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Year-End Round Up: A Look Back at What 2023 Meant for Renewable Energy

India is fast taking revolutionary steps towards a sustainable energy future. The industrial landscape is undergoing significant transformation, driven by the progression of technology.

December 31, 2023. By Anurima Mondal

2023 was the year of interesting developments and innovations for the Indian renewable industry. The year started with Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announcing the allocation of INR 10,222 crore for the RE sector in Union Budget 2023 and ended with Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing at the COP-28 Presidency’s Session. From strategic collaborations to impactful policy announcements, the nation witnessed a plethora of changes in the energy sector and achieved significant milestones.

Talking about the country’s progress, N Venu, MD & CEO, India and South Asia, Hitachi Energy, said, “Substantial progress has been made towards the goal of attaining 500 GW of renewables by 2030, encompassing the production and utilization of green hydrogen and the endorsement of mandatory battery energy storage at renewable projects through the launch of the Viability Gap Fund.

Today, the nation boasts an impressive 179 GW of installed energy derived from renewable sources. These multifaceted developments underscore India's commitment to a cleaner, more sustainable energy future. Moving into the new year, our grids must evolve to seamlessly integrate large variable amounts of renewables on one end and electrify various sectors on the other.
In 2024, we anticipate a continued surge in demand for solar and wind energy solutions, the electrification of mobility, the prominence of green hydrogen, the development of energy storage, and the establishment of HVDC links. Collaboration, both on national and international levels, will play a crucial role in these key trends and transformative developments, shaping the Indian energy landscape in 2024 to address the escalating energy needs of 1.5 billion people.”
Basking in the Solar Glory
Solar energy ranks as the top renewable energy source in the country. The installed renewable energy capacity has substantially increased from 76.37 GW in March 2014 to 178.98 GW in October 2023. Meanwhile, solar power installed capacity has increased from 2820 MW in March 2014 to 72002 MW in October 2023, showing an increase of around 25.54 times.

The Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE) came up with a number of pioneering reforms in its ALMM mechanism for solar photovoltaic modules to promote domestic production.

Under Tranche-II of Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme for High Efficiency Solar PV modules, with an outlay of INR 19,500 crore, Letters of Award were issued in April for setting up of 39,600 MW of fully/ partially integrated solar PV module manufacturing units.

"As we approach 2024, the solar sector stands at the cusp of transformative change. Our key expectations revolve around the continued evolution of regulatory frameworks, particularly in the context of the dynamic landscape shaped by the Basic Customs Duty (BCD), Approved List of Models and Manufacturers (ALMM), and Production-Linked Incentives (PLI). These policy decisions will have reverberations on a local, as well as a global scale.

In the year ahead, we anticipate heightened focus on technological advancements and the adoption of innovative practices.

As industry leaders, we are keenly watching the increasing synergy between the private and public sectors, fostering an environment conducive to sustainable growth. Furthermore, a focus on greater collaboration should propel us towards a future where renewable energy is not merely a choice, but rather, a global commitment. One of the key factors to pay attention to is the implementation of the Approved List of Models and Manufacturers (ALMM) policy, which is set to streamline and elevate the Indian solar manufacturing landscape.

Looking back, 2023 was a year marked by resilience and adaptability. The sector navigated through challenges with unwavering commitment, setting the stage for a promising future. Furthermore, India's trajectory towards becoming a global leader in solar manufacturing is becoming increasingly evident. With a focus on fostering indigenous innovation, Indian manufacturers are on the threshold of unprecedented growth and global recognition.

2024 holds the promise of unlocking fresh potential, forging strategic collaborations, and driving the clean energy transition globally. We are committed to playing a pivotal role in this journey towards a greener, more sustainable future,” said Hitesh Doshi, Chairman and Managing Director, Waaree Group.
Winds of Change
2023 also marked a record year for wind energy. According to the data released by the government, in 2021-22, the share of wind energy generation stood at 4.6 percent of the total energy generation in India. While it witnessed a dip in 2022-2023 to 4.4 percent, it rose again in 2023-2024 to 5.8 percent (upto October).
The installed wind energy generation capacity of the country was 43,773 MW, as on June 30, 2023. During FY 2022-23, the quantum of electricity generated from wind energy in country was 71,814 million units. The major wind energy producing States for the year 2022-23 were Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Telangana.
The government also floated the country’s first ever tender to allocate seabed sites along the coast of Tamil Nadu for developing offshore wind projects in September.
Meanwhile, technological advancements have enabled the installation of larger wind turbines with higher capacities, leading to substantial growth in the overall capacity of wind power projects across the country.

Biofuels and Green Hydrogen: Fuels of the Future
Besides renewable power generation, India is also switching to eco-friendly transportation. Biofuels and green hydrogen have emerged as successful substitutes of fossil fuels.
This year, the government sanctioned INR 19,744 crore for implementation of the National Green Hydrogen Mission, including an outlay of INR 17,490 crore for the SIGHT programme, INR 1,466 crore for pilot projects, INR 400 crore for R&D, and INR 388 crore towards other Mission components. Meanwhile, the nation witnessed the inauguration of first green hydrogen-powered fuel cell buses by Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Hardeep Singh Puri.

Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas organised its flagship energy event - India Energy Week 2023 (IEW). During the event, Prime Minister Modi officially launched E20, a blend of 20 percent ethanol with petrol, as part of the government's plans to achieve 20 percent ethanol blending in the overall petrol supply by 2025-2026. Meanwhile, in November, India announced mandatory biogas blending for domestic use from 2025-26.
Talking about the role of biofuels in forging a path toward sustainability, Kishan Karunakaran, CEO of Buyofuel said, "As we conclude 2023, Buyofuel takes pride in the strides made in revolutionizing the fossil fuel energy industry through biofuels. The once obscure term now echoes across industries, thanks to the Indian government's recognition of biofuels' potential. Looking back, we've witnessed a remarkable triple growth, showcasing the viability of sustainable business practices and reinforcing our commitment to a cleaner planet. 2024 holds immense promise as we delve into ongoing research and development, advancing bio-CNG and green hydrogen on a larger scale. This shift marks a pivotal moment in reducing our dependence on coal, curbing our carbon footprint, ensuring energy security, and combating climate change's devastating effects.”
“Reflecting on our achievements, we acknowledge the industry's potential to drive positive change for a sustainable future. Buyofuel's core vision remains steadfast – to create an empowering platform for trading biofuel-based commodities securely, with verified buyers and sellers. The triple growth signifies not just economic success but a proactive contribution to a cleaner and healthier planet. As we navigate the evolving energy landscape, Buyofuel eagerly anticipates continued growth, collaboration, and transformative impact. We look forward to a future where biofuels play a central role in forging a path toward sustainability and positive environmental change," he added.
According to Suhas Baxi, Co-founder & CEO, BioFuelCircle, cutting-edge trends within the industry are reshaping the sustainability and technology integration narrative. He says, “Technology plays a pivotal role in bridging gaps and fostering inclusive growth across the bioenergy supply chain. BiofuelCircle's digital platform connects farmers, rural businesses, and industrial end users, disrupting traditional dynamics and providing a level playing field. Cloud-based scalability and transparent payments facilitate easy rural participation, empowering communities, as seen in the Biomass Bank at the village cluster level. A paradigm shift is underway with the Carbon Ledger, offering an accountable record of CO2 emissions saved through green fuel adoption. This not only aligns with environmental goals but also serves as a benchmark for organizations to quantify their positive impact. In the pursuit of traceability and authenticity, Green Tokens leverage blockchain technology to track fuels to their source. This platform sets the stage for future carbon trading, establishing a foundation for the industry to showcase commitment to sustainable practices.”
Way Ahead
India is fast taking revolutionary steps towards a sustainable energy future With the government’s latest announcements and policy initiatives, the private players are also joining hands to make India the next ‘renewables superpower’.
“As we conclude calendar 2023, India ranks firmly as the world’s third largest energy consuming country. Its consolidated renewable energy capacity is a little more than 177 GW – the world’s fourth largest. Within this, 47 GW is hydropower.
While the untapped potential is huge, we are encouraged by the fact that while in calendar 2023 renewable energy continued to dominate India’s power generation capacity addition, the role of small hydropower projects is coming into its element. Of the 17 GW of energy added in calendar 2023, as much as 92 percent came from renewables as a whole,” concludes Apurve Goel, Director, Kundan Green Energy.
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