India: bringing the Sun down to Earth

Published on Wednesday, 5 October 2016

“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.