Conference on ‘Energy Transitions—The Global Challenges & Opportunities’ organized by TERI
The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) unveiled the findings of its study report ‘Transitions in the Indian Energy Sector—Macro Level Analysis of Demand and Supply Side Options’ on January 13, 2017. This report was released alongside two others— one by the Electricity Transitions Commission (ETC), and the other by the Indian National Academy of Engineering (INAE). The reports were released by Shri Piyush Goyal, Minister of State (I/C) for Power, Coal, New and Renewable Energy and Mines, Government of India, as part of a day-long conference organized by TERI on Energy Transitions. The TERI report indicates that current installed capacity and the capacity under construction would be able to meet demand till about 2026, keeping India power sufficient. The report estimates that no new investments are likely to be made in coal-based power generation in the years prior to that. The TERI report also estimates that beyond 2023–24, new power generation capacity could be all renewables, based on cost competitiveness of renewables as well as the ability of the grid to absorb large amounts of renewable energy together with battery-based balancing power. Speaking at the event, Shri Piyush Goyal, said, “Universal access to electricity is one of the primary aims of the Government, and meeting demand is a major facet of this initiative. We see India becoming the energy capital of the world. India is also committed to lowering the emissions intensity of its development in line with our INDCs towards the Paris Agreement.
We are looking at several initiatives towards making solar energy price competitive to coal.” Speaking on the occasion, Dr Ajay Mathur, Director General, TERI, said “The target to achieve the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) commitments presents tremendous opportunity to put India at the forefront of economies transitioning towards low carbon growth. This includes improving electricity access, clean technology development, manufacturing, and job creation. Our report shows that the cost of renewable electricity and its storage is on a steady decline and could stabilize at around Rs. 5 per KWh. This would enable India to move decisively towards renewables for future generation. What this, means is that India has a ten-year window where no new investments are likely to be done in coal, gas, or nuclear energy generation. The decarbonization of power generation is also an opportunity to move other carbon-based sectors like transport to electricity, thus multiplying the benefits of clean energy generation.” TERI’s demand scenario suggests that the current installed capacity and the capacity under construction and after taking into account retirements, would be able to meet the demand till about 2026 or so. This suggests that there would be no new coal-based capacity investment that would be approved till about for years prior to that. Between 2014 and 2024, India has a 10-year window. If in this 10-year window, the price of solar and battery reaches the Rs. 5/ unit mark, all new capacity additions would be in renewables. In case, this price goal would be achieved, or nearly achieved, by 2023–24, if appropriate infrastructure to absorb large amounts of renewable energy, together with battery-based balancing power, is in place.