What are the benefits of using renewable energy? Discuss some recent initiatives taken by the government to promote renewable energy in India.
Renewable energy is energy that is collected from renewable resources, which are naturally replenished on a human timescale, such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, waves and geothermal heat.
- Renewable energy often provides energy in four important areas – electricity generation, air and water heating/cooling, transporation and rural (off-grid) energy services.
Benefits of Renewable Energy
- Less Global Warming: Most renewable energy sources produce little to no global warming emissions.
- Improved Public Health: The air and water pollution emitted by coal and natural gas plants is linked with breathing problems, neurological damage, heart attacks, cancer, premature death, and a host of other serious problems. However, renewable energy is not associated with water and air pollution.
- Inexhaustible Energy: Strong winds, sunny skies, abundant plant matter, heat from the earth, and fast-moving water can each provide a vast and constantly replenished supply of energy.
- Jobs and other Economic Benefits: Compared with fossil fuel technologies, which are typically mechanized and capital intensive, the renewable energy industry is more labor intensive.
- Stable Energy Prices
- Reliability and Resilience: Wind and solar are less prone to large-scale failure.
Initiatives taken by Government to Promote Renewable Energy
- The Government has revised the target of Grid Connected Solar Power Projects from 20,000 MW by the year 2021-22 to 100,000 MW by the year 2021-22 under the National Solar Mission.
- The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy is also taking up projects for new emerging technologies such as floating solar power.
- The Government has issued ‘Guidelines for Tariff Based Competitive Bidding Process for Procurement of Power from Grid Connected Wind Power Projects with an objective to provide a framework for procurement of wind power through a transparent process of bidding. This has resulted in discovery of lowest ever tariff for wind power.
- The National Wind-Solar Hybrid Policy was issued in May 2018. The main objective of the policy is to provide a framework for promotion of large grid connected wind-solar PV hybrid system for optimal and efficient utilization of wind and solar resources, transmission infrastructure and land.
- Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has been promoting programmes to promote Biomass Power and Bagasse Cogeneration in the country with an objective to utilize country’s available biomass resources like bagasse, rice husk, straw, cotton stalk, coconut shells etc. for power generation.
- Waste to Energy projects are also being set up for generation of Energy from Urban, Industrial and Agricultural Waste / Residues such as municipal solid wastes, vegetable and other market wastes, slaughterhouse waste, agricultural residues and industrial wastes & effluents.
- With an objective to strive towards leadership in the energy storage sector by creating an enabling policy and regulatory framework, a comprehensive National Energy Storage Mission (NESM) has been developed.
- The Mission focuses on demand creation, indigenous manufacturing, innovation and necessary policy support for proliferation of Energy Storage in the country.
- The Ministry is implementing off grid and Decentralized renewables programme for meeting energy demand for cooking, lighting, motive power, space heating, hot water generation, etc.
- The Ministry also supports deployment of decentralized solar applications like solar lanterns, solar street lights, solar home lights, solar pumps, etc. in the country.
- The MNRE has decided to scale-up its RD&D effort to Technology Development and Innovation Programme. The focus is on promoting application oriented innovation, integrated with research and development for for commercial applications and testing and standardization for quality and reliability assurance in renewable energy sector.