A new report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) says that India could meet a third of its energy demand by 2030 by increasing the amount of renewable energy on its grid while also saving the economy a lot of money.
Renewable energy prospects for India indicates that solar would be second largest source of renewable energy use at 16% by 2030. Wind energy would follow at 14% and hydropower at 7%. The report says biofuels would have the largest share at 62% and could be used for a variety of purposes including cleaning the transportation sector, electricity generation and for heating.
“Balancing economic growth and development, environmental protection, and energy security is a real challenge in India that can be tackled by enabling more renewable energy deployment,” said Dolf Gielen, director of innovation and technology at IRENA. “Through this report we have attained a better understanding of India’s renewable energy potential, that can assist in guiding the country’s energy policy in a way that is both economically and environmentally attractive.”
Hitting the renewable targets will require significant investments in power-generation capacity and related infrastructure, and in transport, buildings and industry sectors, noted the report. In renewable energy capacity alone, investments will have to double. To achieve this though, affordable financing and new business models will be essential.
India will also need to accelerate the transformation of its power system to integrate higher shares of renewables by strengthening transmission grids, reducing grid losses, and in general improving the resilience of the power system by investing in more flexible system that values demand-response, interconnectors and storage, as well as greater transport and power-sector synergies.
The report also demonstrates that increasing the penetration of renewables in India’s energy mix could save its economy 12 times more than its costs by the year 2030, creating jobs, reducing carbon dioxide emissions, and ensuring cleaner air and water. There would also be savings realized from reduced healthcare costs.
Furthermore, the renewable energy technologies identified in the report would lower the demand for coal and oil products between 17% and 23% by 2030, compared to a business as usual scenario.