Trend report India: Sustainable energy solutions critical for a growing population


India, today the world’s second most populous country with 1,37 billion people, is expected to surpass China as the most populous country in the world during the 2020’s. The massive increase in population will undeniably put pressure on the energy supply in the country which today consists of 75 percent fossil energy sources.

Developing the energy infrastructure in a country with a growing population of that scale is naturally a significant and urgent challenge. When India’s Prime Minister held the opening remarks for the country’s large oil and gas conference Petrotech 2016, the message was:

 India needs energy which is accessible to the poor. It needs efficiency in energy use. As a responsible global citizen, India is committed to combating climate change, curbing emissions and ensuring a sustainable future. Given global uncertainties, India also needs energy security

 This is the foundation to what is today known as the four pillars of India’s future energy development; energy access, energy efficiency, energy sustainability and energy security.

The sustainability dimension is naturally a pivotal part of the energy mix and a crucial focus area going forward when India has committed to reduce its carbon footprint with 33 percent until 2030 (from year 2005 levels) through investments in renewable energy and natural gas.[1]

The Indian government set an ambitious target in 2015 to install 175 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2022. Of the total 175 GW, 100 GW will be solar power, 60 GW wind power, 10 GW bio energy and 5 GW small hydro power. Even if recent results show that India is somewhat behind on reaching its renewable energy targets, the latest reports estimate that the country by 2022 will have installed 54,7 GW capacity from wind power. A massive increase from the country’s confirmed wind power capacity at 35 GW in 2019. [2]

To succeed in that increase in wind power capacity, smart and effective solutions are critical in the infrastructural development, both at land and at sea. Today there are better suited and more optimized materials and solutions than ever for building large, efficient wind turbines, and the development is rapid. Therefore, it is logical that India is making considerable investments in establishing renewable energy sources which are estimated to be more cost effective than existing coal- and gas energy sources already before 2030. [3]

[1] Building a new energy security architecture, 2017, McKinsey&Company


[3] Global Energy Perspective 2019: Reference Case, Energy Insights, McKinsey