The Hindu -
At the recently concluded COP26 in Glasgow, India proclaimed on the global stage that by 2030, it would elevate its renewable power capacity to 500 GW from 150 GW today, and that it would meet 50% of its energy requirements from renewable energy. Even as energy analysts scratch their heads about whether India’s 50% pledge refers to capacity or generation (more on this later), one thing is clear: we are in the middle of an unprecedented expansion in the renewable energy sector.
As for solar energy, between 2014 and 2021, India increased its capacity 15-fold. The government now aims to increase the 2020 installed solar capacity of 37 GW three-fold by 2022, to a staggering 270 GW — possibly even more — by 2030. India’s noble ambitions for solar energy, clearly, are soaring.
But under the sun’s glare, even tall, noble ambitions can cast long, dark shadows on the land and its people. While India’s intent of expanding solar energy is certainly laudable, the devil is in the detail. The scale of India’s solar energy ambition, and the pace it has set to achieve this, certainly merit closer examination, particularly from an ecological standpoint, since the strongest argument in favour of these projects is environmental. We must therefore ask: how do we reconcile the putative benefits of power generation with potential ecological and human costs?... Read More