India Should Double Down on Renewable to Achieve Energy Targets 2030: Study

India should double down on renewables to achieve its aggressive renewable energy targets in India’s electricity grid in 2030, according to a recent study by the researchers at UC Santa Barbara. 

The study analyzes electricity and carbon reduction costs linked with India’s energy targets in the electricity grid in 2030 and discovers that the majority of wind or wind-solar hybrid targets have the most cost-effective potential for power in India.

Building significant numbers of wind and solar plants approximately around 600 GW will reduce how often fossil fuel power plants must run, revealed in a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by the researcher Ranjit Deshmukh, and co-authors Duncan Callaway and Amol Phadke.

The study says that this will hold India’s 2030 electricity emissions at its 2018 level, at costs comparable to a fossil fuel-dominated grid while nearly doubling the supply of electricity.

Battery storage can cost-effectively avert the need for new fossil fuel power plants, as the cost decreases. India has set a target of 450 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2030. For comparison, the country’s total energy generation capacity today is about 380 GW, out of which 90 GW are of renewable energy, not including large hydropower stations.

However, according to the Council on Energy, Environment, and Water (CEEW), India would need to generate at least 83 percent of its electricity from (non-hydro power) renewable energy sources to reach net-zero by 2050. Reducing carbon emissions is the only option India should be concerned about, says the study. 

“Most of these countries have low historical carbon emissions compared to more industrialized countries,” remarked Ranjit Deshmukh, an assistant professor in the Environmental Studies Program who leads the Clean Energy Transformation Lab.

“So, the approach we take is that if renewable energy makes economic sense, then those countries should deploy more of it.”

Since the costs of wind and solar, as well as battery storage, are falling so rapidly, Deshmukh explained, it’s cost-effective to install these technologies instead of conventional fossil fuel technologies, like coal and natural gas, regardless of environmental considerations.

Based on his simulation of a few hundred scenarios, Deshmukh and his colleagues concluded that India could increase its target to 600 GW of renewable capacity by 2030 and increase the cost to its consumers by only a small amount or in many cases decrease the cost.

For minimizing the differences between energy supply and demand, batteries are becoming a cost-effective tool. They can store clean energy for times of peak demand, averting the need to call on conventional power plants, especially the expensive ones that will be operated infrequently, as the study asserts. 

However, without the ability to store and shift energy, renewables may not be able to prevent the need for building new coal and natural gas power plants if India hopes to meet peak demand.

Recently another report named, ‘India: Transforming to a net-zero emissions energy system‘ declared that To reach a net-zero emissions energy system by 2050, India needs a suitable policy and innovation-driven context to deploy clean energy technologies on a massive scale. It requires more and faster deployment of large-scale solar, wind, and hydropower to enable greater electrification across the country. 

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Bhoomika Singh

Bhoomika is a science graduate, with a strong interest in seeing how technology can impact the environment. She loves covering the intersection of technology, environment, and the positive impact it can have on the world accordingly.

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