(GIST OF KURUKSHETRA) Non-conventional Energy Sources

(GIST OF KURUKSHETRA) Non-conventional Energy Sources


Non-conventional Energy Sources


  • Energy occupies a pivotal position to facilitate the dream of a sustainably developed India. 
  • Sources of energy play a key role in determining the pace of global warming as conventional energy sources such as the burning of fossil fuels is the largest contributor to global climate change as they account for about 75% of the total global greenhouse emissions and about 90% of the total carbon dioxide emissions. 
  • Apart from adverse ecological implications, excessive reliance on conventional sources of energy will also result in their exhaustion.
  • India is gradually transitioning from conventional sources to non-conventional sources of energy for its needs and it is particularly significant as India is one of the fastest growing countries in the world and fifth largest economy
  • India holds a strategically important position in the global arena and India’s efforts in climate change will pave a direction for the future generation. 

Non-conventional Energy sources 

  • Non-conventional energy sources refer to those renewable sources of energy that are obtained from nature and are replenished at a rate faster than their consumption unlike conventional energy sources such as coal and natural gas.
  • These energy sources do not get depleted when used hence they are inexhaustible.
  • Further, they are regarded as clean sources of energy as they are less hazardous compared to conventional sources of energy.

Significance of Non-conventional Energy sources 

  • Transition to non-conventional sources of clean energy ensures the attainment of three Es in energy policies namely energy security, economic development and environmental sustainability. 
  • The shift towards non-conventional sources of energy will make this planet a better place to live as they not only help address the issue of climate change and global warming but also contribute to better public health outcomes.
  • The shift towards non-conventional sources of energy can help reduce the cost of energy supply and also ensure enhanced delivery of affordable clean energy that is accessible to all.
  • The transition to renewable energy sources will aid the Indian economy to delink itself from volatile international oil prices and also ease the burden of subsidies.
  • Further, the transition to non-conventional sources of energy leads to more employment and entrepreneurship opportunities and boosts exports.

Popular Non-conventional Energy sources in India

Solar Energy: 

  • Solar energy can be harnessed by converting solar energy into electric energy in solar plants. India, being a tropical country and its geographical location makes Solar energy a conducive source of energy. Solar energy has penetrated the rural belts of the country making and has evolved as one of the key sunrise sectors with a lot of potential. 

  • The country’s need for solar energy has led to the introduction of the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme for manufacturing of solar Photo-Voltaic (PV) modules with an outlay of Rs. 24,000 crores. 
  • The scheme is expected to create an additional 10,000 MW capacity of integrated solar PV manufacturing plants and reduce imports of solar PV cells and modules and provide adequate impetus to R&D. India has achieved 5th rank globally in solar power deployment by surpassing Italy and the efforts of the Government have led to the increase of solar power capacity by over 11 times.

Wind Energy: 

  • The kinetic energy of wind in motion is used to generate wind energy. 
  • The expansion of the wind industry in the country has created a strong ecosystem with a manufacturing base of about 10,000 MW per annum. 
  • As of 31st March 2021, India with a total installed capacity of 39.25 GW has the 4th highest wind installed capacity in the world.
  • India with its long coastline of around 7,500 km has immense potential in harnessing offshore wind energy.

Tidal Energy: 

  • The energy produced from the surge of ocean i.e from the rise and fall of waves is called tidal energy. 
  • Tidal energy is yet to take a full fledged form for commercial purposes and is still in the R&D phase. 
  • Relatively high cost and limited availability of sites with sufficiently high tidal ranges or flow pose constraints on its total availability.

Geo-thermal Energy: 

  • The energy generated from the heat derived from the subsurface of earth is called geo-thermal energy. The gradual decline of radioactive particles in the earth’s core generates geo-thermal energy.


  • Hydropower, or hydel power, is considered one of the oldest and largest sources of renewable energy. It generates electricity by harnessing the flow of water.

Biomass Energy: 

  • Biomass energy is generated by living organisms or organisms that lived earlier.
  • Biomass is an organic material and contains stored energy obtained from the sun. Burning of biomass results in the release of chemical energy in biomass in the form of heat.
  • According to the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), about 32% of the total primary energy use in India is still derived from biomass and more than 70% of the country’s population depends on biomass fuel.
  • A recent study by MNRE suggests that the present biomass availability in India is around 750 million metric tonnes annually.

Fuel Cell: 

  • Fuel cell refers to the source of energy that uses hydrogen and oxygen to generate electric power. Through chemical reactions with oxygen, fuel cells convert hydrogen obtained from diverse sources, into electricity. 
  • Water is the only end product of this process, making it a clean and sustainable energy source.

Governmental Interventions to Foster Non-conventional Energy sources

  • Permitting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) up to 100% under the automatic route for renewable energy projects.
  • Setting up of ultra-mega renewable energy Parks to provide land and transmission to renewable energy developers on a plug and play basis.
  • Waiving of Inter State Transmission System (ISTS) charges for inter-state sale of solar and wind power for projects to be commissioned by 30th June 2025.
  • Laying of new transmission lines and creating new sub-station capacity for evacuation of renewable power under Green Energy corridor scheme.
  • Pradhan Mantri Kisan Urja Suraksha Evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan (PM-KUSUM): PM-KUSUM aims for de- dieselisation of the farm sector along with providing energy security and increased income to farmers. The Scheme with a financial support of over Rs.34,000 crores from the Central Government has aimed to create additional 30.8 GW of solar capacity. PM-KUSUM has three key components namely:
  1. Creation of 10,000 MW of Decentralised Ground mounted grid connected solar power plants
  2. Solarisation of 15 lakh grid connected agriculture pumps
  3. Installation of 20 lakh agriculture pumps powered by solar energy
  • Rooftop Solar Phase-II Programme: Under this Programme 4000 MW rooftop solar (RTS) capacity addition is targeted through Central Financial Assistance (CFA) in the residential sector including for households in rural areas.
  • National Hydrogen Mission: The mission aims to make India a green hydrogen hub and help India to fulfil its target of production of 5 million tonnes of green hydrogen by 2030.
  • National Offshore Wind Energy Policy: Notified by the Government of India in 2015 the policy aims to develop offshore wind power in the country.
  • National wind solar hybrid policy: Adopted in 2018 by MNRE, it aims at providing a framework for promotion of large grid connected wind-solar PV hybrid projects for optimal and efficient utilisation of transmission infrastructure.

Challenges in Transition to Non-Conventional Energy Sources

  • Ensuring an enabling infrastructure and conducive ecosystem for facilitating a smooth transition to renewable energy 

  • The challenges of expanding power infrastructure to permit increased use of diverse energy sources and ensuring system flexibility. 
  • The need for massive investments for facilitating smooth transition to non-conventional energy sources and ensuring viable financing mechanisms to raise long term funds.
  • Lack of investor confidence in the renewable energy sector.
  • International green finance flows to India have been relatively low when compared to India’s climate goals. 
  • The ecosystem of green finance is impeded by issues such as long gestation gaps, increased capital cost, potential risk factors associated, etc.
  • Further, coping with immediate job and revenue loss due to switching from fossil fuels will also be a challenge. 

Way forward

  • Addressing key challenges require strategic planning for raising necessary finance and upskilling human resources.
  • To facilitate a smooth and sustainable transition to non-conventional sources of energy, mobilisation of green finance needs to be adopted at a faster rate. 
  • Greater deployment and optimal utilisation of innovative financial instruments like green bonds, crowdfunding, and infrastructure debt bonds play a key role in this regard. 
  • Facilitating increased public private partnership for funding and meeting necessary technological requirements is also important. 
  • It is also crucial to further escalate R&D expenditure on the domain of clean energy sources as it will boost innovation, and aid in the creation of resilient energy systems. 
  • Ensuring greater synergy among all the concerned stakeholders through a participatory approach can further help to fasten the pace of the shift towards renewable sources.



Study Material for UPSC General Studies Pre Cum Mains

Get The Gist 1 Year Subscription Online

Click Here to Download More Free Sample Material

<<Go Back To Main Page

Courtesy: Kurukshetra