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Editorial of the Day (18th May): Hurdles on Path to Green

Context

  • 2023 was the warmest year on record, highlighting the urgency of climate action.
  • India is the third-largest carbon emitter, with sectors like power, steel, cement, chemicals, fertilisers, and refineries under scrutiny.

Government Initiatives

The government supports a shift to green energy through various schemes:

  • PLI scheme for renewable energy manufacturing
  • Viability gap funding for offshore wind and battery storage
  • FAME scheme for electric vehicles
  • National Green Hydrogen Mission
  • Amendments to the Energy Conservation bill
  • Green bonds

Transition Risks and Challenges

  • Entities face transition risks like policy, regulatory, technology, market, reputation, and legal issues during the green transformation.
  • Technological risk is a major challenge for entities adopting green technology voluntarily.
  • Huge investments are needed for the transition, estimated at Rs 11-12 lakh crore in renewable energy and Rs 5-6 lakh crore in transmission infrastructure and storage until 2030.

Renewable Energy and the Need for Storage

  • Non-fossil fuel-based installed capacity is projected to rise from 41% in 2022-23 to 59% by 2029-30, achieving the government’s climate goal.
  • Round-the-clock supply from renewable energy sources is crucial, requiring hybrid projects (wind and solar) and energy storage systems.

Decarbonizing Hard-to-Abate Sectors

  • Cement: Carbon capture utilisation and storage (CCUS) is essential to reduce emissions in cement manufacturing, which releases a tonne of carbon dioxide per tonne of cement produced.
    • NITI Aayog estimates the cement sector needs 2 million tonnes per annum CCUS capacity by 2030, with a capital cost of Rs 1,600-1,800 crore.
  • Steel: The industry aims to reduce its carbon footprint by 25-30% by 2030 through technological interventions.
  • Green Hydrogen: Planned usage in refining, chemical, and fertiliser sectors, with an estimated capex of Rs 8-9 lakh crore.

Voluntary Steps and Government Support

  • Many entities are taking voluntary steps towards green technology, but government support is crucial for a faster transition.
  • Support could include policy interventions, subsidies, duty exemptions, or tax benefits.

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