ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Political Economy of Renewable Energy Deployment in India

Despite high targets and comprehensive policies, the deployment of renewable energy technologies has faced signifi cant barriers in Karnataka during the past five years. This is because of the large disconnect that exists between central policies on renewable energy and regional needs. There is a need for subnational governments to play a more proactive role in renewable energy deployment.

Over the past few years, India has paid considerable attention to the development of its renewable energy (RE) capacity. This can be attributed to the country’s energy security concerns, the necessity to provide reliable electricity to its citizens and the global need to mitigate climate change. India’s ambitious targets project that by 2020, 10% of its power shall come from renewable sources and by 2022 there will be 165 gigawatts (GW) of RE capacity installed. Of this target capacity, there will be a 100 GW of installed solar capacity, 60 megawatts (MW) from wind and 5 MW from other sources such as small hydro and bioenergy (Vashishtha 2014). This implies that within the next five years, India has to undertake the mammoth task of almost doubling its RE contribution to the energy mix from the current 6%. The solar sector faces the largest challenge of scaling up its capacity by almost 20 times in six years, from the current 4.7 GW (MNRE 2016).

Such tremendous growth can only be accomplished through an effective policy and regulatory framework, which is essential to incentivise the deployment of RE. Government intervention is particularly necessary for energy policy because market mechanisms such as falling prices alone are not sufficient to ensure the development of long-term sustainable infrastructure (Pegels and Lütkenhorst 2014). As a nation’s energy policy determines the future of the basic public services, it is important to have a holistic view from the political, socio-economic and technological aspects.

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