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Policy, climate, war make 2022 ‘pivot year’ for clean energy


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BENGALURU, India — For renewable energy companies in India, this is a good time to do business.

One of India’s largest renewable energy companies, Renew Power, will be among corporations large and small hoping to receive a share in the government’s $2.6 billion plan to encourage encourage domestic production of the components needed to produce solar energy. It was the biggest such incentive in the history of India.

Renew Power CEO Sumant Sinha said the government’s fund for clean energy sends “a strong signal” that the country wants to “become a location for the production of renewable energy equipment.” and ultimately a global alternative to China.”

“We are delighted to be a part of this journey,” he said.

The company has more than 100 clean energy projects across India and has become the world’s tenth largest solar and wind energy company in just over a decade.

Other major governments around the world have given the green light to ambitious renewable energy policies over the past year aimed at large-scale expansion of wind and solar power, along with the development of technologies. such as capturing carbon, capturing carbon dioxide, the main cause of climate change, and storing it in the ground. Some policies also include tax credits for purchasing electric vehicles, heat pumps, or energy-efficient materials for construction.

The United States signed it into law The Inflation Reduction Act, the most ambitious climate legislation in US history, the European parliament passed the EU REPower plan to reduce Russia’s dependence on fossil fuels and accelerate the transition to clean energy, and China has announced ambitious plans to help the country meet its 2030 clean energy goals five years ahead of time.

The task now, experts say, is to build on this momentum by 2023, strengthen the grid infrastructure and solve the ancillary problems that slow down the distribution and transmission of clean energy.

“From an energy perspective, 2022 will be a pivotal year. For the first time, we There is clear evidence Kingsmill Bond, energy strategist at the Rocky Mountain Institute, a clean energy nonprofit group, said fossil fuel demand after 200 years of growth peaked in 2019 and we’re now on along a plateau before inevitable decline.

RMI research has found that global energy demand has increased by about six exajoules by 2022 — enough power for about 6 million transatlantic flights. This is less than normal year-on-year growth, the report said, as energy use becomes more efficient. Growth in solar and wind power supply this year is also calculated to be about six exajoule.

Bond added that the price of clean energy is getting closer and closer to the price of fossil fuels, and in some cases even cheaper.

One Report of the International Energy Agency said oil prices had soared above $100 a barrel by mid-2022, and high gas and coal prices led to rising electricity costs around the world. However, increased use of clean energy has saved Asian countries, including China and India, a total of $34 billion over the past year. report establish.

Energy analysts say the global energy crisis caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and growing climate threats like catastrophic flooding in Pakistan has accelerated clean energy policies and the large investments required to transition to renewable energy, especially wind and solar power. , around the world.

The sudden lack of access to fossil fuels and the supply chain crisis are also other major reasons for the positive trend towards cleaner energy. Eg, Russia sells gas to Europe was reduced to a trickle flow.

Lauri Myllyvirta, lead analyst at the Center for Clean Air and Energy Research, said the invasion “has the effect of making it clear that clean energy is the solution.

Despite the positive momentum towards clean energy, there are also some pitfalls.

“The knee-jerk reaction has led some places to revert to fossil fuels even if it comes at a premium,” said Vibhuti Garg, an energy economist at the Institute of Energy Economics and Financial Analysis. more for taxpayers.

India’s coal production increased by about 17% from April to November 2022. Bangladesh increased natural gas imports and continued opening domestic thermal power plants. Germany, a strong proponent of clean energy, switch to coal and oil to meet its short-term energy needs.

“It was a good year for renewables but sadly, not a bad year for fossil fuels either,” added Garg.

But fueled by momentum from previous years, the worldwide clean energy sector is still taking off this year.

“You know, 20 years ago, renewables became the cleanest form of energy and then in the last few years, renewables became the cheapest form of energy,” said Dave Jones, energy analyst. quality at London-based environmental consultancy Ember. “Just this year, they have become the safest form of energy.”

Again report by the IEA says developments in 2022 have triggered unprecedented momentum towards renewables, with the world adding as much renewable energy in the next five years as it has done in the past 20.

“There is still a lot of work to be done but I think 2022 will be remembered as the year when renewables crossed all the boxes for the first time,” Jones said.

There is recognition from industry insiders that more work needs to be done to correct the scale of the transition.

Renew Power’s Sinha hopes that government policies in 2023 will focus on addressing bottlenecks preventing the development of clean energy.

“Right now, the power sector is designed around fossil fuels and suddenly you have all this clean energy flowing into the grid,” Sinha said.

“We need more proactive policies to find ways to make room for renewables.” ___

Follow Sibi Arasu on Twitter at @sibi123

The Associated Press’s climate and environment coverage receives support from a number of private foundations. See more about AP .’s climate initiative this. AP is solely responsible for all content.

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