BENGALURU, India: Indian finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced several new clean energy initiatives in the government's annual federal budget speech on Wednesday (Feb 1), saying “green growth” is a top priority for the country.
More than US$8 billion dollars were announced for projects like mangrove restoration which help suck carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, converting waste into biogas and speeding up renewable energy initiatives. But details of how the funds will be spent are yet to be disclosed.
The minister said the injection of 35,000 crore rupees (US$4.3 billion) into India's energy transition will be channelled through the ministry of petroleum and natural gas to help India reach its goal of net zero emissions by 2070. India is currently the world's third highest-emitting nation.
Sitharaman also proposed government incentives for energy storage systems in India that would aid round-the-clock renewable energy use and announced a new framework for pumped storage systems for hydropower.
She set out an additional 20,700 crore rupees (US$ 2.5 billion) to facilitate new clean energy production in the Himalayan region of Ladakh, where electricity grid infrastructure remains a key sticking point.
Other programs to incentivize the use of alternative, less-polluting fertilizers and to cut down on chemical fertilizers were also announced, but details of how much will be spent were unclear.
Import taxes for components required to produce lithium-ion batteries, a key component in many electric vehicles, will be slashed, Sitharaman said. But no exemption was provided for protective taxes in the solar power sector.
The move toward clean energy has increasingly become a priority for India and governments around the world as countries try and limit global warming.
Sitharaman mentioned the growth of clean energy for the economy and jobs, the making of clean fuels through green hydrogen and the nation's climate action program all within the first few minutes of her speech.