India has some huge renewable energy goals. But can they be achieved?

March 4, 2020

BY Alexander Kalis


One of the largest countries on the planet by area, India is home to more than a billion people, a vast economy and a huge military.

The country’s energy needs are similarly large scale: India’s primary energy consumption hit 809.2 million tons of oil equivalent in 2018, according to BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy. On this metric, the country is behind only China and the U.S.

When it comes to renewables, India has set itself some ambitious targets. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government is targeting 175 gigawatts (GW) of renewable capacity by the year 2022 — a goal proudly displayed on the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy’s website — and is aiming for 450 GW by 2030. Capacity refers to the maximum amount that installations can produce, not what they are currently generating.

To put all of the above in perspective, India’s installed capacity — for all energy sources — was a little under 369 GW at the end of January 2020, according to government figures. Breaking the numbers down, renewables — listed as small hydro, wind, solar and bio-power — accounted for over 86.3 GW of this total.

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