Is India embracing renewables or fossil fuels? On the one hand, there are the commitments India has made to decarbonise its economy in the face of climate change that is already impacting the country grievously. Then there are the planners who are convinced that fossil fuels are imperative to provide the electricity needed for India’s development. With this, we have seen announcements of huge investments in solar and wind energy, but also in coal, oil and gas.
In the last two years alone, the union government has announced forthcoming public and private investment in coal of 400,000 crore Indian rupees (around USD 50 billion). The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas has said that in 2021-22 the country will invest 480,000 crore rupees (USD 60 billion) in setting up gas infrastructure. The country is also hiking its investments in overseas oilfields – like Russia’s Sakhalin 1 and Sakhalin 2 and Brazil’s BM-Seal-11 – apart from stepping up domestic exploration for gas and oil.
These announcements coincide with reports about the 116,000 crore rupees (USD 14.5 billion) India invested in renewables in the last fiscal year; the 202,000 crore rupees (USD 25.3 billion) of capital expenditure (or capex, money spent on building fresh assets like factories or power plants) which is expected to flow into the country’s EV market by 2030; Reliance’s mammoth 595,000 crore rupee (USD 74.6 billion) investment in renewable energy and technology; an investment of 480,000 crore rupees (USD 60 billion) in renewables from the Adani Group; and India’s push for indigenous manufacturing of solar panels and storage batteries.
The answer, in this report for The Third Pole. Do read.