India is at the forefront of the global energy transition.

The global energy transition goes through India

From one of the world’s most polluting countries to one of the world’s leaders in the decarbonization of the global energy system. This is the medium-term outlook for India. In the coming years, China and India are expected to account for more than half of the increase in installed renewable power capacity worldwide. This growth will be led by solar PV technology, which will be closely followed by wind power.

All roads to the success of the global energy transition pass through India, both in terms of size and development and influence potential. As a result, success is inextricably linked to the Asian country’s prosperity.

As the world seeks to accelerate the pace of energy transformation, India is uniquely positioned to pioneer a new model of inclusive, low-carbon growth. This is according to the International Energy Agency’s India Energy Outlook 2021. (IEA).

Climate change and energy

India’s future prosperity will be determined by how heavily it relies on affordable, clean, and dependable energy. And there is a lot of room for growth in terms of energy demand and infrastructure here.

In recent years, the Asian country has made significant efforts to modernize and expand its electricity system within its borders: it has connected hundreds of millions of its citizens to electricity, promoted the adoption of high-efficiency LED lighting in most homes, and driven a massive expansion of renewable energy sources, led by solar power. According to the IEA report, the benefits to Indian citizens and their quality of life have been palpable.

Since 2000, the country’s energy consumption has more than doubled, and coal, oil, and solid biomass continue to meet 80 percent of demand. However, per capita energy use, consumption, and emissions are less than half of the global average.

The global response to climate change is a critical issue in the current situation. India has contributed relatively little to the global total of greenhouse gas emissions thus far, but the country is already feeling the effects.

Its renewable energy plan, which was outlined in part during the COP26 meeting, includes, among other things, targets to quadruple renewable electricity production by 2030, more than double natural gas’s contribution to the energy mix, improve energy efficiency and transportation infrastructure, increase domestic coal production, and reduce reliance on fossil fuel imports.

Risks and issues to be addressed

However, not everything on the Asian country’s horizon is yet clear. The path to a largely gas-powered economy is not entirely clear. The natural gas market in India is expanding rapidly, but its role varies by sector, scenario, and time.

Furthermore, India faces energy security threats, with the country’s combined fossil fuel import bill set to triple over the next two decades, with oil serving as the primary component. This trend demonstrates the ongoing risks to energy security that the country faces as a result of its reliance on foreign energy.

The covid-19 crisis must be added to these considerations. The pandemic has hampered efforts to address other major issues. These include the continued reliance on solid biomass – primarily wood – as a cooking energy source for approximately 660 million people, financially troubled electricity distribution companies, and air quality that has made India one of the most polluted countries on the planet.

Every year, the urban population of what will soon be the world’s most populous country grows by the equivalent of a city the size of Los Angeles. To meet the increase in electricity demand over the next twenty years, India will need to build an electricity system comparable to that of the European Union. India’s size and dynamism appear to be keeping it at the center of the global energy chessboard.

The rate of urbanization in India has been slower than in other countries. Despite a relatively low rate of urbanization, India’s size means that 270 million people will be added to the country’s urban population over the next two decades. This will result in a rapid increase in the number of buildings.

This energy path to be followed is included in the Asian country’s renewable energy plan. This plan calls for expanding the wind and solar park to 175 GW by 2022, with the ultimate goal of reaching the 450 GW (from wind and photovoltaic) mentioned above by 2030. With these figures, India commits to increasing installed renewable capacity by 20% per year until the target is met.

Massive energy storage

Its dedication to renewables requires India to have greater flexibility in its energy matrix, including the development of larger-scale energy storage, in order to increase the flexibility of the electricity system and favor the integration of renewables into the country’s energy mix.

A recent Network Analysis and Planning study conducted by NREL (National Renewable Energy Laboratory of the United States) technicians measured the potential growth of energy storage in different Asian countries using different cost scenarios, policies, and technology regulations, resulting in different long-term storage growth figures for these countries.

The energy storage capacity of these scenarios in India will range from 50-120 GW or 160-800 GWh by 2030, and will increase by 180-800 GW (750-4,800 GWh) by 2050. According to this model, 50 GW of energy storage by 2030 represents a lower bound estimate for the total size of the country’s storage market. The majority of this capacity is expected to be provided by battery storage projects.

Commodity and electricity prices

The report’s best-case scenario shows how energy storage can result in a reasonable increase in renewable deployment, a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector, and can help reduce electricity costs, provided the numbers are correct and there are no price increases for the fossil resources it is intended to replace.

It is worth recalling the recent scenario in Europe and Spain, with drastic increases in the price of electricity due to price pressure on scarce resources such as natural gas and oil, as well as the rise in the stock markets of CO2 emission rights.

Furthermore, as of today, one of the major concerns of any country’s energy transition is the high price of raw materials used in this paradigm shift. As indicated in an IEA report prepared and published a few months ago, these high prices affect and will affect the cost of manufacturing the elements of the various renewable technologies. This high cost may mean a slight halt or even a slight setback in the seemingly unstoppable progress of wind and photovoltaic energy implementation.

With these factors on the horizon, it will be interesting to see how the Indian government adapts to these new challenges while staying on track with its proposed roadmap. Political action will be critical in the energy sector. This will be a difficult task in the coming years.

From one of the world’s most polluting countries to one of the world’s leaders in the decarbonization of the global energy system. This is the medium-term outlook for India. In the coming years, China and India are expected to account for more than half of the increase in installed renewable power capacity worldwide. This growth will be led by solar PV technology, which will be closely followed by wind power.

All roads to the success of the global energy transition pass through India, both in terms of size and development and influence potential. As a result, success is inextricably linked to the Asian country’s prosperity.

As the world seeks to accelerate the pace of energy transformation, India is uniquely positioned to pioneer a new model of inclusive, low-carbon growth. This is according to the International Energy Agency’s India Energy Outlook 2021. (IEA).

Climate change and energy

India’s future prosperity will be determined by how heavily it relies on affordable, clean, and dependable energy. And there is a lot of room for growth in terms of energy demand and infrastructure here.

In recent years, the Asian country has made significant efforts to modernize and expand its electricity system within its borders: it has connected hundreds of millions of its citizens to electricity, promoted the adoption of high-efficiency LED lighting in most homes, and driven a massive expansion of renewable energy sources, led by solar power. According to the IEA report, the benefits to Indian citizens and their quality of life have been palpable.

Since 2000, the country’s energy consumption has more than doubled, and coal, oil, and solid biomass continue to meet 80 percent of demand. However, per capita energy use, consumption, and emissions are less than half of the global average.

The global response to climate change is a critical issue in the current situation. India has contributed relatively little to the global total of greenhouse gas emissions thus far, but the country is already feeling the effects.

Its renewable energy plan, which was outlined in part during the COP26 meeting, includes, among other things, targets to quadruple renewable electricity production by 2030, more than double natural gas’s contribution to the energy mix, improve energy efficiency and transportation infrastructure, increase domestic coal production, and reduce reliance on fossil fuel imports.

Risks and issues to be addressed

However, not everything on the Asian country’s horizon is yet clear. The path to a largely gas-powered economy is not entirely clear. The natural gas market in India is expanding rapidly, but its role varies by sector, scenario, and time.

Furthermore, India faces energy security threats, with the country’s combined fossil fuel import bill set to triple over the next two decades, with oil serving as the primary component. This trend demonstrates the ongoing risks to energy security that the country faces as a result of its reliance on foreign energy.

The covid-19 crisis must be added to these considerations. The pandemic has hampered efforts to address other major issues. These include the continued reliance on solid biomass – primarily wood – as a cooking energy source for approximately 660 million people, financially troubled electricity distribution companies, and air quality that has made India one of the most polluted countries on the planet.

Every year, the urban population of what will soon be the world’s most populous country grows by the equivalent of a city the size of Los Angeles. To meet the increase in electricity demand over the next twenty years, India will need to build an electricity system comparable to that of the European Union. India’s size and dynamism appear to be keeping it at the center of the global energy chessboard.

The rate of urbanization in India has been slower than in other countries. Despite a relatively low rate of urbanization, India’s size means that 270 million people will be added to the country’s urban population over the next two decades. This will result in a rapid increase in the number of buildings.

This energy path to be followed is included in the Asian country’s renewable energy plan. This plan calls for expanding the wind and solar park to 175 GW by 2022, with the ultimate goal of reaching the 450 GW (from wind and photovoltaic) mentioned above by 2030. With these figures, India commits to increasing installed renewable capacity by 20% per year until the target is met.

Massive energy storage

Its dedication to renewables requires India to have greater flexibility in its energy matrix, including the development of larger-scale energy storage, in order to increase the flexibility of the electricity system and favor the integration of renewables into the country’s energy mix.

A recent Network Analysis and Planning study conducted by NREL (National Renewable Energy Laboratory of the United States) technicians measured the potential growth of energy storage in different Asian countries using different cost scenarios, policies, and technology regulations, resulting in different long-term storage growth figures for these countries.

The energy storage capacity of these scenarios in India will range from 50-120 GW or 160-800 GWh by 2030, and will increase by 180-800 GW (750-4,800 GWh) by 2050. According to this model, 50 GW of energy storage by 2030 represents a lower bound estimate for the total size of the country’s storage market. The majority of this capacity is expected to be provided by battery storage projects.

Commodity and electricity prices

The report’s best-case scenario shows how energy storage can result in a reasonable increase in renewable deployment, a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector, and can help reduce electricity costs, provided the numbers are correct and there are no price increases for the fossil resources it is intended to replace.

It is worth recalling the recent scenario in Europe and Spain, with drastic increases in the price of electricity due to price pressure on scarce resources such as natural gas and oil, as well as the rise in the stock markets of CO2 emission rights.

Furthermore, as of today, one of the major concerns of any country’s energy transition is the high price of raw materials used in this paradigm shift. As indicated in an IEA report prepared and published a few months ago, these high prices affect and will affect the cost of manufacturing the elements of the various renewable technologies. This high cost may mean a slight halt or even a slight setback in the seemingly unstoppable progress of wind and photovoltaic energy implementation.

With these factors on the horizon, it will be interesting to see how the Indian government adapts to these new challenges while staying on track with its proposed roadmap. Political action will be critical in the energy sector. This will be a difficult task in the coming years.

 

Article Author Gerluxe

Image: wikimedia