Author – Charles Goodwin
Renewable energy in India has taken rapid strides with a steady increase in its capacity additions, which accounted for 20.93% of India’s total power installed capacity mix in June 2018. According to Mercom’s India Solar Project Tracker, cumulative solar installations on 30 June 2018 reached 24.4 GW, representing 7.03% of the total power capacity in India.
Today, there are numerous benefits associated with the production and use of renewable energy by individuals. Different types of renewable energies offer different benefits for users and the environment at large. Here are some different types of renewable energy in India and the benefits they offer:
Solar power is created by using different methods of collecting heat from the sun which is then converted into energy. With India targeting to achieve 100 GW of solar power by 2022, there are numerous ways we Indians can benefit from this.
Benefits of solar power include:
• Self-sufficiency – Solar power makes it possible for consumers to become more self-reliant when it comes to their energy supply. Solar power is less likely to succumb to collapse because of the modular nature of solar power systems. This makes it ideal for individual consumption by households and also for the society as a whole.
• Easy installation – Solar power can easily be installed and used in households. Once the solar panels are installed, you get to enjoy energy independence from the power grid.
• Cost-effectiveness – Using solar power is cost effective. Although solar geyser prices might require a large initial investment, solar power is cost effective in the long run. The initial cost includes installation and maintenance of the system, but afterwards the solar power you receive is free since taps into an infinite source!
Wind power capacity in India stood at 34,046 MW as of 31 March 2018, which makes the fourth largest wind power producer in the world. While almost all the wind mills installed in the country are megawatt-sized towers, it is possible to create small individually owned wind power systems or become part of a larger network that offers wind power services to communities.
Benefits of wind power include:
• Cost-effectiveness – Wind energy is one of the most affordable types of renewed energy in terms of access, technology, and maintenance.
• Environmental friendly – Wind energy is also environmentally friendly as it does not produce any pollutants. This makes it good for the environment and for the health of its consumers.
• Friendly to the economy – Introduction of wind energy to different parts of India, including rural India, can impact the rural economy positively. Farmers who lend their land for installing large wind towers get rentals, while the stable energy supply can benefit the nation at large.
Biomass gasification and bagasse co-generation have reached an installed capacity of 8.3GW in India by March 2018. Household biogas production also reached 3.98 million plants. Biomass is a renewable alternative to fossil fuel, since it can be produced from cow dung, straw, husk and other agricultural waste.
Benefits of biomass energy include:
• Reduction of landfills – Using biomass power reduces the space needed for landfills and makes it easier to maintain the existing landfills.
• Readily available – Biomass is an energy fuel form that is readily available in rural areas. Using biomass not only produces fuel but also helps to deal with waste like sewage sludge.
• Fewer harmful by-products – When compared to the production of other fuels, biomass produces fewer harmful by-products. For instance, burning coal produces much more ash than biomass. Also, the ash from biomass has some benefits to farming soil.
In India, hydro-power is still under the ministry of power and not under the ministry of new and renewable energy. For this reason, India does not account for it while it accounts for its renewable energy sources. Even so, hydropower in India contributes 13% of India’s total power capacity with an installed capacity of 45.29 GW.
Benefits of hydro-electricity include:
• Emission-free – Just like wind and solar, hydro energy is essentially a free source of energy. It does not cause any emissions and thus makes it a safe form of energy source.
• Sustainably and domestically produced – Hydropower is also produced locally and can thus benefit communities and make them self-sufficient. With it being a product of water cycles, it is a sustainable source of energy.
These benefits indicate that renewable energy in India has today become a sustainable and feasible power source. The Ministry of Environment stresses on the importance of being able to produce energy without leaving a carbon footprint. As years go by, India will continue to adopt different renewable energy types, which will benefit both the environment and the population at large.