cement production and 100% of fertilizers by 2047.

India’s commitment to green development has been exemplified by the Clean Energy Mission, which has seen the green energy capacity more than double in the past nine years. This progress has positioned India fourth globally in terms of installed capacity. Solar capacity alone surged from 2.63 GW in 2014 to 71.78 GW by September 2023, highlighting the rapid advancement in renewable energy infrastructure.

The Clean-India aspirations set forth an aggressive deployment of green energy, aiming for 100 GW per year between 2030 and 2050. This strategy is anticipated to significantly reduce air pollution-related premature deaths, with estimates suggesting prevention of over 4 million such deaths between 2023 and 2047.

The transition to green technologies is expected to yield substantial economic benefits. The shift to electric transportation alone could result in net consumer savings of $2.5 trillion (₹19 million crores) by 2047. Moreover, the deployment of green hydrogen and electrification in industrial sectors could reduce industrial coal imports by 95%, further strengthening India’s energy security.

However, this transition will require significant capital investment, estimated at ₹11-15 million crores between 2023 and 2047 compared to the Business-As-Usual (BAU) scenario. The deployment of renewable energy technologies, including offshore wind, waste-to-energy projects, and distributed green energy systems, will be crucial in achieving these goals.

India’s ambitious targets for 2047 include achieving 90% green grid capacity, transitioning nearly all vehicle sales to electric by 2035, and shifting heavy industrial production towards green hydrogen and electrification. Achieving these targets will also involve significant infrastructure developments, including the installation of over 500 GW of non-fossil electricity generation capacity by 2030.

The VB policy framework is built on five key pillars: mandates for green technology deployment, financial support for emerging technologies, long-term infrastructure planning, scaling up domestic manufacturing, and ensuring a fair transition. The recent budget for 2024-25 has emphasized commitments towards achieving energy transition and a Net Zero status by 2070, introducing several key initiatives such as rooftop solar projects, expansion of EV infrastructure, and support for biogas integration.

The 2024-25 budget highlights substantial investments in renewable energy. Rooftop solar projects aim to equip one million homes with solar panels, potentially saving each household approximately $200 to $240 annually and reducing carbon emissions by about 35 million tonnes annually. The expansion of EV infrastructure is expected to decrease crude oil imports by over 90% (equivalent to $240 billion) by 2047.

India’s roadmap towards 2047 is characterized by ambitious targets and detailed projections:

  1. Renewable Energy Capacity:
  • By 2030: Over 500 GW of non-fossil electricity generation capacity.
  • By 2040: 80% of the energy grid from green sources.
  • By 2047: 90% of the energy grid from green sources.
  1. Electric Vehicles:
  • By 2030: 60% of all new vehicle sales to be electric.
  • By 2035: Nearly 100% of all new vehicle sales to be electric.
  • By 2047: Electric vehicles to dominate the transport sector, significantly reducing oil imports.
  1. Green Hydrogen and Industrial Electrification:
  • By 2030: Initiate large-scale production and use of green hydrogen.
  • By 2040: 60% of iron and steel production using green hydrogen and electrification.
  • By 2047: 90% of iron and steel, 90% of cement, and 100% of fertilizers to be produced using green hydrogen and electrification.
  1. Energy Consumption and Savings:
  • By 2047: The transition to electric transportation could result in consumer savings of $2.5 trillion (₹19 million crores).
  • Significant reduction in industrial coal imports by 95%.
  1. Capital Investment:
  • Between 2023 and 2047: Estimated additional investment of ₹11-15 million crores for renewable energy infrastructure.
  1. Environmental Impact:
  • By 2047: CO2 emissions will decrease to around 800 million tonnes per year.
  • Prevention of over 4 million premature deaths related to air pollution between 2023 and 2047.

India’s journey towards VB by 2047 is deeply intertwined with its energy landscape. Achieving energy independence, transitioning to green technologies, and fostering sustainable development are not merely aspirational goals but necessary pathways to ensure the nation’s economic resilience and environmental sustainability. The ambitious targets set forth in the VB vision require unwavering commitment, innovative thinking, and strategic leadership. As we move forward, it is imperative to keep these goals in sight, fostering a collaborative effort across all sectors of society to realize the vision of a prosperous, inclusive, and sustainable India.

Sanjib Pohit is Professor and Souryabrata Mohapatra is Associate Fellow at NCAER. Views are personal.

Published in: Business Today, 09 Jul 2024