‘The budget specifically spells out measures to usher in stability in renewable energy supplies’.
New Delhi: In the Union Budget 2023-24, “Green” found major prominence this time when Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman listed “Green growth” as one of the “Saptarishis” or the seven priority areas for the government in the first budget of “Amrit Kaal” and allocated over Rs 35,000 crore as priority capital investment for net zero transition and energy security.
While presenting the Budget in Parliament on Wednesday, Nirmala Sitharaman said, “The Prime Minister has given a vision for “LiFE”, or Lifestyle for Environment, to spur a movement of environmentally conscious lifestyle. India is moving forward firmly for the ‘panchamrit’ and net-zero carbon emission by 2070 to usher in green industrial and economic transition. This Budget builds on our focus on green growth.”
Several important mission for a greener tomorrow like that of the Green Hydrogen Mission, Energy Storage Projects, Green Credit Programme, PM-PRANAM (PM Programme for Restoration, Awareness, Nourishment and Amelioration of Mother Earth), GOBARdhan scheme (Waste to Wealth plants), MISHTI programme for mangrove plantation, among others, would form the core of the government’s green mission programme.
Environmentalists and green industry leaders have cheered the “green budget” of the Union government and almost all have equivocally said that the government’s walk towards “greener transition” is timely and would be a guiding force towards a sustainable economy. Dr Satish Kumar, President and Executive Director, Alliance for an Energy Efficient Economy (AEEE), told The Sunday Guardian, “The Budget appears to usher a phase of ‘green transition’, guiding the economy toward a sustainable development pathway. By focusing on implementing various initiatives to increase energy efficiency and lower carbon intensity, it demonstrates a commitment to foster green growth in the nation.” Dr Kumar also praised the government’s National Green Hydrogen Mission where the finance minister has allocated a total of Rs 19,000 crore that would support and contribute to green growth and a net zero carbon future, with a reduced dependency on fossil fuel. The target for low dependence on fossil fuel would also mean there would be rising demand for electric vehicles and batteries that would power not only vehicles, but also renewable energy sources.
The finance minister said during her Budget speech that the government will be providing support through Viability Gap Funding for Battery Energy Storage Systems with capacity of 4,000 MWH. Not only this, she also announced that the Inter-state transmission system for evacuation and grid integration of 13 GW renewable energy from Ladakh will be constructed with investment of Rs 20,700 crore, including central support of Rs 8,300 crore.
Pratik Agarwal, Managing Director of Sterlite Power, and Serentica, told The Sunday Guardian, “The finance minister has taken proactive steps to promote battery storage and pumped storage projects to ensure stable and round the clock supplies from renewable resources like solar and wind power. Focus on discoms is key to achieve any real progress in the power sector, commend the measure of tying 0.5% of the state deficit to power sector reforms. This is an added incentive for the states to reform the DISCOMs. However, along with this, a major incentive and disincentive package for the discoms would prove beneficial. Overall, the budget has pushed all the right buttons and is well in line with the macroeconomic goals of the country.” R.P.V. Prasad, CEO, Envision Wind Power Technologies India Pvt. Ltd, told this newspaper, “The budget specifically spells out measures to usher in stability in renewable energy supplies by introducing viability gap funding for battery energy storage systems. The budget also plans to introduce a detailed framework on pumped storage projects. Both these measures are expected to boost setting up of hybrid renewable projects and will certainly raise the share of renewable power in the overall energy mix.”