India is set to embark on a transformative journey toward achieving net-zero carbon emissions, as outlined in the Budget 2024-25 presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. In a bold move to combat climate change, the government has announced plans to solarize rooftops of one crore (10 million) households and provide viability gap funding for offshore wind energy development, with an initial target of one gigawatt. This initiative marks a significant step in India’s commitment to sustainable development and clean energy adoption, reflecting the nation’s proactive stance in addressing global environmental challenges.
The finance minister emphasized the government’s commitment to Budget 2024 to enable one crore households to benefit from up to 300 units of free electricity each month through the rooftop solar program. This initiative is expected to result in significant annual savings for households and encourage the selling of surplus solar electricity to distribution companies, further enhancing energy sustainability and self-sufficiency. This forward-thinking policy underlines the government’s dedication to promoting renewable energy sources and reducing the carbon footprint, aligning with India’s broader environmental and economic goals.
The Council on Energy, Environment, and Water (CEEW) projects that this ambitious solarization effort could support 20-25 gigawatts of rooftop solar capacity, marking a significant leap towards harnessing renewable energy sources.
With its extensive coastline spanning approximately 7,600 km, India is poised to tap into its substantial offshore wind energy potential. Initial assessments have identified zones off the coasts of Gujarat and Tamil Nadu with an estimated potential of 70 gigawatts, positioning India as a key player in renewable energy on the global stage.
The interim budget also outlines a phased mandate for blending compressed biogas (CBG) with compressed natural gas (CNG) for transport and domestic purposes, further reinforcing India’s commitment to clean energy transitions.
Additional measures include setting up coal gasification and liquefaction capacities, expanding the electric vehicle (EV) ecosystem, and launching new bio-manufacturing and coastal aquaculture schemes under the Blue Economy 2.0 initiative.
India’s commitment to achieving net-zero emissions by 2070 and sourcing 50% of its electric power from non-fossil fuel-based resources by 2030 underlines its dedication to environmental sustainability. The budget’s focus on green economic initiatives and climate investments is a testament to India’s proactive approach to combating climate change and leading by example globally.
Experts in climate and clean energy have lauded the budget’s emphasis on decentralized clean solar energy and the potential game-changing impact of viability gap funding for offshore wind projects. The integration of compressed biogas and the push towards an EV ecosystem are also critical steps towards decarbonizing the mobility sector and positioning India as a potential EV manufacturing hub.
The 2024-25 interim budget marks a significant milestone in India’s journey towards a greener, more sustainable future. By incentivizing clean energy adoption and investing in innovative green technologies, India is taking bold strides towards its net-zero emissions target and establishing itself as a leader in climate action and sustainable development on the world stage.