Interim Budget 2024: India's Interim Budget Focuses On Green Economy, Climate Investments

The energy sector accounted for the maximum share of anthropogenic emissions (75.81 per cent), followed by agriculture (13.44 per cent), Industrial Process and Product Use (8.41 per cent) and waste (2.34 per cent), according to the document

Interim Budget 2024: India's Interim Budget Focuses On Green Economy, Climate Investments

Clean energy experts said the budget has got significant focus on green economic push (Representational)

New Delhi:

In an effort to achieve net-zero carbon emissions, India will solarise rooftops of one crore households and provide viability gap funding for harnessing offshore wind energy potential with an initial capacity of one gigawatt, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Thursday.

Presenting the interim budget for 2024-25, she also said that the government will mandate the phased blending of compressed biogas (CBG) in compressed natural gas (CNG) for transport and natural gas (PNG) for domestic purposes.

The finance minister emphasised that the government would enable one crore households to obtain up to 300 units of free electricity every month through the rooftop solar programme.

This will result in savings of up to Rs 18,000 annually for households from free solar electricity and selling the surplus to distribution companies, Sitharaman said.

According to an analysis by the Council on Energy, Environment, and Water (CEEW), 20-25 gigawatts of rooftop solar capacity could be supported through the solarisation of one crore households.

With a coastline of about 7,600 km (mainland), India has a good potential for offshore wind energy generation. The initial assessment of offshore wind energy potential within identified zones has been estimated to be about 70 gigawatt off the coast of Gujarat and Tamil Nadu.

India stands fourth globally in renewable energy installed capacity, fourth in wind power capacity and fifth in solar power capacity, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency's Renewable Capacity Statistics 2023.

The fast-growing South Asian nation will also set up coal gasification and liquefaction capacity of 100 MT by 2030, aiming to reduce imports of natural gas, methanol, and ammonia.

The finance minister said that financial assistance would be provided for the procurement of biomass aggregation machinery to support collection.

The government will expand and strengthen the e-vehicle ecosystem by supporting manufacturing and charging infrastructure. Greater adoption of e-buses for public transport networks will be encouraged through the payment security mechanism.

India will also launch a new scheme of bio-manufacturing and bio-foundry to provide environmentally friendly alternatives such as biodegradable polymers, bioplastics, biopharmaceuticals and bio-agri inputs, Sitharaman said. "This scheme will also help in transforming today's consumptive manufacturing paradigm to the one based on regenerative principles," she said.

Under Blue Economy 2.0, a scheme for restoration and adaptation measures, coastal aquaculture and mariculture with an integrated and multi-sectoral approach will be launched.

The government has provided 10 crore LPG connections under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana in the last 10 years.

In an effort to promote electrical efficiency, 36.9 crore LED bulbs, 72.2 lakh LED tube lights, and 23.6 lakh energy-efficient fans have been distributed under the UJALA scheme, and 1.3 crore LED streetlights have been installed under the Street Light National Programme.

India has committed to achieving net-zero emissions (a balance between greenhouse gases emitted and removed from the atmosphere) by 2070 and 50 per cent cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel-based energy resources by 2030.

According to India's third national communication submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in December 2023, the country reduced its GDP emission intensity by 33 per cent between 2005 and 2019, achieving the target 11 years in advance. The country aims to reduce the carbon intensity of its economy by 45 per cent by 2030.

The energy sector accounted for the maximum share of anthropogenic emissions (75.81 per cent), followed by agriculture (13.44 per cent), Industrial Process and Product Use (8.41 per cent) and waste (2.34 per cent), according to the document.

Climate and clean energy experts said the budget has got a significant focus on green economic push and climate investments.

The solarisation of rooftops will give a massive boost to energy access and decentralised clean solar energy, while the viability gap funding for offshore wind (projects) will change the game for wind energy and help in utilising India's long coastline, said Dhruba Purkayastha, India Director, Climate Policy Initiative.

Coal gasification, while controversial, can be a game changer for India's energy security amid the Global North's push for gas as a transitional fuel. India has abundant coal reserves which if gasified can produce a near equivalent to natural gas, he said.

The phased mandatory blending of compressed biogas with compressed natural gas for transport and PNG purposes, is a well thought through strategy to clean the coal gasified gas, Purkayastha said.

Vice President-India, Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet (GEAPP), Saurabh Kumar said the rooftop solar scheme marks a significant milestone for scaling-up India's clean energy ambitions.

The push for an EV ecosystem creation and the large-scale roll-out of e-buses through payment security mechanisms will decarbonise the mobility sector while propelling India as a potential EV manufacturing hub, he said and added that the announcement of a Rs 1 lakh crore corpus is a remarkable step to attract private investment in innovation, research and development in the clean energy sector.

Aarti Khosla, Director, Climate Trends, said incentivising individuals to save up to Rs 15,000-Rs 18,000 by selling surplus rooftop solar electricity to distribution companies will not only generate income but add up to put India in a strong position of climate leadership ahead of the COP33.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)