India’s potential in green energy no less than a goldmine, invest here: PM Modi

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday sought investments in India’s green economy and said the country’s solar, wind and biogas potential is no less than any gold mine or oil field.

Addressing the first webinar on green growth in the 12 post-budget webinars to be held till 11 March, PM Modi said, “This Budget will play a key role in establishing India as a lead player in the global green energy market. That is why, today, I invite every stakeholder of the energy world to invest in India.”

PM Modi said India has set three pillars for green growth –increasing renewable energy production, reducing the use of fossil fuels and moving forward with a gas-based economy.

His statement comes in the backdrop of global economic growth being impacted by energy price shocks and climate change threats. India has been calling out energy suppliers for exacerbating fuel poverty and making a case for just, stable and sustainable energy transition. The huge amount of green energy injection in the country’s energy mix will also help India achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2070, and reduce carbon intensity by 45% from 2005 levels.

The leitmotif of “green growth” was imprinted in the union budget for FY24 that gave a major emphasis on energy transition, energy security and achieving climate targets with an allocation for 35,000 crore for capital investments.

Since 2014, India has been the fastest in renewable capacity addition and India’s commanding position in the renewable energy space will ensure a commensurate change in the world, PM Modi said.

India achieved the target of 40% contributions from non-fossil fuels in the installed electricity capacity nine years before the target date. India also achieved the target of 10% ethanol blending in petrol 5 months before time, with the country trying to achieve 20% ethanol blending in petrol by 2025-26 instead of 2030, he added.

PM Modi added that India has to increase battery storage capacity to 125 giga-watts hour. With India setting an ambitious target of having 500GW of renewable energy by 2030, electricity storage business is expected to be a vital part of the energy transition. Large battery storages that store electricity in the form of chemical energy or electrochemical energy and re-convert it to electricity can help India’ electricity grids, given the intermittent nature of electricity from clean energy sources such as solar and wind.

The union budget presented by finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on 1 February made a raft of announcements outlining India’s playbook to combat climate change. These included government to provide viability gap funding for Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS) with capacity of 4000 MWH (megawatt hour), and the Centre to formulate a detailed framework for pumped storage projects.

“Green energy announcements in this Budget lay the foundation stone and pave the way for future generations,” he said and added, “This budget is not only an opportunity, but it also contains the guarantee of our future security.”

With India dependent on imports for as much as 85% of its oil needs and 55% of its natural gas demand, record high energy prices are a major concern for a big consumer nation such as India.

PM Modi said that under the National Green Hydrogen Mission, India is moving forward with a target of production of 5 MMT green hydrogen. An allocation of Rs19,000 crore has been made to incentivize the private sector in this field. He also touched upon other opportunities such as electrolyzer manufacturing, green steel manufacturing and long-haul fuel cells.

He also spoke about provisions of 3,000 crore in this year’s budget to scrap around 300,000 vehicles owned by central and state governments that are older than 15 years including police vehicles, ambulances and buses.

Modi also touched upon water-based transport becoming a huge sector in India and said that India transports only 5% of its cargo through its coastal route today whereas only 2% of cargo is transported in India through inland waterways.

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