The Director-General made his keynote speech at the First Renewable Energy Global Investors’ Meet & Expo (RE-Invest) in New Delhi, India, which was attended by government officials, investors, and energy industry leaders. India is the world’s third largest economy and the fourth largest energy consumer. By 2030, the country will surpass China as the world’s most populous nation, demanding more than twice as much energy as is needed today.
“India’s increasing demand for energy can no longer be met through traditional energy sources alone” Mr Amin said. “Renewable energy must be a major part of the solution because it can meet the demand cheaply and sustainably while at the same time achieving broader socio-economic objectives.”
The cost of generating power from renewable energy sources has reached parity or dropped below the cost of fossil fuels in many parts of the world, according to IRENA’s new report Renewable Power Generation Costs in 2014. Biomass, hydropower, geothermal, wind and solar are now all competitive with or cheaper than coal, oil and gas-fired power stations, even without financial support and despite falling oil prices. Solar PV is leading the cost decline with solar module costs falling more than 75 percent since the end of 2009 and the cost of electricity generated by solar PV falling 50 percent since 2010.
India has some of the lowest development costs for renewable energy technologies worldwide, with average installed costs for biomass, hydropower and onshore wind being between $1,240 and $1,390 per kilowatt (kW). Average installed costs for large-scale solar PV have fallen to $1,670 per kW. This compares with $2,000 per kW for wind and $2,330 per kW for large-scale solar PV. India also benefits from significant volumes of agricultural residues, such as straw and sugarcane bagasse, which help to provide some of the lowest cost electricity in the world with an average cost of $0.04 per kilowatt hour (kWh).
“Falling prices are driving renewable energy investment in India, which rose 13 per cent last year and is expected to surpass 10 billion dollars in 2015” Mr Amin added. “Adoption of increasingly cost-effective renewables holds the genuine promise of a new age of socio-economic development, powered by clean, increasingly decentralised, and sustainable energy. The opportunity for India is tremendous.”
India is now the world’s fourth largest employer in the sector with 391,000 renewable energy jobs. It has one of the most ambitious renewable energy programmes in the world and developments in the country will strongly influence the trajectory of the energy transformation worldwide.