Phasing out coal-fired power plant is key to India’s net zero goal

Phasing out coal-fired power plant is key to India's net zero goal

The nation will have to gradually reduce the share of coal in electricity production.

India must phase out its coal-fired power plants by the middle of this century to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by then, according to a new report on the challenges that will be posed in fixing more ambitious climate targets.

The country will need to gradually reduce the share of coal in power generation, currently around 65%, and phase it out entirely by 2050, according to the report released by The Energy and Resources Institute, a New York-based think tank. Delhi, and Royal Dutch. Shell Plc. The share of renewables in the energy mix is ​​set to rise to 90%, more than eight times from now.

Under pressure to commit to a net zero target ahead of climate change negotiations in Glasgow in November, the world’s third largest emitter of greenhouse gases is eyeing a 2050 deadline. The country has so far avoided make commitments beyond its commitments at the Paris climate conference in 2015, arguing that its per capita emissions are well below those of the developed world and citing the progress it has made on those 2015 pledges .

These include reducing the emission intensity of its economy and expanding the capacity for electricity from non-fossil fuels to 40% of the total, a target it is on track to already achieve. , according to government data. Yet absolute emissions continue to rise and if the country follows the same trajectory, emissions could more than double by 2050, according to the report.


India should rise to the challenge of net zero and work to achieve it, said Amitabh Kant, managing director of NITI Aayog, a government planning body, at the report’s launch.

Although a target for net zero energy emissions seems difficult, “the sheer ambition of such a target should not become a reason for India to be unduly alarmed or become pessimistic,” according to Kant, who did not. not mentioned a possible deadline for the exercise.

“With the geographic advantage and the availability of vast renewable energy potential, India can certainly aspire to become a net zero emissions country and we will direct all administrative actions as well as investments towards this goal,” he said. declared Kant.

The deployment of clean energy on a large scale will be the starting point. The country will need to electrify sectors such as transport, cooking and agriculture, where the government is already focusing on replacing diesel irrigation pumps with solar pumps.

The study follows a separate analysis released Monday by the New Delhi-based Council on Energy, Environment and Water, which found that India will have a harder task than any other major country to achieve net zero emissions.

Renewable energy can also contribute to the production of hydrogen, which can replace more polluting fuels in sectors that are difficult to reduce, such as the steel industry, according to the report from the Institute of Energy and Resources. Besides electrification, India will also need to do the following to become net zero by 2050, according to the analysis:

  • Focus on energy efficiency: will need energy efficient buildings, lighting, appliances and industrial practices to achieve the goal of net zero
  • Use of biofuels: can help reduce emissions from light commercial vehicles and tractors in agriculture. In aviation, the only practical solution to reducing emissions is greater use of biofuels, until hydrogen technology gains momentum
  • Carbon sequestration: India will still find itself with emissions of 1.3 billion tonnes by 2050. It will have to rely on natural and artificial carbon sinks to absorb these emissions
  • While trees can capture 0.9 billion tonnes, the country will need carbon capture technologies to sequester the rest
  • Carbon pricing: India, which already taxes coal and petroleum fuels, should consider imposing an emissions tax to drive change
  • Deploying low-carbon energy would help address domestic and international climate challenges while simultaneously improving the economic well-being of Indian citizens, according to the report.

(Except for the title, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and is posted from a syndicated feed.)