Aggressive Renewable Energy Push Likely to Continue in Modi 3.0

With India’s long-winded election process coming to a close and Narendra Modi sworn in as Prime Minister for a third consecutive term, the country’s aggressive renewable energy push is likely to continue.

In the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) second term in office, renewable energy was one of the cornerstones of the government’s economic agenda. The government undertook a series of initiatives to strengthen India’s energy security by augmenting solar and wind capacity to complement coal-based thermal, which is still the country’s primary energy source. India displaced Japan to become the third-largest solar energy producer in 2023.

Going into the elections, the BJP had outlined its ambitious clean energy vision in its manifesto. It promised ‘energy independence’ by 2047 and a reduction in petroleum imports through a mix of electric mobility, a network of charging stations, renewable energy generation, and improved energy efficiency.

Much before the election schedule was announced, the government approved the ₹750.21 billion (~$9.05 billion) PM-Surya Ghar: Muft Bijli Yojana, a program to install rooftop solar on 10 million households.

Among other significant promises, the BJP emphasized incentivizing private sector investment in large-scale battery energy storage systems infrastructure to foster renewable energy integration, grid stability, and resilience.

Expanding green hydrogen production, developing technologies to make India a major green hydrogen production hub, and positioning the country as a global manufacturing hub for wind, solar, and green hydrogen were also part of the BJP’s manifesto.

Unlike other elements of the government’s economic agenda, renewable energy has not faced political opposition in India. Many states have also embarked on clean energy programs. For instance, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, where non-BJP parties are in power, are among the leading states in the country for wind and solar energy.

The Opposition Congress Party’s manifesto also devoted significant space to renewable energy. Committing itself to mobilizing the massive capital required for India’s green energy transition and achieving the goal of net zero by 2070, it had vowed to set up a Green Transition Fund of India together with state governments and the private sector.

Interestingly, one of the allies in the new government will be the Telugu Desam Party of Andhra Pradesh. Its leader, N Chandrababu Naidu, who will take over as chief minister of the state for a fourth time, has the reputation of being a forward-looking, industry-friendly politician. Andhra Pradesh added  the fifth-largest solar capacity of 4.9 GW in the first quarter of 2024, according to Mercom India’s Q1 2024 India Solar Market Update .

With the political consensus about the need to integrate more renewable energy capacity into the country’s power mix, the BJP-led coalition govrernment can be expected to help sustain the growth trajectory the sector saw in the party’s earlier two terms in office.

Addressing the party after the BJP and its alliance partners won enough seats to form a government, Modi hinted at policy continuity regarding clean energy. He spoke about India’s commitment to the clean energy transition, green industrialization, and green mobility.

In recent years, India’s energy demand has kept pace with rising industrial activity. This year has already seen a peak energy demand of 250 GW, driven also by unprecedented summer temperatures across India. Solar and wind have played a significant role in meeting this demand.

With R.K.Singh, who was Minister of Power and New and Renewable Energy, and his deputy in the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy Bhagwant Khuba losing their seats in the elections, new ministers will be given charge of these portfolios.

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