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SDG 7 Report: India's Renewable Energy Revolution in Focus

India's transition to renewable energy has been bolstered by substantial international financial support, according to the recent ‘SDG 7: Energy Progress Report 2024’.

June 13, 2024. By News Bureau

India's transition to renewable energy has been bolstered by substantial international financial support, according to the recent ‘SDG 7: Energy Progress Report 2024’. In 2022, the country received a notable USD 627 million for 47 renewable energy projects, many of which were valued at less than USD 1 million. 

A significant portion of this funding came from Germany and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD). Germany extended a USD 168 million concessional loan as part of the Indo-German Solar Partnership, further enhancing bilateral cooperation in the solar sector. Additionally, the IBRD provided a USD 124 million loan for the Rooftop Solar Program targeting the residential sector, aiming to increase the adoption of solar panels on homes across the country. Another USD 89 million in concessional loans from Germany was directed towards hydropower initiatives in the Himalayas, demonstrating a diverse investment portfolio in India's renewable energy landscape​​.

India's efforts in renewable energy are not just limited to financial inflows but also reflect substantial progress in various renewable sectors. Between 2010 and 2021, India, along with China and Indonesia, achieved significant advancements in modern renewable energy uses. The country has notably progressed in solar PV and bioenergy sectors, contributing to a marked shift from traditional biomass to modern renewable energy sources​​.

In the context of heat energy, China and India have been major contributors to the global increase in the modern use of renewable energy for heat from 2010 to 2021. This includes extensive use of bagasse in the sugar and ethanol industries and notable deployment of solar thermal water heaters. India's integration of renewable energy into industrial processes highlights its strategic approach to reducing carbon emissions and enhancing energy security​​.

Furthermore, India's role in renewable energy extends to the transportation sector, where it, alongside the United States, Brazil, Europe, and China, accounts for 85 percent of renewable energy use. This is driven by strong policy support for biofuels and electrification, indicating a comprehensive strategy to incorporate renewables across various sectors of the economy​​.

As the world races towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, India's progress in renewable energy is under the spotlight. 

India has made notable strides in increasing its share of renewable energy. Between 2010 and 2021, India recorded one of the highest increases in the use of modern renewable energy, with the share of renewables in total final energy consumption (TFEC) rising by nearly 7 percentage points. This progress places India alongside China and Germany, highlighting its commitment to transforming its energy landscape.

The country has seen substantial growth in the deployment of solar and wind energy, driven by strong policy support and national targets. India's National Solar Mission and initiatives like the International Solar Alliance (ISA) have catalysed significant investments and technological advancements in solar energy. Wind energy has also seen a steady increase, contributing to India's overall renewable energy capacity. 

Despite these achievements, the report underscores that the current pace of progress is insufficient to meet the 2030 targets. As of 2021, renewable energy accounted for only 18.7 percent of India's total energy consumption. To align with global targets set at COP28, India must accelerate its efforts to triple its renewable energy capacity by 2030.

One of the critical challenges is the need for greater international cooperation and financial flows to support clean energy transitions. The report notes that international financial flows to developing countries in support of clean energy reached USD 15.4 billion in 2022, but this is still short of what is required to meet global climate ambitions. India, with its vast population and growing energy needs, will require substantial investments and technology transfers to scale up its renewable energy infrastructure.

The Indian government has been proactive in implementing policies to enhance renewable energy capacity. Initiatives such as the Green Energy Corridor, which aims to improve the integration of renewable energy into the national grid, and the promotion of electric vehicles (EVs) are crucial steps towards a greener future. Additionally, India's commitment to achieving 175 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2022 and 450 GW by 2030 reflects its vision.

However, achieving these targets will require addressing several bottlenecks, including the need for better grid infrastructure, increased storage capacity, and enhanced regulatory frameworks to support private sector participation.

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