Will there be an Indian revolution?

Electricity, light, cars: India's new revolution

THE LARGE SOLAR WAVE

India's renewable energy sector is also growing at the speed of light. At the Paris Climate Conference in December 2015, Modi surprised many with his announcement that India would add 160 gigawatts (GW) of wind and solar energy to the existing 26 GW by 2022. The entire US currently has just over 100 GW. One gigawatt can supply 100 million home LEDs with energy.

“That is an ambitious goal,” says energy expert Niklas Höhne. He is the founder of the NewClimate Institute, a European research center. "There's a lot of momentum going on, and now two Indian countries are thinking about switching to 100 percent renewable energy, which is remarkable."

“Green electricity is no longer expensive or difficult to build, and it fits our needs well,” says Goyal. With all the benefits, every country should take this route, he adds.

India's boom in solar and wind energy has dramatically reduced costs: They fell from 12 cents per kWh to just 4 cents per kWh for solar energy. It's cheaper than coal. One result of this, so Goyal's hope, will be that no new coal-fired power plant will be needed after 2022. Some analysis suggests that generating electricity in some of India's existing coal-fired power plants is more expensive than building new solar panels. Goyal believes India will soon stop all steam coal imports.

These gains are particularly impressive given India's sizeable economic and social challenges, says Höhne.

As for the 300 million people without access to electricity, that is changing too. Goyal believes the last household will be connected in 2019 - three years ahead of India's target year 2022.

“Prime Minister Modi grew up in poor circumstances. He knows what it's like to have no electricity. He is fully committed to achieving this goal, ”says Goyal.

India's energy revolution could soon transform the country. But it also creates "solutions that other countries in the world can reproduce and thus carry out their own sustainable energy transition," says Rachel Kyte. She is the head of Sustainable Energy for All and the UN Secretary General's special envoy.

ELECTRIC DRIVING

Electric cars are the next big train India wants to jump on. The country has commissioned a study to investigate how the country's entire vehicle fleet could be 100 percent electrically powered by 2030. This is not yet an official government goal.

But Goyal believes that by that date, electric cars will be the only vehicles left for sale - because of their low running costs, low maintenance or repairs, and long life. The batteries will also work very well as storage devices for solar and wind energy. There will also be no need for subsidies, since India is already taxing gasoline at the world average - 50 percent higher than the USA.

“We do all of this, even if nobody else does it. We have a big role to play in the fight against climate change, ”said Goyal.