The last decade or so have been most exciting in the electricity landscape since the world started getting electrified a century ago. We are seeing new generation sources, electrification of transport and simultaneously better management of the ever growing demand globally and in India.
Renewable energy finally arrived. Technically, commercially and in terms of actual deployment. In 2018, we crossed 20% of total capacity installed in India powered with renewables (non-hydro). Nearly 65% remains coal and other fossils unfortunately. Thankfully, India is blessed with great wind near coastlines (for both offshore and onshore wind), great sunshine (for solar) and an agri-based economy (for biomass). These are the current front-runners in renewables. The proportion of renewables will continue to grow as we see continued challenges with coal and oil imports.
What can be better than renewables? Not needing so much power! One of my most favorite inventions in the recent times is the LED bulb. It has all the ingredients to succeed – price, relatively frictionless to adopt and easily available. This innocuous invention is already saving tons and tons of carbon emissions across the world, and was rightly awarded the Nobel Prize. In this edition, we talk about energy efficient appliances and ways we are using IoT technology to reduce the energy consumption in manufacturing. Both as a consumer and a business owner, you should be able to use recent inventions to reduce your power consumption and save money today.
But we have something even better going on. We will fix not only coal but oil, which is an equal culprit in the worsening climate globally. With the advent of better battery technology and consumer push to reduce pollution levels, Electric Vehicles will become mainstream in the next two decades. In India, we will see fleets becoming greener first, then two wheelers and finally the four wheelers will catch on. The current argument that “using coal to power EVs is not a better solution” is understandable, but short term only. As the grid becomes greener, so will the EVs. EVs will impact the air quality in cities hugely.
Of course, the utopia is an energy system that is 100% green for electricity, transport and all other energy use. With sufficient smarts, will power and a little bit of magic, we will get there. Hopefully soon.