India’s support for decentralized renewables is “woefully lacking” according to data released this week.
In a new report, the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) and energy access group Power for All found “major disparities” in India’s subsidy distribution, with less than 1 per cent designated for decentralized renewable options.
Although growth in renewables deployment has boosted subsidy support for the sector from $431m in 2014 to $1.4bn in 2016 (latest available figures), IISD found that distributed renewables received just $159m of the 2016 number, or 0.8 per cent of all energy subsidies and 11.2 per cent of subsidies for all renewables.
In order to achieve its target of providing 24/7 electrification for its rural population by 2019, India will need to step up its delivery of power by 10 times, as estimated by Bloomberg New Energy Finance. And the International Energy Agency has said that distributed renewables will need to play a key role, as they are the lowest-cost solution in the majority (three-quarters) of cases.
According to IISD, India’s annual coal subsidy, at $2.3bn, would be enough to fund the purchase of 114 million solar lamps, with deployment of those lamps creating nine times more jobs than centralized coal-fired power plants.
“It is clear from the new data that reforming electricity subsidy to reduce overall payment and more effectively target renewables and distributed solutions can lead to lower emissions, stronger job creation, and increased welfare,” Power for All said in a statement.