India's Power Sector in 2030: Transforming the Energy Landscape 

Mains Marks Booster     5th August 2023        
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India's power sector is poised for a significant transformation by 2030, according to the latest publication by the Central Electricity Authority (CEA). Titled "Report on Optimal Generation Mix 2030 Version 2.0," the report presents key highlights and projections for the future of India's energy mix. With a shift towards renewable energy (RE) sources, the country aims to reduce its reliance on coal and make substantial progress towards its climate commitments. 

Key Highlights

  • Coal Share in Power Mix: The report projects a decline in coal's share in the power mix from 73% in 2022-23 to 55% in 2030, reflecting the growing importance of cleaner energy sources.
  • Impact on Coal Usage: Although the share of coal in power generation is set to decrease, the absolute capacity and generation of coal power are expected to increase between 2023 and 2030.
    • Coal capacity is projected to rise by 19%, with generation expected to increase by 13% during this period.
  • Solar Energy Contribution: Solar energy is anticipated to play a pivotal role in the power mix, significantly boosting overall load.
    • Projections indicate a quadrupling of solar capacity from 109 GW to 392 GW by 2030, accompanied by an increase in solar generation from 173 billion units (BU) to 761 BU.
  • Contribution of Other RE Sources: Large hydro generation is expected to increase from 8% to 9% by 2030, while wind generation is projected to decrease to 9% in the updated version of the report.
    • Overall, renewable sources, including small hydro, pumped hydro, solar, wind, and biomass, are estimated to account for 31% of the power mix in 2030, a significant increase from the current 12%.
  • Role of Natural Gas: Despite aspirations to increase the share of natural gas, its contribution to power generation remains limited, reflecting the challenges in transitioning to cleaner fuels.
  • Greenhouse Gas Emissions: The power sector currently contributes approximately 40% of India's total greenhouse gas emissions.
    • However, by 2030, power sector emissions are projected to rise by 11%, reaching 1.114 gigatonnes of CO2, accounting for 10% of global power sector emissions.
  • Climate Commitments: According to CEA's projections, India is likely to exceed its commitment to the Paris Agreement, aiming to have 50% of installed power capacity from non-fossil sources by 2030.
    • The report estimates that India's share of capacity from non-fossil sources will reach 62% by 2030, or 64% if nuclear power is considered. 

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

  • The power sector currently contributes approximately 40% of India's total greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Power sector emissions are projected to rise by 11%, reaching 1.114 Gt CO2 in 2030, accounting for 10% of global power sector emissions. 

India's Targets of Renewable Energy Power Generation

  • 175 GW Renewable Energy Capacity by 2022, including 100 GW of solar power, 60 GW of wind power, 10 GW of biomass power, and 5 GW of small hydro power.
  • 500 GW Non-Fossil Fuel Based Energy by 2030, as announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the COP26 summit.
  • 50% Electricity from Non-Fossil Fuel Sources by 2030, pledged in India's Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement. 

India's Global Ranking

  • India is the fourth-largest country in terms of installed capacity of solar and wind power.
  • It is also the fourth most attractive renewable energy market globally. 

India's Initiatives for Power Generation from RE Sources

  • Solar Power: National Solar Mission, International Solar Alliance, PM Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan (PM-KUSUM)
  • Wind Power: National Wind-Solar Hybrid Policy, National Offshore Wind Energy Policy
  • Hydropower: National Hydroelectricity Policy
  • Hydrogen: National Hydrogen Energy Mission, National Green Hydrogen Mission 

Challenges in Adopting Renewable Energy

  • Intermittency and Variability: Renewable energy sources are intermittent and variable due to weather conditions. Balancing energy supply with demand and maintaining grid stability become challenging.
  • Grid Integration: Integrating large-scale renewable energy into existing power grids can be complex. Upgrading grid infrastructure and balancing mechanisms are necessary for reliable power supply.
  • Land and Resource Availability: Scaling up renewable energy installations requires substantial land and resource availability. Identifying suitable locations, acquiring land, and addressing environmental concerns can be challenging.
  • Transition from Coal-dependent Economy: Coal currently dominates the power sector in India, accounting for about 70% of electricity generation. Transitioning from coal can lead to job losses in the coal sector, and ensuring a smooth transition for affected communities is essential.