When we hear the word decarbonization, we always think – environment, which is a good thing, but decarbonization should not just be seen as an environmental remedy. Decarbonization impacts the economy of a country on a much wider scale, especially in a country like India which has a large demographic base and an aspiring economy.
n fact, decarbonization can have major long-term gains from an economic perspective for a nation state.
Every day we witness the effect of change in the price of fossil fuels on the domestic and International markets. Inflation, import, export and infrastructure development are all inversely related to the energy bill of a country. A rise in the price of petrol and diesel is ever the cause of grief among consumers and governments world over. And with the latest technological advances, renewables have started providing an answer to these economic problems.
Furthermore, problems like polluted air, polluted water and energy wastage, are not just environmental problems, they are also socio-economic problems because they put a stress on the healthcare and infrastructural systems of a country. Reducing this stress will automatically mean an improvement in quality of life.
Considering the fact that India’s fuel import bill for December 2017 rose by a humongous 35% to $10.34 billion in comparison to the corresponding month in the previous year, in India alone, the impact of a green energy strategy can be huge.
Right now, we are spending over $100 billion a year on importing fossil fuels, which is a lot of money, and it can be saved by investing in solar and other renewables. It will free up vital financial resources which can be used to create more jobs in the energy sector, bring down the cost of living, raise living standards, improve the quality of public health services, help reform the education sector, the list is endless.
The Indian green energy strategy has a tilt towards solar power, and not without reason. One, we are perennially a sunny country so solar works for us without sparing much effort. Two, wind energy farms require vast swathes of land, something which is not so readily available in our country when compared to land rich nations like US, Australia, and China. Three, a relatively poor grid connectivity means off-grid solar can help in electrification at a faster rate. That’s why India is witnessing a huge investment in commercial and residential solar systems.
Solar also gives rural and urban homeowners a chance to raise their standard of living without having to wait for the solar revolution to engulf the country. For example, solar can be very effective for a homeowner in a city like Delhi, where the summer and winter temperatures can vary to the extremes. A rooftop solar can help cut down the electricity cost of running air conditioners and water heaters by providing readymade energy from the sun.
There is no denying the fact that our planet needs decarbonization. The environmental aspects of it are a necessity whereas the economic incentives are the catalysts that will ultimately drive home this change in our way of living. And as always, while the developed world may lead this charge on the innovation front, the developing world is where the change being readily accepted and actively explored.