Pralhad Joshi takes up MNRE charge and the 500-GW challenge

Joshi comes to the MNRE after a stint at the Coal Ministry, where he is credited with ramping up India's coal production to a record 1 BT in 2023-24
Alt="Pralhad Joshi"
Pralhad Joshi takes up MNRE charge and the 500-GW challengeX

New Delhi: Pralhad Joshi, former Minister for Coal and Mines, took charge of his new portfolio as the Minister for New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) on Tuesday with a promise to increase the share of Renewable Energy (RE) in India's energy mix. "Renewable Energy is the energy source for the future. Renewable Energy is already contributing immensely to the energy security of the nation. And we will aim to expand RE in India's energy mix," he said.

He was accompanied by his wife, daughter and son-in-law. Before taking charge of the position, the minister, along with his family members, took off his footwear and offered prayers.

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Joshi comes to MNRE from Coal Ministry

Joshi comes to the MNRE after a five-year stint with the Ministry of Coal, where he is credited with ramping up India's coal production to a record 1 Billion Tonne (BT) in 2023-24. He oversaw the rollout of the commercial coal mine auction regime and also advocated India's stance on coal strongly despite international pressure to phase it out.

Priorities of the new job at MNRE

The new appointment at the MNRE will see Joshi tackle the challenge of overseeing the installation of 500 GW of RE by 2030, as pledged by India as part of the Panchamrit pledges at COP-28. He will also face the challenge of increasing the share of RE in India's total power generation, which is still nominal at 12.43 percent (2023-24) even though RE capacities constitute 42.26 percent of India’s total installed capacity. And he will be steering the implementation of India's ambitious National Green Hydrogen Mission.

Alt="Pralhad Joshi"
For the first time, India crosses coal and lignite production of 1 billion tonnes in FY24: Pralhad Joshi

In addition, the new minister will have to overseeing tendering of RE projects at the pace of 50 GW a year, a target which the MNRE set out for itself last year but is yet to meet. Speaking to reporters, Joshi said under the guidance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a lot of development has happened in this sector and the country stands fourth globally in renewable energy in terms of installed capacity.

"The PM has put faith in me to lead this department and I will try to work hard to live up to his expectations," he said.

On the priorities for the sector, he said, "This (new and renewable) sector is already contributing towards India's energy security, and we will work in this direction. I will also review the 100-day plan which has now changed to 125 days." Joshi has replaced RK Singh, who lost the Lok Sabha election from the Arrah constituency, as the Minister for New and Renewable Energy.

Joshi is a five-time member of Parliament from the saffron party's bastion of Dharwad in Karnataka.

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