WASHINGTON (September 29, 2014) – In advance of the first meeting between President Obama and newly-elected Indian Prime Minister Modi today, a new report finds that India’s rapidly growing solar and wind programs are creating enormous economic opportunity, providing significant employment opportunities for India’s workforce, and expanding much-needed energy access for India’s citizens.
In just four years, India’s solar market has grown more than a hundred fold and India is now also the world’s fifth largest wind energy producer. Together, the wind and solar industries have already created approximately 70,000 clean energy jobs in India, which is likely an underestimate due to a lack of comprehensive job data in the country, according to new findings by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW). U.S. companies stand to benefit from India’s expanding market opportunities, including companies, such as First Solar, that are currently active in India’s clean energy market. To further build on these successes, innovative financing solutions are needed to realize the full potential of renewable energy in India.
“India’s clean energy development and continued economic growth go hand-in-hand. Expansion of wind and solar are creating new jobs for India’s workers, boosting energy access for its citizens and reducing the country’s climate impact on the world,” said Anjali Jaiswal, Director of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s India Initiative. “Strengthened collaboration between India and the United States is essential to ensuring India stays on its aggressive clean energy trajectory. This is an opportunity for the world’s two largest democracies to join together on critical investment in new clean tech research, innovation and development.”
Since 2010, India’s solar sector has grown to over 2.5 gigawatts (GW) of grid-connected installed solar energy, which is about equal to California. India has 20 GW of installed wind capacity with a potential of 100 GW. Though a lack of comprehensive job data exists, new analysis estimates 70,000 FTE jobs in India so far, 24,000 of which were created by solar photovoltaic projects commissioned in India between 2011 and 2014.
Building on the study’s promising findings, NRDC President Frances Beinecke sent a letter to President Obama, urging him to prioritize climate change and clean energy during this week’s summit with new Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The report, which is the first independent, external analysis of the employment opportunities for India’s solar energy and wind energy markets, also found that much more can be done to scale India’s renewable energy markets and create widespread job creation. Key recommendations for bolstering further clean energy growth include:
Boost Financing: To bolster confidence among financiers and overcome high interest rates in India, the U.S. and India can agree to increase bilateral funding for clean energy, and exchange knowledge on innovative financing instruments, such as green banks and green bonds, that leverage existing institutions.
In addition, the Indian government must diligently enforce Renewables Purchase Obligations and support further development of the Renewable Energy Certificate market.
Report Job Data: Companies in India should provide their project’s job creation numbers, like their international counterparts. Given the importance of employment in the Indian market, increasing the transparency on the number of jobs created in the renewable energy sector would strengthen public support and lender confidence in renewables. This practice is well-established in the U.S. and elsewhere, with companies publicizing job creation numbers alongside announcements of new clean energy projects.
Timely Policy Implementation: Policy delays have recently slowed solar and wind market growth in India. Both national and state programs must continue to grow market momentum through timely program implementation, with timelines for guidance, auction, and payments.
The full report can be found online here: http://www.nrdc.org/international/india/renewable-energy-jobs.asp
NRDC President Frances Beinecke’s letter to President Obama can be found here: http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/ajaiswal/NRDC%20Frances%20Beinecke%20Letter%20to%20President%20Obama%20re%20Summit%20with%20Prime%20Minister%20Modi%20Sept2014.pdf
Read more about the Indian renewable energy market in Anjali Jaiswal’s blog: http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/ajaiswal/accelerating_climate_action_5.html