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Energy transition: Why are 80% of India’s solar projects planned in only five States?

By Shankar Sharma* 

This has reference to a recent news report wherein it has referred to a statement by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) to the Parliament. This news report has stated: "The latest data from the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) claimed that around 80 percent of the ongoing mega solar projects are confined to only five renewable-rich states of the country. Moreover, around ten states do not have any ongoing solar projects in hand."
It is surprising and deeply disturbing to know that 80% of India’s Solar Projects are planned in only 5 States, and that around ten states do not have any ongoing solar projects in hand. In this context can we state that most of the states and the UTs in our country are not convinced of the critical need to adopt suitable energy transition policies, and/ or that the Union govt. has not had much success in persuading these states and UTs to diligently adopt solar power policies?
It is shocking to know that despite the evidently clear scenario of global climate emergency and the associated urgency to move away from the over-reliance on conventional technology power projects & the associated infrastructures, most states and UTs seem to be ignorant/ dis-inclined to adopt solar power policies. When we also objectively consider the recent epochal statement by UN Secretary General that "the era of global warming has ended, and the era of global boiling has arrived", the gravity of the situation confronting our communities in not doing enough to address the threats of climate change should become glaring.
In this larger context, it will not be a surprise if most of the observers of the energy sector in the country have difficulty to believe that the Union govt. itself is convinced of the critical need to adopt suitable energy transition policies. Such people can be excused for such an opinion, because a large number of conventional technology projects at humongous cost to the country are being pursued all over the country, majority of which are through CPSUs.
As long as the Union and the state governments/ UTs are not made to be fully convinced of the need to pursue the renewable energy policy based on distributed kind of energy sources, "the era of global boiling which has arrived" will become worse with the passage of each day and lead to unbearable costs and crises to our communities.
It will be extremely harmful and, hence, highly unfortunate for the people of our country, if the decision making bodies in the country refuse to diligently undertake the costs/ risks/ consequences of continuing in a BAU scenario.
May I urge the NITI Aayog once again to take all possible measures to lead the country on a green energy transition pathway on a priority basis?
---
*Power & Climate Policy Analyst. Based on representation to the Chairperson, Vice Chairperson and Members,  NITI Aayog, New Delhi

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