clean tech energy india renewable sector industry
Decoding India’s clean tech sectorTaking a note of the detrimental consequences of global warming and rapidfossil fuel combustion, as various countries around the world start declaringclimate emergencies and take strides towards sustainable choices forprotecting the environment and biodiversity, clean (and green) technologieshave come to the forefront of collective societal action. Known popularly asclean tech, this sector at large is at the moment generating a lot of interestfrom scientists, academicians, technologists, industry experts, and otherstakeholders alike in our country as well.To put it simply, clean tech refers to any product or service that alleviatesharmful environmental impact of other products or processes via energyefficiency improvement, sustainable usage of resources,elimination/purification of waste materials and emissions, and so on. Itencompasses a wide range of technologies with respect to recycling, renewableenergies (solar, hydropower, wind energy, bio-fuels), green construction,electric vehicles, lighting, etc.Today, India undoubtedly represents a huge, lucrative market for the cleantech industry with a lot of investments and FDI inflows being pumped into thesector.In this article, we would be discussing the current roadblocks and hurdlesfacing the clean tech sector in India, understanding the opportunities forfuture growth of this industry, while also outlining its possible trajectory.The stumbling blocksClean tech in India can still be referred to as an emerging concept and thefocus till date has been mostly sector-specific. For instance, separateschemes at the administrative level are currently targeted at rejuvenation ofindividual sectors such as solar, wind, energy efficiency, electric mobility,etc. The lack of a combined and unified policy and financing mechanism, aswell as limited recognition of clean tech as a proper industry on the part ofthe government, remains to be an area of concern for this segment in India.Also, too much thrust only on solar and wind power can prove to bedisadvantageous in the long run.Speaking from India Inc’s perspective, the generation of renewable energy atscale is constantly evolving, with the main factor hindering it is the highcapital intensively. Furthermore, the adoption of innovations relating toclean tech in mid-to-large-sized companies has been seen to be rather slow,mostly due to lack of awareness and uncertainty regarding the return oninvestment.Another looming area of worry is something called as ‘green fatigue’.Investors, venture capitalists (VC), and industry experts have been entirelyburnt out by the sheer number clean tech success stories told to them over thepast decade, therefore, they remain skeptical about the potential of cleantech start-ups to pan out in the long term. Extreme, unfavorable weatherconditions and events (such as floods, unpredictable rainfall, dust storms,unusual high temperatures, etc) often add to the uncertainty. Research andinnovation for quality-driven business scalability in the domain of clean techis another significant arena where India needs to up its game.Tech-ing the clean talk: Opportunities galoreDespite numerous challenges, it can be said with confidence that the cleantech industry in India is growing exponentially in recent times. With theGovernment of India aligning policymaking towards being a net-zero carboneconomy in the decades to come, India has set ambitious targets for thediverse clean tech sector; the country is also enhancing focus on supportivepolicy framework and regulations to encourage start-ups and businesses in theclean tech industry.According to a recent joint study conducted by the International Energy Agencyand the Council on Energy Environment and Water, the investments in India’srenewable energy sector has doubled over the past half decade. Our constantlygrowing economy is leading to increasing demand for clean power and relatedinfrastructure. The size of the Indian clean-tech market was pegged to be atmore than $25 billion in 2017, and by the end of 2030, India plans to meet 40per cent of its total energy needs through renewable resources up from around22 per cent now.Currently, India has been ranked fifth in the world in terms of installedrenewable energy capacity, and holds the second place amongst the manyemerging economies which are pioneering transition to clean energy, as pervarious reports and industry estimates. A recent IBEF report also pointed outthat the renewable energy sector in India was “the fourth-most attractivemarket in the world”.All these analytical data points and statistics are a testimony to the factthat India is poised to become a powerhouse of clean energy in years to come,and also one of the most attractive destinations in the globe in terms ofenvironment-friendly investment.Ushering the way forwardIn the coming years, less known but significant verticals of clean tech suchas fuel-from-plastic, waste-to-energy, ocean and water bodies clean up, etc,needs to be encouraged as much as solar or hydropower projects and electricvehicles. Reducing its carbon footprint while catering to the ever-growingenergy demand would not be an easy journey for India, and therefore, thetransition to being a 100 per cent clean tech country can be eased out onlywith the regular phase out on the usage of traditional energy (especially coaland fossil fuels).In India’s ambition of becoming a $5-trillion economy by FY25 was outlined inthe latest Union Budget by our Hon’ble Finance Minister, “Pollution-free Indiawith green mother earth and blue skies” is a part of the “vision document forthe decade”, hence, sectoral reforms for environment and sustainability domainand clean tech is expected to play a significant role, alongside macrodevelopments like urbanisation — smart cities — and natural resourcedepletion that shall continue to fuel demand for clean tech manufacturing andallied industries.While the government backing will boost structural changes and policyinterventions in favour of the dynamics of the clean tech sector, academia andprivate players also need to join hands in unlocking innovation, and makingclean energy more accessible and affordable for the masses. Last but not theleast, the massive transition towards clean tech not only resonates with thegrowing awareness of environmental issues, but will also create a lot ofemployment and skilling and upskilling opportunities in the next decade, whichis indeed another untapped but opportunate area that needs to be looked into.DISCLAIMER: The views expressed are solely of the author and ETEnergyworld.comdoes not necessarily subscribe to it. ETEnergyworld.com shall not beresponsible for any damage caused to any person/organisation directly orindirectly.