India’s Solar Output to Match Coal-fired Power by 2040: IEA

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The share of solar energy in India’s power generation could equal coal-fired output by 2040, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said in its India Energy Outlook 2021. Its driven by the falling renewable tariffs and a government push to increase green energy use. Solar power is set for explosive growth in India, matching coal’s share in the Indian power generation mix within two decades the report says.

Coal currently dominates India’s electricity sector, accounting for over 70% of overall generation with only about 4% produced through solar. India was on track to exceed its commitments as a part of the 2015 Paris agreement. “This dramatic turnaround is driven by India’s policy ambitions, notably the target to reach 450 GW of renewable capacity by 2030, and the extraordinary cost‐competitiveness of solar,” said the agency.

As per the report electricity consumption in India is expected to outpace overall energy demand by 2040, due to higher use of air conditioners.

India has the potential to become a world leader in battery storage, adding the country could add 140-200 GW capacity of battery by 2040. “Battery storage is particularly well suited to the short‐run flexibility that India needs to align its solar‐led generation peak in the middle of the day with the country’s early evening peak in demand,” the IEA said.

Still, India’s emissions of carbon dioxide could rise as much as 50% by 2040, the largest of any country, enough to offset entirely the projected fall in emissions in Europe over the same period.

India needs to expand pollution policies and sharply reduce coal‐fired generation to reduce its power sector’s emissions, the IEA said, adding current regulations were inadequate and utilities rarely deployed pollution cutting technology.

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