The COVID19 Pandemic has obstructed growth worldwide. Almost each & every sector has taken a hit & the power sector especially the clean energy sector is no exception. The post Pandemic recovery phase can play a crucial & defining role in the transition to clean energy objectives for India. Here are different factors that will shape the clean energy sector in the post-pandemic period.
1) Government Strategies
The post COVID19 recovery phase will give the Indian government the chance to analyze & evaluate the current clean energy policies & reset them. The focus should be on bridging the gap that still exists between the usage of fossil fuels & clean energy sources. “In financial year 2019, subsidies for oil, gas and coal amounted to Rs 83,134 crore ($12.4 billion), compared to Rs 11,604 crore for renewables and electric mobility,” said the report “Mapping India’s Energy Subsidy 2020: Fossil fuels, renewables, electric vehicles”.
2) Increased Equipment Costs
The disruption of the global supply chain has been a major impediment to clean energy technologies. A long-haul to restoration will not only cause delays but it will significantly increase the cost of equipment used in various clean energy technologies & plants. India, for about 80% of its solar cells and modules depends on Chinese manufacturers.
3) Capital Investment
India’s clean energy sector is mostly financed by private & foreign capital & investments. If we assume a steady & gradual economic recovery in the post-pandemic scenario then our clean energy sector will also improve its strength.
4) Electricity Demand
The electricity demand shrunk to considerably low levels during the lockdown period & as a result, many states stopped withdrawing from Renewable Energy (RE) plants. As the demand for electricity is expected to gradually take an upward turn & so will the clean energy/renewable energy sector.
5) Thrust To Ongoing Projects
The lockdown period made it impossible for the execution of work at RE sites as man force was not available. In the post-recovery phase as the labours & manpower will resume to work it will hardly take on an average of 6-9 months to complete a project once land and evacuation facilities are available.
The Government’s efforts & policies like a draft bill to amend the Electricity Act, notified amid the lockdown, will add additional safeguards, such as provisions for a national RE policy, stricter compliance mechanism for renewable purchase obligation, and an Electricity Contract Enforcement Authority that may protect RE and other generators from threats of reneging.
Also in the post COVID19 scenario, the government should reconsider the centralized approach to clean energy policies & instead let the states chart their transitional pathways. In the recovery phase, the energy transition can be used as a motivating & catalytic force for economic growth & also directing the clean energy sector for more resilience. The post COVID19 scenario must be pushed for positive reforms and overdue structural changes to build a strong & resilient clean energy infrastructure.