India is currently among the top three nations in energy use. Its energy demand is expected to grow the most on the planet over the next 20 years. India, now the sixth-largest economy, is predicted to move up three places by 2030.
India has attained much economic success in the past three decades. In the past few years India’s economic growth has been marked by significant milestones like GST, Insolvency & Bankruptcy Code, Labour reforms and reforms that enabled it to achieve substantial progress in many areas including rise in income levels, growth, literacy, export-import, irradicating trade barriers, GDP, ease of doing business etc making the growth sustainable.
According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), the population of India is anticipated to grow by 270 million over the next two decades — resulting in an increased demand for carbon-intensive industries such as cement and steel to house the population.
The Sustainable Development Scenario explores how India could mobilise an additional surge in clean energy investment to produce an early peak and rapid subsequent decline in emissions, consistent with a longer-term drive to net zero, while accelerating progress towards a range of other sustainable development goals.
On the climate change front, India is facing challenge due to the melting of the Himalayan glaciers and changes in the monsoon pattern. It is imperative for India to adopt innovative solutions in order to achieve sustainable economic growth path to become a USD 5 trillion economy.
In 2019, India ranked fourth globally in installed renewable power capacity. Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi has set a goal to generate 450 gigawatts of renewable energy by 2030. If this happens, India will meet demand of 60% of its total electricity generation from non- fossil fuel sources which is in line with the Paris Agreement.
India has the potential to lead the world in solar electricity. With about 300 sunny days a year, India can generate electricity through solar energy which will be much cheaper than existing coal-fired power by 2030. PM Modi’s call for “high speed, large scale, concrete action” and his open invitation to global partners for building sustainable solutions reflects India’s interest in nurturing cross-border collaboration and innovation in order to achieve sustainable growth.
Even though the pandemic and its aftermath could temporarily suppress emissions, as coal and oil bear the brunt of the reduction in demand, it does not move India any closer to its long-term sustainable development goals. The IEA report states that the nation’s fuel import bills are likely to triple in the next two decades under current policies. If the country follows a more sustainable path of reducing emissions and increasing its share in non-fossil-based fuel for electricity generation, its import bills can be reduced substantially, offsetting the investments in renewables.
According to the Standard Chartered SDG Investment Map, India alone offers a private investment opportunity of over USD 700 billion in clean energy. In the Sustainable Development Scenario, the equipment market for solar, wind, batteries and water electrolysers will also witness a considerable hike creating industrial and commercial opportunities from clean energy.
The private sector has a critical role to play in meeting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) over the next decade. By transforming the core of their business and delivery models and building collaborative partnerships the private sector can help big way in achieving sustainability goals and ensuring inclusive growth for all.
India should continue to take some bold decisions in order to meet the 2030 milestone set under sustainable development goals.
India has successfully taken out millions of people out of poverty and provided them a better quality of life. With its transition to clean energy, India can certainly create a pathway to sustainable growth and a clean energy future. Water stress is likewise an increasingly important factor for India’s energy sector and its technology choices.
The companies like Toshiba have played critical roles in projects like Clean Ganga. Through Toshiba Water Solutions (TWS), which has its global headquarters in Haryana, Toshiba is an active partner in India’s quest to build sustainable water and wastewater infrastructure.
The new India which is waiting to join the USD 5 Trillion club through sustainable growth has new dreams and hopes for a completely re-energised future. The pandemic and subsequent lockdowns have been a big jolt to growth. But it is rightly said, “in the midst of every crisis, lies great opportunity”.
More than that of any other major economy, India’s energy future depends on the decisions it takes in order to innovate or collaborate for innovative and clean energy friendly technologies.
The efforts and choices made now and in the coming years by the Indian government as well as by Indian businesses would play a key role in transforming the country economic growth into sustainable economic growth. This would call for innovation, strong partnerships, and huge investments.