India: bringing the Sun down to Earth

India: bringing the Sun down to Earth

Enel Green Power has celebrated its first year in India, where clean energy is essential to supporting the present and building the future.


Enel Green Power has celebrated its first year in India, where clean energy is essential to supporting the present and building the future.

May the Lord Shri Ganesha bring prosperity and good luck.’ This is the Pūjā, the traditional chanted Hindu prayer for good fortune, which accompanies every Indian on both ordinary days and special events.

On 1 September 2016, these words of well-wishing were heard at the opening of Enel Green Power’s new premises in Gurgaon, a major financial and industrial centre in the North of India, close to New Delhi, and Bangalore, the capital of the southern state of Karnataka.

India is beyond any definition, a world where longstanding traditions live alongside next-generation technologies, and where extreme poverty and new wealth coexist. It is impossible to understand it unless one lives immersed in its ever-changing reality, which constantly seeks new energy to support its present and its growth towards the future.


A multifaceted country that bucks the trend

The people of India – the world’s third largest economy, whose GNP growth rates are constantly rising, in contrast to the rest of the world - account for 18% of the Earth’s population.However, India uses only 6% of the world’s primary energy, with a 70% coal share. Its population is four times that of the USA, but its consumption per capita is 11 times lower than that of the average American.

“More than 1.2 billion people who speak 21 different tongues live in the immense area that extends from the Himalayas to the Indian Ocean, covering three million square kilometres”

A country with myriad facets, also in the energy field. Its needs are increasing to support its growth, but, at the same time, there will be a 1.1% production surplus in 2016-2017, because the distribution network cannot keep pace with recent generation capacity increases. Some 240 million Indians still lack access to electricity.


A solar mission to “make in India”

In 2010 India launched a National solar mission, whose aim is not to reach the sun, but rather to bring it down to Earth by connecting 100 GW of solar PV capacity to the grid by 2022.

“For India, renewables are not only clean energy, but also competitive costs and providing electricity where there is a lack of it”

Norberto Cuenca, Head of business development Enel Green Power South Asia

Also contributing to the ambitious goal of achieving a 40% renewable share by 2030 is “make in India,” a campaign promoted by the government to attract companies, investment and technologies.

India is set on becoming a global hub for best-in-class practices in 25 industries, including automotive, clothing, infrastructure and food. However, in order for domestic production to make this quality leap, it needs a lot of energy.


Watchwords: competitiveness and innovation

In India, renewable energy is dealing with a tumultuous development, in which domestic producers and large global companies are engaged. ‘Sustainability and innovation are two key factors to competing in a big market that thinks big,’ says Cuenca.

Enel Green Power began operating in India in September 2015, when it bought the majority share of BLP Energy, a local utility company with three operating wind farms totalling 172 MW in the states of Gujarat and Maharashtra.

The growth prospect is huge, just like the needs that energy can meet, from rural electrification to smart grids for megacities or industry.

“The distinctive trait of many tenders for the construction of new renewable plants is precisely the demand for innovation by the competing companies”

Using big data for the efficient management of wind farms or embedding storage systems into solar PV fields are no longer the exception, but increasingly common practices.

For a country that will have 315 million more urban inhabitants by 2040 – equivalent to the amount of people presently living in the USA – clean energy and innovation are a vital need.