India’s alignment with the Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG 7) is something to be applauded. It has facilitated affordable, reliable and modern energy for all through investing in green hydrogen, sustainable energy transitions and a bio-economy. As a pioneer of sustainable economic models for developing economies, India has been taking steps to fight against climate change. With ambitions to achieve net zero emissions by 2070 while meeting 50% of its electricity needs through renewable energy sources by 2030, SDG 7 fosters hope for India’s energy sector.
SDG 7 provides a reliable framework for sustainability, encouraging the expansion of infrastructure and technology improvements. By incorporating renewable energy sources that mitigate global climate change, policymakers have showcased how SDG 7 fosters hope for India’s energy sector.
India’s Current Situation
As the third largest electricity producer, India’s energy sector has always faced scrutiny, with high carbon emissions demanding attention. Its reliance on coal as a primary source and imported oil as a secondary source of electricity create formidable sustainability hurdles. Additionally, with the impact of the pandemic weighing heavily on India, interventions and government policies to align with the SDG 7 have been necessary.
In response, the Indian government has initiated programs facilitating sustainable energy transitions. Economic opportunities incentivizing projects have helped India make transitions to clean energy. In August 2022, the Indian cabinet approved a national plan to increase its commitment to reducing the emissions intensity of its GDP by 45%. Numerous stakeholders have applauded this move, especially given its adoption of industry-standard recommendations to achieve net zero emissions. Also, the Indian government has mandated a better and more efficient transport system with plans to support its operations with renewable energy.
According to recommendations from General Electric, “The government should ensure that power producers comply with new emission standards by 2022 for India to meet its emission targets.” Such sentiments stem from the opportunities and challenges identified in the Indian energy sector, particularly with the scale of investments in renewable energy. Additionally, national policies within the energy sector are shifting to accommodate the development of an efficient electricity market, creating extensive progress in achieving clean energy.
Focus on the Bio-economy
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi asserted that India is achieving significant growth in its bio-economy, as it has grown eight times what it was eight years ago. Because of this, achieving net zero emissions by 2070 is a real possibility. Notably, the government’s continued support of its biotech sector has ushered in a new culture of doing business. Modi stated that “the number of biotech incubators has increased from six in 2014 to 75 now.” Identifying the contributions of diverse sectors in these achievements, he underlined Indian professionals’ growing momentum and reputation in the global market as it tracks sustainability principles.
The focus on the bio-economy has also spurred growth in the transport sector as modernizing this public resource demands strategic alignment. Mobility remains a crucial factor in India’s economy, and responses to sustainable and cheap transport have sought long-term energy solutions. According to Economic Times, “Market forces are acting upon balancing the energy mix in the short run and shifting fossil fuel load to clean energy in the long run.” Thus, such energy transitions forecast a sustainable future for India’s energy sector.
Focus on Green Hydrogen
In February 2022, India established a framework for producing and exporting green hydrogen. In its ventures, India has even sought help from global funders to facilitate low-rate loans for green hydrogen projects. The focus on green hydrogen reflects the country’s efforts in diversifying energy sources. According to the Minister for Power and New and Renewable Energy, R K Singh, “We achieved universal access to electricity by electrifying more than 18,000 villages in under 1,000 days and more than 28 million households in just 18 months in what was the largest expansion of access in such a short time anywhere in the world.”
Overall, these decisions affect billions of Indians reliant on electricity and forge a better framework to reduce their reliance on coal and oil. In this context, the contribution of the public and private sectors sustains the growing prominence of India’s clean energy. They contribute to its vision to facilitate 50% of its electricity needs through renewable energy sources by 2030, indicating that SDG 7 fosters hope for India’s energy sector.
– Hanying Wang