• ReNew Power aims to install 36 gigawatts of renewable energy capacity by 2030.
  • COVID must not be allowed to derail the green energy revolution.
  • Education about renewable energy is also essential.

ReNew Power is India’s largest independent renewable energy company, generating one percent of the country’s power.

The company wants to help India meet its climate commitments by offering wind and solar power on an industrial scale.

As India’s population expands - the UN expects it to overtake China to become the world’s most populous country in 2024 - it is essential that clean energy is used to meet increased demand.

ReNew Power’s Chief Sustainability Officer Vaishali Nigam Sinha talked about her firm’s ambitions in an interview for the Great Reset Podcast, as part of this year’s Sustainable Development Impact Summit.

What are the biggest challenges to what you've set out to achieve?

There are a lot of issues around policy, governance and commitment; we see an understanding of policies that are required at the centre of government in India but less so at the state level.

There’s also the lifestyle issue. If we look at certain ways in which we live and improve on those, we can really convert the grey skies to blue skies. For instance, how we set up factories and how we do business can really help. It's all about sustainable commitment across all stakeholders.

If we all work together we will be able to achieve a lot of what we want. I always like to say that with challenges come opportunities and with opportunities come hope. So I am hopeful and I'm optimistic.

What are you doing specifically to advance that?

Our Lighting Lives programme provides last-mile electrification for schools. That's a perfect example of bringing attention to the remote parts of our country in a social responsibility programme. This is just one of the ways in which we are using renewable energy not only to provide clean energy, but also to educate.

How much more work needs to be done to move India away from fossil fuels and get the country on a renewable track?

Climate risk is real and upon us; it's having a devastating impact on humanity, but a lot of people just don't accept it, they are in denial and that's something we need to really work on.

Also, developing nations need a lot of assistance and a lot of understanding to be able to grow in a green and a clean way. That's an area that requires more discussion and debate.

Future of Energy India Decarbonizing Energy SDG 07: Affordable and Clean Energy
India’s rapid population growth has led to huge demand for energy.
Image: IEA

To meet our targets, we are looking at installing 36 gigawatts of renewable energy capacity by 2030. That will take a huge effort but we should not let challenges like the pandemic derail our journey because this is not a one-off – we’re going to have many more challenges and obstacles.

What are you looking to hear from leaders this week in terms of the sustainability agenda and energy?

The pandemic and the recovery is going to be an important part of the discussions. It has to be a green, inclusive, recovery.

Countries should renew and enhance commitments to cut back on carbon emissions; it’s always good to remind ourselves and renew commitments over again because that puts the whole exercise on top of the agenda, which is very important.

Funding technological support from developed countries to emerging countries to accelerate their energy transition should be discussed too.