India has spent substantially on renewables, especially in large utility-scale projects and programs: It spent Rs 15,500 crores to subsidize renewable energy (RE) in 2017. The spending has enabled the RE sector to achieve better financial gains over conventional energy.
Decentralized renewable energy (DRE) and off-grid development, however, has been severely neglected and has been assigned merely Rs 460 crore.
The impact is visible: In Solar rooftop (SRT), the country may not be able to achieve 10 GW milestone by 2022, in comparison of its target of 40 GW.
DRE is a system that uses renewable energy to generate, store and distribute power in a localized way.
The competitiveness of utility scale RE has improved in recent years. The subsidy flow has fallen by almost half in 2020 compared to 2017: This ideally should have been restructured towards Decentralized Renewable Energy in the country, for it has potential to address quality energy access if mainstreamed to government plans and programs. The DRE sector also helps create quality jobs in rural areas.
The Union government should immediately roll out a program to promote electric cooking, which is possibly the best to integrate clean energy as cooking fuel. The spending on LPG should be diverted to electric cooking program.
In the post-novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) scenario, where the economically marginalized population has been severely affected, the Union government must not reduce subsidy expenditure from RE. It should rather be re-structured towards DRE.
This article is based on a story published in Down To Earth; edited by Clean-Future Team