India has upped its efforts to reduce its carbon footprint, increasing its 2030 target for renewable energy to 50% of the total supply. The increase comes soon after New Delhi announced it had already met its previous 2030 target of 40% in December 2021, about nine years ahead of schedule.
Part of the success is attributable to rural users’ adoption of renewable and clean energy sources. Recent news reports have even highlighted instances where efforts are being made to power entire villages with solar energy, with many villagers having to pay nothing for their day-to-day electricity use, since the cost of production for solar power after the initial investment on hardware is next to nothing, and the government is buying back excess production from homeowners with solar panels installed on their properties. The first such example comes from Modhera, Gujarat, where about 1,300 of the village’s 1,600 houses have been fitted with solar panels, while a 6MW solar plant with 15MWh storage has also been set up near the village as part of a $10 million project backed by the federal and provincial governments.
Apart from the direct benefits of uninterrupted clean energy supply, the reduced costs have made it more viable for households to move away from polluting practices such as burning dirty coal or firewood for heat and cooking and instead using electric or gas-powered alternatives. In several cases, however, the case is even more marked, as many poor households may not have even had access to power before the solar options became available. Children for whom it was difficult, if not impossible, to study at night unless they sat near candles or under public lighting, will now be able to hit the books in the safety of their own homes. We can say with some certainty that thousands, if not millions, of such children will make the effort worthwhile.
Pakistan should take note in this effort to not only brighten citizens’ lives today, but also the country’s prospects tomorrow.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 3rd, 2022.