NEW DELHI: India needs to renew its pledge to renewable energy as thermal energy cannot take the country far due to environmental constraints, Niti Aayog vice chairman Rajiv Kumar said.
Delivering the keynote address on ‘Solar Energy: The Agent of Change’, Kumar said the energy needs of India are enormous, and the country needs all the energy that it can produce including clean and green energy.
“We need to renew our own pledge to renewable energy…Carbon is a real budget constraint. We have to take the carbon footprint in account whatever we do,” he said.
Kumar said on India the pressure will be enormous not to undertake open coal mining as primary source of energy.
“It may not be an exaggeration to say that environmentally, we could be at a tipping point where if we pursue the kind of policies, you know, thermal generation, we may not be able to go very far,” the Niti Aayog vice chairman argued.
Noting that India is still not anywhere near it’s energy need and requirement as large part of India is still pretty much devoid of reasonable quality of energy,” Kumar said.
We need to expand the manufacturing capacity of solar panels and cells, he added.
“We need to produce them at the globally competitive price as there is no advantage in trying to create solar panel industry behind the high protectionist wall,” he added.
Kumar pointed out that India has a comparative advantage in solar power. “Renewable power is very much competitive to other source of energy,” he said adding that renewable energy will be the energy provider for tomorrow.
The Niti Aayog vice chairman said India will also have to take care of South Asia’s energy requirements.
“There is a need to create a South Asian Energy grid,” he said.
Talking about coal energy, Kumar noted that public sector of coal industry is in transition phase because of the new coal policy.
“But the coal is losing its premium position as energy provider. I won’t be wrong in saying that we will soon come to a time when our significant coal reserve will be stranded coal reserve.
“We may not be able to use them the way China has been able to do it, exploit it, in the past three decades,” he opined.
Kumar said India will have to find new ways for coal gasification.