India has Tremendous Potential in Non-Conventional Sources of Energy

India Has Tremendous Potential In Non-Conventional Sources Of Energy, India is blessed with an abundance of non-Conventional Sources of Energy like sunlight, water, wind, and biomass. The growing need for energy has resulted within the country being made hooked into fossil fuels like coal, oil, and gas.

India is blessed with an abundance of non-Conventional Sources of Energy like sunlight, water, wind, and biomass. The growing need for energy has resulted in the country being made dependent on fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and gas. These are called non-conventional energy sources. It has the largest program for the development of these renewable energy resources.

There is a capacity of about 1, 95,000 MW of non-conventional energy in India. 31 % of it is in the form of solar energy, 30% in the ocean and geothermal, 26 % in biomass, and 10 % in wind energy.

Solar Energy

India is a tropical country. It has enormous possibilities of tapping solar energy. The largest solar plant in India is located at Madhapur, near Bhuj, where solar energy is used to sterilize milk cans. It is expected that the use of solar energy will be able to minimize the dependence of rural households on firewood and dung cakes. Solar power in India is a fast-developing industry. The country's solar installed capacity reached 34.045 GW as of 31 January 2020. India has the lowest capital cost per MW globally to install solar power plants.

Wind power

India now ranks as a “wind superpower” in the world. The largest wind farm cluster is located in Tamil Nadu from Nagarcoil to Madurai.. Apart from these, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Gujarat, Kerala, Maharashtra, and Lakshadweep have important wind farms. Nagarcoil and Jaisalmer are well known for the effective use of wind energy in the country. Wind power generation capacity in India has significantly increased in recent years. As of 31 December 2019 the total installed wind power capacity was 37.505 GW, the fourth largest installed wind power capacity in the world.


Decomposition of organic matter yields gas, which has higher thermal efficiency in comparison to kerosene, dung cake, and charcoal. Biogas plants are set up at municipal, cooperative and individual levels. The plants using cattle dung are known as ‘Gobar gas plants’ in rural India. These provide twin benefits to the farmer in the form of energy and improved quality of manure.

In India, the estimate for the production of biogas is about 20,757 lakh cubic meters in 2014-15. This is equivalent to 6.6 crores domestic LPG cylinders. This is equivalent to 5% of the total LPG consumption in the country today.

Tidal Energy

Oceanic tides can be used to generate electricity. Floodgate dams are built across inlets. During high tide, water flows into the inlet and gets trapped when the gate is closed. After the tide falls outside the flood gate, the water retained by the floodgate flows back to the sea via a pipe that carries it through a power-generating turbine.

According to the estimates of the Indian government, the country has a potential of 8,000 MW of tidal energy. This includes about 7,000 MW in the Gulf of Cambay in Gujarat, 1,200 MW in the Gulf of Kutch, and 100 MW in the Gangetic delta in the Sunderbans region of West Bengal.

Why do we need non-conventional energy resources?

As the consumption of energy grows, the population depends more and more on fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and gas day by day. There is a need to secure the energy supply for the future since the prices of gas and oil keep rising with each passing day. So we need to use more and more renewable sources of energy. For the effective exploitation of non-conventional sources, there has been an establishment of a separate department namely the “Department of non-conventional sources of energy” by the government of India.

Energy is the primary and most universal measure of all kinds of work by human beings and nature. Everything that happens in the world is the expression of the flow of energy in one of its forms. Energy is the major input to drive the life cycle and improve it. Energy consumption is closely related to the progress of mankind. In the future, improvement in the living standard of mankind, the industrialization of the developing countries, and the global demand for energy will increase with the ever-growing population. The development of infrastructure plays a significant role to sustain economic growth. The power sector is one of the major significant constituents of infrastructure. In general, India is dependent on conventional sources of energy like thermal, hydro, and nuclear.


The conventional sources of energy are generally nonrenewable sources of energy, which are being used for a long time. These sources of energy are being used extensively in such a way that their known reserves have been depleted to a great extent. The sources of energy that are being produced continuously in nature and are inexhaustible are called non-conventional energy (or) renewable sources of energy. Figure 1 provides the pictorial views of different forms of non-conventional energy sources and renewable energy source options, respectively.

Different non-conventional sources are briefly discussed as follows-

2.1 Solar energy

Solar energy is the most readily available and free source of energy since prehistoric times. It is estimated that solar energy equivalent to over 15,000 times the world's annual commercial energy consumption reaches the earth every year. Solar energy can be utilized through two different routes, as solar thermal routes and solar electric (solar photovoltaic) routes. The solar thermal route uses the sun's heat to produce hot water or air, cook food, dry materials etc. Solar photovoltaic uses the sun's heat to produce electricity for lighting home and building, running motors, pumps, electric appliances, and lighting. In the solar thermal route, solar energy can be converted into thermal energy with the help of solar collectors and receivers known as solar thermal devices.

2.2 Wind energy

Wind energy is basically harnessing wind power to produce electricity. The kinetic energy of the wind is converted to electrical energy. When solar radiation enters the earth's atmosphere, different regions of the atmosphere are heated to different degrees because of the earth's curvature. This heating is higher at the equator and lowest at the poles. Since air tends to flow from warmer to cooler regions, this causes what we call winds, and it is these airflows that are harnessed in windmills and wind turbines to produce power. Now wind power is harnessed to generate electricity on a larger scale with better technology.

2.3 Bioenergy

Bio-energy, in the form of biogas, which is derived from biomass, is expected to become one of the key energy resources for global sustainable development. Biomass is a renewable energy resource derived from the carbonaceous waste of various human and natural activities. Biomass does not add carbon dioxide to the atmosphere as it absorbs the same amount of carbon in growing as it releases when consumed as a fuel. Its advantage is that it can be used to generate electricity with the same equipment that is now being used for burning fossil fuels. Bioenergy is being used for cooking, mechanical applications, pumping, power generation, etc.

2.4 Hydro energy

The potential energy of falling water, captured and converted to mechanical energy by waterwheels, powered the start of the industrial revolution. Wherever sufficient head, or change in elevation, could be found, rivers and streams were dammed and mills were built. Water under pressure flows through a turbine and causes it to spin. The Turbine is connected to a generator, which produces electricity.

2.5 Ocean energy

The ocean contains two types of energy: thermal energy from the sun's heat, and mechanical energy from the tides and waves. Ocean thermal energy is used for many applications, including electricity generation. There are three types of electricity conversion systems: closed-cycle, open-cycle, and hybrid. Closed cycle systems use the ocean's warm surface water to vaporize a working fluid, which has a low boiling point, such as ammonia. The vapor expands and turns a turbine. The turbine then activates a generator to produce electricity. Open-cycle systems actually boil the seawater by operating at low pressures. This produces steam that passes through a turbine/generator. The hybrid systems combine both closed-cycle and open-cycle systems. Ocean mechanical energy is quite different from ocean thermal energy. Even though the sun affects all ocean activity, tides are driven primarily by the gravitational pull of the moon, and waves are driven primarily by the winds. A barrage (dam) is typically used to convert tidal energy into electricity by forcing the water through turbines, activating a generator.

2.6 Energy from Wastes

An estimated 50 million tons of solid waste and approximately 6,000 million cubic meters of liquid waste are generated annually in the urban areas of India. In India, there is a great potentiality of generating approximately 2,600 MW of power from urban and municipal wastes and approximately, 1,300 MW from industrial wastes, respectively. A total of 48 projects with an aggregate capacity of about 69.62 MW ex. have been installed in the country thereby utilizing only 1.8% of the potential that exists.


In India, the Department of Non-Conventional Energy Sources (DNES) was created in the Ministry of Energy in the year of 1982 to look after all the aspects relating to new and renewable energy. The Department was upgraded into a separate Ministry of Non-Conventional Energy Sources (MNES) in 1992 and was rechristened as Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) in October 2006. As per the information furnished by MNRE, starting with the 9th Plan, there has been a consistent increase in the pace of renewable energy development.

Reportedly, India's renewable energy installed capacity has grown at an annual rate of 23%, rising from about 3900 MW in 2002-03 to about 24000 MW in 2011-12. Energy generated by using wind, solar, small hydro, tides, geothermal heat, and biomass is known as non-conventional energy. All these sources are the renewable processes of energy generation and do not cause environmental pollution. Our country has been endowed with adequate natural resources.


  • Non-conventional/renewable energy is an indigenous source available in considerable quantities to all developing nations and capable, in the principle of having a significant local, regional or national economic impact.
  • There is a great scope of research and development in non-conventional / renewable energy sectors regarding its future development and scientific utilization.
  • The power plants based on renewable do not have any fuel cost and hence negligible running cost.
  • Renewable has low energy density and more or less there is no pollution or ecological balance problem. Provide energy in an environmentally benign manner.
  • The use of non-conventional/renewable energy could help to conserve foreign exchange and generate local employment if conservation technologies are designed, manufactured, assembled, and installed locally.
  • Short gestation period and low investment.


The sustainable economic development and growth of any country are closely related to the development and security of its energy sectors. Concerning the finite and limited reserves of conventional energy sources and their impact on the environment, great emphasis should be given to the development of non-conventional energy sectors and their proper utilization for the benefit and betterment of mankind. Such initiatives would also be helpful to create many employment opportunities at all levels, especially in rural areas. Thus, mainstreaming of non-conventional and renewable energy technologies is becoming very essential for developing countries. In India, there is great scope for the development of non-conventional and renewable energy sectors. India is the only country that has an exclusive Ministry for New and Non-Conventional Energy Sources. India possesses the largest decentralized solar energy program, the second-largest biogas and improved stove programs, and the fifth largest wind power program in the world.

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