What is India’s power to beat China? Shining sun and blowing wind; what you must know

India has the cheapest new wind and solar power anywhere in the world, and this is all set to challenge the ‘coal is the king’ status, and beat China.

Power generating windmill turbines are pictured at Kalasar village in Gujarat May 6, 2012. REUTERS/Amit Dave/Files

India has the cheapest new wind and solar power anywhere in the world, and this is all set to challenge the ‘coal is the king’ status. Bloomberg NEF projects that renewables to supply 75% electricity in India by 2050, while in China, the percentage would be just 62%. “Power and transport sectors are expected to fundamentally change by mid-century with its economic transformation,” said CEO of Bloomberg NEF, Jon Moore.

While coal-fired electricity will continue to grow in India in the short to medium term but by 2050, wind and solar would dominate India’s electricity demand, supported by batteries and flexible gas, the report said, adding that this will push India’s emissions 22% below than what they are currently.

In 2016, India ratified the Paris pact on Climate Change, in which more than 190 nations agreed on setting ambitious goals for capping global warming and funnelling trillions of dollars to poor countries facing climate catastrophe.

“India sees a 267% growth in electricity generation between now and 2050, as population increases 24% and GDP rises more than six-fold under a 6.3% year-on year growth rate, the report said. “Between 2017 and 2050, outlook expects total installed capacity to increase more than sevenfold, from 339GW to 2,414GW. At that rate of expansion, India will have the second biggest power system in the world by 2039, second only to China,” the report added.

The dramatic fall in wind and solar prices in India over the past 12 months means we can now identify a peak for India’s power sector emissions, the reported noted. Coal plants are responsible for 98% of power sector emissions in 2017 so India’s emissions trajectory follows the fortunes of coal – up 29% to 2033, before peaking and falling steadily to 22% below 2017 levels by 2050.

China will continue to be the largest market for wind and solar, which grow from 7% to 46% combined of total generation by 2050. By that time, China has 1.1TW of solar PV and 1TW of wind – equivalent to 21% of all the PV and a third of all the wind power installed globally.

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