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India wants to become climate neutral by 2070


The Indian government has set itself ambitious CO2 targets. But the economy and the population are growing – and need more and more electricity. How do both fit together?

AreaRead the video transcript expand here

Kesa Bhai Prajapati on his way to his workshop.

The 68-year-old potter forms several clay vases and jars every day.

This is how he earns his living.

This has recently become easier for him: his potter's wheel now rotates with the help of an electric motor.

Kesa Bhai Prajapati, potter:

»We now produce more goods in less time.

We used to have to turn the wheel by hand.

Today, production is powered by solar energy.«

Prajapati resides in Modhera.

The 6,500-inhabitant town in western India has been getting all of its electricity from solar panels since October last year.

The project is financed by the Indian government and the state of Gujarat.

The installation of the approximately 1,300 solar panels alone is said to have cost almost ten million dollars.

This is doubly worthwhile for the residents: the village currently uses less electricity than it generates.

Households can sell the excess electricity to the grid provider.

In addition, solar power is cheaper overall and thus enables more equal opportunities.

Reena Ben, Seamstress:

»It helps me make more money.

With this I can offer my children a better life.

I used to not be able to work in the dark because electricity costs were too high.

Thanks to the solar power connection, I could also work at night.«

By 2030, India intends to triple its renewable energy generation to 500 gigawatts.

The goal: climate neutrality by 2070. Projects such as the solar village Modhera contribute to this, but are not enough.

Industry, as a major consumer, would also have to switch to electricity from renewable sources.

Experts therefore consider the plans to be very ambitious because many aspects make the necessary expansion of renewable energies more difficult.

Miriam Prys-Hansen, University of Hamburg:

»On the one hand it is the condition of the still state-owned sales companies.

Some of them are highly indebted and tied to long-term contracts with coal-fired power plants, which of course gives no incentive to expand renewables.

There is a lack of investment capital, there are very strong farmers' associations, which makes it difficult, for example, to access land - and large solar systems need a lot of land.

The bureaucracy is structured differently in the different countries and sometimes – India is internationally known for this – has a lot of so-called ›red tape‹, i.e. a lot of hurdles to tackle new things.«

Nevertheless, the expansion of renewables must happen now, because time is pressing: India's economy is growing and with it the energy requirement.

At the moment, Indians consume only about a sixth of the German per capita energy consumption.

However, the increasing prosperity in the country is also leading to a higher demand for energy.

Due to a lack of raw materials and a lack of domestic production facilities, the necessary technology for the energy transition must also be imported from abroad.

For example, 90 percent of the components of solar panels are imported from China.

India's climate goals are therefore heavily dependent on international trading partners.

However, projects like Modhera show the added value that the energy transition can have for the population.

There, solar energy also ensures a higher quality of life.

Manjula Ben, resident:

'I can now leave the fan on and sleep in the house.

That feels good.

We used to worry about our expenses and electricity bills, but that pressure is gone now.«

For national climate neutrality, India needs to push renewable energy faster and develop more of its own expertise in areas such as photovoltaics.

It remains to be seen whether and when projects like the Modhera solar village can be transferred to metropolises like New Delhi.

Source: spiegel

All news articles on 2023-01-14

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