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Press Release: Suresh Prabhu - Renewable Energy a Win-Win Solution for India's Energy Security Challenge
25 Aug 2014

Shri Suresh P Prabhu, Former Union Minister, today released a series of reports on 'Renewable Energy Jobs and Finance' published by the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW) and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and. These reports are the first independent, external analysis of the employment opportunities for India solar energy and wind energy markets and draw from extensive discussions with stakeholders, and research and analysis of national, state and international programs. They also include an assessment of domestic and international opportunities to fund clean energy in India.

As per the reports, India's solar and wind programs have catalysed rapid growth providing much needed energy access, creating employment opportunities for India's workforce, and yet facing the challenges of financing.

Delivering the keynote address, Mr Suresh P Prabhu, said, "Energy access is a critical issue in India, where many people are still using kerosene causing fiscal as well as environmental damage. Unlike collateral damage caused by fossil fuels, renewable energy gives us a win-win situation. Today, renewable energy needs different types of funding and a long-term source of financing is essential. We need to rope in different financiers, including venture capitalists, to help develop renewable energy technologies, bring new innovation and improve efficiencies."

Mr Prabhu added, "Renewable energy has the capacity to boost economic activities in rural India, thus creating many more jobs than just job creation specific to the renewables sector."

The Indian solar industry has been maturing at a rapid pace, growing more than a hundredfold in four years to reach over 2.6 gigawatts (GW) of installed capacity (about the same as California) in 2014. India is also the 5th largest wind energy producer, with 20 GW of installed wind capacity.

Some of the key findings from the CEEW-NRDC reports are as follows:

Key Findings from Renewable Energy Jobs in India

  • Solar PV projects commissioned in India between 2011 and 2014 created approximately 24,000 jobs: Smaller projects upto 5 MW in size may provide the most employment opportunities per MW
  • Along with various estimates of job creation in the wind sector, grid-connected renewable energy is estimated to have created nearly 70,000 jobs in India so far
  • Majority of jobs created by solar PV plants are generated during construction and commissioning: In case of Kiran Energy's 20 MW Solar Plant in Rajasthan, 180 full time equivalent (FTE) jobs were created during the first year
  • Local communities are the main beneficiaries of employment generated during the Operations and Maintenance phase of wind power projects: Out of a total of 438 FTE jobs created by the Gamesa-ReNew Power 85 MW wind power project in Maharashtra, 1/5 th of the jobs were generated for locals in semiskilled and unskilled roles
  • Solar and wind companies must demonstrate greater transparency on jobs data: This will aid business and policy makers to formulate better policies and programs; and showcase the importance of renewable energy to the local economy
  • Solar rooftops present a viable alternative for companies looking to offset their spending on diesel backup power and also generates skilled employment in the process. Hero MotoCorp, the world's largest motorcycle manufacturer, have already installed a 80 kW rooftop PV project in Haryana, looking to scale it up to 1 MW

Person-days per MW Generated During Each Phase of a Solar Project

Key Findings from Renewable Energy Finance in India

  • Use generation based incentives and penalties in combination with any form of viability gap or tax related capital subsidies
  • Diverse financial mechanisms such as Infrastructure Debt Funds, priority sector lending, green bonds and tax incentives (such as Accelerated Depreciation/ tradable tax certificates) can improve access to low cost financing for renewable energy projects
  • Strict enforcement of Renewable Purchase Obligations (RPOs) and nurturing the Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) market will enhance investors' confidence
  • A green bank (capitalised through the National Clean Energy Fund) and green bonds (issued by the central/state governments) should be considered for leveraging more private investment in renewable energy

Dr Arunabha Ghosh, CEO of CEEW, an independent think-tank, added, "As nations race to become clean energy leaders, governments around the world will be closely following the progress of India's renewable energy revolution. It is essential that the Indian government adapts its strategy to boost confidence in projects and spur investment from a variety of funding sources and financial institutions."

"Clean energy development is vital to economic growth in India," said Anjali Jaiswal, Director of the Natural Resources Defense Council's India Initiative. "While the National Solar Mission and the forthcoming Wind Mission still face significant hurdles, India has already made important strides to attract new domestic and international players into the market and generate local jobs."

The full reports and issue papers can be found online here: Renewable Energy Jobs and Finance

About CEEW:

The Council on Energy, Environment and Water (http://ceew.in/) is an independent, not-for-profit policy research institution, chaired by former Union Minister Suresh Prabhu. CEEW addresses pressing global challenges through an integrated and internationally focused approach. It does so through high quality research, partnerships with public and private institutions, and engagement with and outreach to the wider public. The International Centre for Climate Governance has ranked CEEW as India's top climate change think-tank two years in a row. In 2014, the Global Go To Think Tank Index ranked CEEW 1st in India in three categories.

About NRDC:

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international non-profit environmental organization with more than 1.4 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC's India Initiative on Climate Change and Clean Energy, launched in 2009, works with partners in India to help build a low-carbon, sustainable economy. For more information, visit www.nrdc.org.

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