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Analysis published today by the Energy Finance team at Climate Policy Initiative adds to a growing body of research that shows how India’s power system could benefit from lower costs and reductions in the carbon intensity of its electricity with the expansion of existing flexibility resources from coal-fired power stations, incentives for demand flexibility and the introduction of emerging technologies such as energy storage. 

In the analysis, the team looked at costs where single resources for flexibility dominates, hydro and thermal in the powerplant-driven portfolio, demand flexibility, energy storage and one blending all flexibility resources. These portfolios were then compared with a base case where only existing resources of flexibility are used. This was analysed across three different scenarios of renewable generation, current trajectory scenario following current trends of variable renewable energy deployment (274GW of wind and solar by 2030), current policy scenario where India meets the government’s current 2022 renewable energy targets of 175GW and a high renewable energy scenario where India surpasses 2030 renewable energy targets of 450GW.

The results show that under the more ambitious high renewable energy scenarios, India can integrate 390GW of wind and solar by 2030 without increasing system costs. Furthermore, a balanced portfolio of options lowers system cost by between 5% and 8%, reduces carbon emissions by 8% to 12%, and reduces curtailment by between 82% and 97%.

For policymakers, this report should provide the reassurance that renewable ambitions are realistic and the costs of renewables and their integration do not present a barrier to decarbonise and modernise India’s power system. In fact, a lack of ambition would be more expensive for India as the energy transition represents an opportunity to create a more efficient system that is not only low-carbon, but also lower cost.

Watch our webinar presentation of the key findings here:

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