June 25, 2019 / 1:42 PM / 4 months ago

India plans to add 500 GW renewable energy by 2030: government

File Photo: Workers clean photovoltaic panels inside a solar power plant in Gujarat, India, July 2, 2015. REUTERS/Amit Dave

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India plans to add 500 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy to its electricity grid by 2030 in a bid to clean up air in its cities and lessen the rapidly growing economy’s dependence on coal, the government said on Tuesday.

“By 2030 India plans to establish 500 GW of Renewable Energy capacity,” Anand Kumar, senior official at India’s renewable energy ministry, said in a statement.

“India would have installed 175 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2022 without taking into account large hydro and 225 GW including large hydro,” Kumar added.

India, the world’s third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases, has pledged to cut emissions and have clean energy account for at least 40 percent of its installed capacity by 2030, up from 21.4 percent now, while looking to manage its energy appetite as its population becomes more prosperous.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government changed rules for the awarding of renewable energy projects in 2017, leading to higher competition, lower prices and greater acceptance of renewable energy.

But research analysts have been sceptical about India meeting its ambitious targets.

Modi’s administration is vying to improve electrification among India’s poor rural communities and major metropolises are also demanding more energy.

India’s annual coal demand rose 9.1% to 991.35 million tonnes during the year ended March 2019, Coal Minister Pralhad Joshi told parliament on Monday. A ban on the use of petroleum coke, a dirtier alternative to coal, in some parts of the country, led to a rise in coal imports.

Reporting by Sudarshan Varadhan; Editing by Alexandra Ulmer and Catherine Evans

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