LBNL: India Can Meet 500 GW Of Non-fossil Energy Capacity by 2030

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During a virtual launch, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) (Berkeley Lab) published in-depth research of India’s projected power system investments this week, claiming that renewables may cover India’s electricity needs affordably by 2030.

LBNL research, funded by the US Department of State’s Bureau of Energy Resources, lays out a pathway for India to advance its pursuit of 500 GW of non-fossil energy capacity by 2030. Electricity demand is expected to be doubled by then.

The study discovered that significant cost reductions in energy sources like solar and flexible resources like battery storage over the last decade make it affordable for India to meet its burgeoning power requirements reliably over the next decade.

It also estimates that if battery storage costs continue to fall, supply chain difficulties are handled, and appropriate funding is acquired, just 23 GW of net coal capacity will be required.

From 2020 levels, this would reduce electricity costs by 8-10% and the emissions intensity of electricity delivery by 43-50%.

India being the world’s third-largest energy consumer, these goals are influential to fulfilling global climate objectives, says ‘Least Cost Pathway for India’s Power System Investments’ publication.

The Flexible Resources Initiative (FRI) of the US-India Clean Energy Finance Task Force, managed by the State Department’s Bureau of Energy Resources, was used to perform this research. 

FRI promotes cost-effective strategies, in support of India’s clean energy transition, to improve the flexibility and robustness of the country’s power grid.

The analysis is accompanied by a report outlining key policy and regulatory suggestions that, if enacted, will help India meet its 2030 goals at the lowest possible cost.

According to the report, the goal can be achieved by using renewables and complementary flexible resources such as energy storage, hydropower and agricultural load shifting, along with optimally employing the country’s existing thermal power assets.

A refined long-term resource adequacy framework for system planning and procurement, and changes of India’s gas pipeline operations to enable cost-effective, flexible operations of the nation’s current gas power plants for seasonal balancing, are among the recommendations.

These suggested legislative adjustments will promote optimal investments, assist in avoiding asset overbuilding, and ensure the rapid retirement of uneconomic assets.

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