Govt Role, Hydrogen In Focus At Plenary On Future Of RE At REINVEST

 At a plenary session of ReInvest 2020, called the Future of RE, the focus shifted to all that needed to be done to ensure the future arrives on time. Where renewable power forms the basis of the economy without causing the sort of upheavals and disruptions that many skeptics continue to warn of. Picking up the discussion was an elite panel of experts, all doctorate panel of academics, researchers and other experts moderated by Prof. Ambuj Sagar, Head, School of Public Policy, IIT Delhi.

Besides Indu Shekhar Chaturvedi of course, the Secretary, MNRE who made the opening remarks.  In his opening remarks, Chaturvedi pointed out that the rate of change we have seen in the past will only accelerate for the global energy sector now. “ The definition of energy security is changing and so is the public affirmation to the positive side which is leading to the liking for renewable energy”. While the public backing will make it easier to design more progressive policies, he stuck a note of caution on issues such as recycling of solar waste, loss of grazing land due to solar parks, etc, which needed to be handled well.

Dr. Ajay Mathur, Director General, The Energy & Resources Institute (TERI), emphasized that a lot of change is happening RE simply because of the drop in prices. It was time to look at technology upgradation to combat the problem of climate change too. He stressed on the need for better investments and planning in storage technologies, to allow for the higher share of renewables in the grid. Making a string pitch for more government support, especially in green hydrogen development, Dr Mathur pointed out that bringing down green hydrogen prices would lead to solving for bigger challenges, of replacing fossil fuel powered energy in energy intensive processes, from steel manufacturing to chemicals and other sectors.

Dr. Paolo Frankl, Head, Renewable Energy Division, International Energy Agency in his presentation stated that the future of RE in the long term this decade is very important and this depended on the right policies. He predicted in 2025 renewable will surpass coal and will become a first generation technology in the world.  Besides storage, he stressed on the need for a wider technology portfolio for energy needs, be it optimized hydropower, offshore renewable and geothermal energy. Enhanced market and regulatory frameworks are critical to attract timely investment in grids and remunerate flexibility from dispatchable supply, storage and demand-side response. Deeper commitments to emissions cuts would mean faster clean technology deployment and cost reductions, innovation for hydrogen and other low carbon fuels, battery storage and CCUS. He also emphasised the role of governments to attract affordable financing, accelerate the transition in building, industry and transport.

Rajit Gadh, Professor, Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science, UCLA spoke on California’s state bill 100 which targets to make the state powered by 100 percent renewable energy by 2035. He appreciated the idea of the implementation of V2G (Vehicles to Grid) charging station for the vehicles in UCLA. He also expressed optimism about the dropping cost of E-vehicles that would help make them penetrate deeper, sooner than many people expect.

Dr. Anshu Bharadwaj, Chief Executive Officer, Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation said that resource availability in India is not an issue but land is an issue but manageable. The core aspect. With Re prices dropping, he felt that storage technologies would become key, besides domestic manufacturing of solar cells, for instance.

Dr. N Rajalakshmi, Team Leader, International Advanced Research Centre for Powder Metallurgy and New Materials brought the research point of view in front of everybody.  She emphasized that Hydrogen energy would be better than storage due to its higher portability, making it an ideal conduit to use more renewable energy during production and meet the energy needs in more sectors, across the country. 

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