BIG BUSINESS INDIA LIKES NEW ENERGY
China and India, India and China – the elephants in the room. It is not that nobody talks about them; it is that nobody can do anything about them except watch in awe as they consume inconceivable amounts of energy and spew intolerable amounts of greenhouse gases. Both nations are replicating U.S. 19th-century expansion in 21st-century proportions.
Here Santipada Gon Chaudhuri, an expert on New Energy in India if anybody is, describes his expectations for India through 2030. What is somewhat surprising is his certainty that though India is presently a world leader in wind energy production and is barely started in solar energy development, India’s future is in solar power plants. On the other hand, it is not all that surprising since more and more people are looking to the solar power plant as the truly commercial-scale form of New Energy.
Chaudhuri also acknowledges another reality of New Energy rarely spoken aloud: It has become just as much a realm of corporate giants as the fossil fuels businesses. The image of the little off-grid green guy is a curiosity of the 1970s though, if Chaudhuri is right, the dream lives on.
Chaudhuri: “Corporates see green energy as a future business in the electricity sector. Suzlon, Enercon, Vestas, Exide, Tata BP Solar and Moser Baer have already invested in this sector. Others like Texaco and Sharp BP Group have shown interest, particularly with the global warming issue driving them…those investing in renewable energy should be given special treatment because such investors are working to protect mother earth.”
India has good solar resources. (click to enlarge)
“Corporates see green energy as a future business in the sector’
January 21, 2008 (Financial Express of India)
Santipada Gon Chaudhuri, director- West Bengal Renewable Energy Development Agency (WBREDA)/New Energy systems designer/Green Oscar recipient (UK)/Euro Solar Award winner (Germany); Indronil Roychowdhury, Indian Financial Express
It has pockets (green) rich in biomass potential. (click to enlarge)
Chaudhuri answers Roychowdhury’s questions about future development in India’s New Energy sector.
- India’s total power requirement will be 650,000 megawatts (MW) by 2030. 260, 000 MW will come from thermal generation (fossil fuels). Hydro can provide 150,000 MW. Nuclear, 50,000 MW. 200,000MW must come from New Energy.
- By 2050, India may have made the transition to a “green economy.”
India has fast-growing energy needs and a habit of relying on coal. (click to enlarge)
- Globally and in India the growth rate of New Energy is 30 to 45%.
- Commerical scale solar plants are feasible in India’s desert areas (Rajasthan, Gujarat). There is a pilot project going up in West Bengal.
- Chaudhuri thinks only solar power plants can scale up to 650,000 MW. He foresees decreasing solar energy costs with increasing volumes of solar cell production. He also foresees improved solar cell efficiency. He foresees solar energy prices reaching parity with conventional prices by 2015. He foresees regular and ongoing 50 to 100 MW solar energy plants after 2015.
- India’s next biggest New Energies are and will continue to be wind and biomass (especially from waste).
- Coal, hydro, wind and biomass are all presently in the area of Rs 3-4/kW-hour. Solar is Rs 12/kW-hour, but was Rs 20/kW-hour in 2002. By 2015, it will be in the area of Rs 3-4/kW-hour.
- Most solar is presently individual solar panel installations.
India is truly a nation in transition. (click to enlarge)
- Chaudhuri: “The world is moving towards a green energy or renewable energy economy, although we are totally based on a fossil fuel economy at present…”
- Chaudhuri: “I wish by now more corporates took an interest, but there are risk factors relating to technology—like whether a technology will soon be outdated or how much it is proven—and that is always the prime concern of investors…But I find that over the last two years, the private sector has taken a lot of interest…”