How to reach them?, Energy News, ET EnergyWorld
By Kirit Parikh
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement had five main points, which he called panchamrut (five nectars). By 2030, (1) India will have 500 GW of non-fossil power generation capacity, i.e. it will not use coal, lignite, petroleum products or gas ; (2) 50% of total energy consumption will come from renewable sources; (3) India’s net greenhouse gas emissions will be 1 GT lower than forecast for the year; (4) India’s emissions intensity (emissions per dollar of GDP) will be 45% lower; and (5) India will reach net zero by 2070, which means India’s net emissions will be zero. These ambitious goals are achievable with concerted effort and substantial cost. The Prime Minister recognized the cost and urged richer countries to provide US $ 1 trillion to help poorer countries take action for the climate.
500 GW of non-fossil capacity should represent more than 55% of the total installed capacity. If we consider the production of electricity from non-fossil energy, that is to say solar, wind, hydro, nuclear and biomass, it would be almost 50%. The CEA (Central Electricity Authority) foresees hydraulic, small hydropower, pumped storage, nuclear and biomass capacities by 2030 to be around 105 GW. Thus, some 400 GW of capacity must come from solar and wind power plants.
However, on the basis of model scenarios that we have developed at IRADe, the production of electricity from 500 GW of non-fossil capacity would only represent in terms of energy (MTOE) around 40%. Thus, additional actions will be necessary to achieve the objective of 50% energy from non-fossil sources. The IRADe scenarios did not include mitigation actions in the transport sector. If we consider the improvement in the efficiency of fuel consumption, the complete electrification of Indian railways and the modest diffusion of electric vehicles, we can reduce the use of petroleum products in the sector by about 100 MT. transport and PM’s ambitious announcement can be achieved. We also looked at reducing emissions. Compared to the objectives of the Paris Agreement, an improved solar and wind capacity of 400 GT by 2030, reduces CO2 and GHG emissions by almost 1 GT in 2030.
The main questions are: can we achieve the target of 400 GW of solar and wind capacity and adequate diffusion of electric vehicles by 2030, and if so what are its economic consequences. Our short-term goal is to have 175 GW of renewable capacity by 2022. While our progress in installed capacity from 39.55 GW in 2014-15 to 96.96 GW by July 2021 is impressive, it would be impressive. difficult, if not impossible, to meet the 175 GW target. by 2022. The tariff charged by developers of solar power plants has also dropped considerably during these years. When we were designing the first solar mission in 2009, I argued that even though a subsidy is required, we must do so in a way that ensures that incentives are not compromised to minimize costs. Reverse tendering was introduced when companies wishing to set up a solar power plant would bid for the tariff they would charge for 15 years. At the first auction in 2011, the bid price was Rs 11.5 per kWh. In recent auctions it was around Rs 2.5 per kWh. Thus, solar power, when available, has become competitive with coal power.
However, renewable energy has encountered some difficulties. Many states are failing to meet their Renewable Energy Obligation (RPO) which requires distribution companies (DISCOM) to have a pre-specified share of electricity from renewables. Some of them are unable to pay for the electricity they buy and prefer to buy electricity from public sector companies. Thus, a significant amount of renewable energy remains unsold. At the same time, some states are renegotiating terms they signed earlier that they must pay for renewable energy much more than the current cost of renewable energy. who came down. This created uncertainties that slowed the development of renewable energies in the country. Reaching 400 GW of solar and wind capacity by 2030 is therefore a huge challenge. For more than 30 years, various measures have been taken to improve the financial sustainability of DISCOMs with little success. With the exception of a handful of states, DICOMs are heavily indebted and continue to record losses. A radical approach is needed if DISCOMs are to absorb all the electricity that 400 GW of solar and wind capacity can
The study carried out at IRADe predicts that road transport vehicles will consume around 240 MT of oil in 2030. With even a modest projection of the spread of electric vehicles, a 10% ethanol blend, and an improvement in the fuel efficiency of all new vehicles, a reduction of over 100 MT of petroleum products can be achieved.
How much would solar and wind power cost? While the investment cost of wind and solar is comparable to that of a coal-fired plant, they only produce electricity about 20% of the time, compared to 80% for a coal-fired plant. Thus to replace a 1 MW coal power plant, it is necessary to invest in 4 MW of solar or wind power plants. This initial investment requirement implies that we have less funds available to invest in other sectors or programs. This decreases the rate of growth of the economy unless of course adequate climate finance on very concessional terms is available. Thus, the Prime Minister’s call for a US $ 1 trillion climate finance fund is essential to tackle climate change.
Besides the impact on India’s economic growth, there are other consequences that should not be overlooked. Reducing coal consumption means canceling India’s coal reserves and shutting down coal mines. The loss of jobs in both mining and coal transportation would not be offset by employment in renewable energy, which requires labor mainly during construction and very little for maintenance. . While some have argued that coal-fired power plants should be shut down for environmental and health reasons, this is not necessary. Clean carbon technologies and end-of-pipe measures to trap particles and oxides of sulfur and nitrous are available and would cost less. We need funds to provide VRS to coal mine workers and also to train them for other jobs.
The fifth goal of achieving Net Zero by 2070 can be achieved, but at a cost. To conclude, PM’s goals are technically achievable but involve additional challenges and costs.
[The author is Chairman, Integrated Research and Action for Development (IRADe)]