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Published:Tuesday, February 12, 2019 12:18 PM

Balancing the Energy Transition with Growth in Manufacturing and Employment

Balancing Energy


Energy is a crucial input for economic development of nation. Over the years, a tectonic shift in the energy systems from conventional sources & centralized system to renewable energy sources & de-centralized system has been observed and India has grabbed this opportunity to change its electricity landscape. Today access to clean energy, cleaner fossil-fuel technology, energy efficiency and investments in energy infrastructure are prime agenda for Indian government to accomplish United Nation’s sustainable goals (SDGs). Today, coal has found its alternatives and it is believed that a transition away from it is not inevitable anymore. The aggressive targets to setup 175 GW of renewable energy installed capacity till 2022, flagship scheme for promotion and adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) to 30% by 2030 are some of the strong steps that government has taken to fight climate change.

Besides the environmental factors, the supply of electricity at affordable prices is another barrier where Distribution companies (DISCOMS) need to take quick & diligent steps to improve infrastructure network. The growth of Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) has also piled up new challenges for DISCOMs affecting their existing business models.

The Ministry of Power, New and Renewable Energy, Coal and Mines together with State Governments are striving to transform the energy landscape of India. This whitepaper highlights critical developments and challenges that have been witnessed across the sector and measures to overcome the same for sustainable growth.

Manufacturing & Employment Opportunity for Renewable Energy in India

The expansion of solar and wind power business could potentially generate 330,000 jobs in segments like project design, construction, business development, operations & maintenance and manufacturing thereby benefitting the young demographic of the population in India. These opportunities can eradicate the poverty and can create a lasting impact to rural poor people if practiced in following ways:

  • Capacity building programs for empowerment of the rural people such as training in operations & maintenance (O&M) services.

  • Empowering training for women in order to enhance their participation in renewable energy sector.

  • Collaborating training institutes with renewable energy organizations to ensure that only trained personnel are deployed in the sector after successfully completion of training program.

  • Formulating policies and programs to encourage community-village-level project ownership where a community has responsibility to own energy systems and support the sustenance of people by operating productive loads (milk chillers, rice mills, drying machines) in community centers.

These developments will bring technical skills in people that will further help to initiate their own clean energy business. Thus, tackling poverty and clean energy future.

Storage & Electric Vehicle: Are We Doing Enough for Indigenous Development?

The thrust towards zero-emission mobility by government is a commendable step but this has serious challenges across value chain. Battery, the essential component of EV, is niche market in India. It is majorly dependent on imports. Research laboratories and academic institutions have come forward to indigenous battery technology. ISRO recently developed cost-effective battery technology that can be used for commercial purpose. Meanwhile, Central Electro Chemical Research Institute, Tamil Nadu in conjunction with CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, Hyderabad, National Physical Laboratory, CSIR-Central Glass and Ceramic Research Institute, Kolkata have jointly made indigenous lithium-ion cells. These developments aspire to push battery manufacturing industry of India.

Securing imports of Lithium & Cobalt is another aspect that should not be ignored. With the gain in momentum of EVs, the price of lithium will raise and assured supply of lithium will be crucial for EV manufacturing industry. India should make investments in lithium & cobalt imports to accelerate manufacturing base that will also compliment the aspirational target for 100% Electric Vehicles till 2030 and Make in India initiative. Hence, helping to develop indigenous batteries at global competitive prices.

New Distribution Utility in Era of Renewable Energy

The growth in Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) has puzzled grid operations. In an era of intermittent sources of energy, the utilities are witnessing peculiar trends such as rise in voltage when DERs are connected instead of decline in voltage, capacity curtailment from high solar & wind outputs at times of low load instead of thinking about load curtailment at peak days. As quoted by Mr. Gurpreet Chugh, MD, ICF Consulting India Pvt. Ltd., this transition has resulted utilities to face “death spiral”. However, to mitigate the threats of transition in system, utilities would have to follow suitable business strategies to absorb the effects of variable energy resources and reap its benefits.

The energy transition can also be supported if utilities undertake sophisticated planning exercise through Integrated resource planning (IRP) where it can plan supply and manage the demand. Tasks carried out in IRP for short-term and long-term utilities planning are mentioned below:


The combination of renewable energy, electrification of transportation and energy efficiency must have to be nurtured together to achieve a decarbonized economy. The transition of power sector towards an economically competitive and climate friendly system while ensuring energy security will be successful if the targets and policy frameworks established by government are practiced in rightful manner. This will build an ecosystem that allows for nation’s economic growth.

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