When is Electricity getting cheap in India?
For all our tall talks of technology-driven society, and thriving of renewables in coming future, we need to look beyond conventional energy options. Solar energy is already getting popular regardless of governmental support. Estimate the relief one gets when a private company like Avaada Power sells electricity at merely Rs. 2.44 per unit in Rajasthan.
However to say, the fall in the price may not be quite healthy, experts opine. Beating the cheapest electricity providers in the country, Avaada’s tariff is suspiciously low to remain feasible in the long run. That being said, one can hope players like Avaada will break the ice in uprooting existing notions about our electricity consumption. In its best implementation, it can push the world towards a global solar family.
We are told that fossil-fuel dominated energy sector might be suffering depression due to renewables. Without dismissing such claims, let me assert that renewables haven’t caused this situation to bounce up. As a matter of fact, renewables have supported the energy market worldwide. For sure, fossil-generated electricity has failed to distribute energy across the population, and in this situation, the dirty grid is a safer, cheaper and readily available option.
Solar energy and in general all renewables can threaten conventional energy once we can store them at affordable prices. However, it will only be at local levels at the moment. Imagine a rooftop of a domestic house, or maybe an institutional commercial building in the next decade: they can serve as prototypes for renewable energy production cycle. Even so, India is far behind in replacing the electricity grids, unlike Germany or Australia. If everything works well, we can only hope to match Australia’s scenario in the coming 15–20 years. Which is great, as UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 7 is determined to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.
But prior to that, India might encounter an oil parity, thereby affecting the automobile industry. Our transportation options aren’t going to remain the same, the technology is going to change at an unprecedented velocity. As per Tony Seba, a Stanford-based writer, all vehicles will be run by electricity-powered sources by 2030 and will thus ensure superiority in terms of efficiency and costs. With the declining costs of solar energy, there might be no need to endorse electric vehicles at all.
Once the oil parity is achieved, continuously decreasing costs will shift the normal towards harvesting solar energy from rooftops. Such installations will not only earn revenue but also cater to an electricity-hungry Indian consumer base. This plan definitely needs further meditation because of its interdisciplinary nature and taxation implications.
Most of all, this idea of connecting the world through an instantaneous/incident solar energy deployed across the continents can integrate the neighboring countries. In the South Asian periphery, we can hope India Sri Lanka, Bangladesh China, and Pakistan to participate in a common-grid system, just as it is expected of southern parts and northern parts of North America and South America (respectively) to share the grids.
Until a point where we reach a mutually benefitting grid integration programme, conservation of energy will remain a utopia. Meanwhile, conventional or dirty energy should act as buffers to support our distant dreams of energy equality.