The government’s clean cooking scheme may benefit from rooftop solar energy

India is exploring a hybrid rooftop solar power model for cooking as part of an ambitious plan to reduce imports of costly fossil fuels, two government officials said.

The people, who asked not to be identified, said the plan, which is expected to be part of the Clean Cook mission, may also include an internal battery energy storage infrastructure to provide uninterrupted electricity to nearly 250 million households.

The switch to solar energy as a fuel for domestic cooking is being explored by the Ministries of Energy and Petroleum and Natural Gas. A total of 5.7 gigawatts (GW) of rooftop solar projects have been built in India so far and 24 states and union territories have identified the cities to be developed as solar cities. The plan will also add weight to India’s green energy credentials and help create demand for an ecosystem of manufacturing solar equipment for ingots, wafers, cells and modules.

Mint previously reported that the government plans to harness electricity for cooking by encouraging a shift to induction cooking by providing induction cookers to poor households in rural and urban areas. Any substitution of fuels for cooking and heating will improve per capita energy consumption in India.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi pledged at the COP26 summit in Glasgow in November to reduce India’s projected total carbon emissions by 1 billion tons by 2030, reduce the carbon intensity of the country’s economy by less than 45% by the end of the decade and achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2070. It includes The commitment is also to meet half of India’s energy needs from renewable energy by 2030 and increase non-fossil fuel power generation capacity to 500 gigawatts by the end of this decade. The emissions control commitments made by India at the COP26 summit are expected to benefit the country in the long run through new technologies in energy efficiency, carbon reduction and green fuels, according to the rating agency ICRA.

“The assurances given at COP26 will benefit the country; the missions need a focused roadmap and call for timely government interventions,” the ICRA said in a note on Wednesday, adding “the ambitious goals of COP26 open up huge investment opportunities across sectors such as renewables, the ecosystem for electric vehicles, ethanol blending, improved energy efficiency and carbon capture technologies.”

Inquiries sent by email to spokespersons for the Ministries of Energy, Oil and Natural Gas on Monday remained unanswered as of press time.

Storage business is an important part of India’s energy transition. The government revealed a file RAn incentive scheme of Rs.18,100 crore to develop a battery storage ecosystem, including the establishment of a manufacturing capacity of 55 GWh for advanced chemical cell batteries. Reliance Industries has announced plans to build a giant advanced energy storage plant.

India is also working on a wide range of carbon emissions and intensity reduction measures such as waiving R400 cess on each ton of coal used by energy projects that meet emissions standards, a scheme tentatively called the roadmap to a sustainable and inclusive approach through National Energy Efficiency, or Roshnee, and made it mandatory for coal-fueled projects to use at least 5% of biomass Pellets as part of the fuel mix to generate electricity and help farmers earn approx R15,000 crores per annum.

India’s green energy economy is attracting investor interest and received $7.27 billion in foreign direct investment from 2014 to 2015 through June 2021, according to the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE). Of this amount, $797.21 million was received during the period 2020-2021.

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