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India's Power Sector in 2030: Shift to R

  May 05, 2023

India's Power Sector in 2030: Shift to Renewables and Coal's Decline

Q. Why is this in news?

A. Recently, the Central Electricity Authoraity (CEA) (Ministry of Power) released a new publication titled Report on Optimal Generation Mix 2030 Version 2.0.

  • This is an updated version of the report published in 2020 titled Report on Optimal Generation Capacity Mix for 2029-30.
  • The report highlights the changes expected in India's energy mix, with a decline in coal's share and a rise in renewable energy (RE) sources.
  • Earlier, the CEA released the latest draft of the National Electricity Plan (NEP) 2022-27.


Q. What are the key Highlights?


  • Coal Share in Power Mix:
    • Coal's share in the power mix is projected to decline from 73% in 2022-23 to 55% in 2030.
    • Impact on Coal Usage:
      • Although the share of coal in power generation is set to reduce, in absolute terms, coal power capacity and generation will increase between 2023 and 2030.
      • Coal capacity is projected to rise by 19%, and generation is expected to increase by 13% during this period.
  • Solar Energy Contribution:
    • Solar energy is expected to play a significant role in the power mix, lifting the overall load.
      • Projections indicate a quadrupling of solar capacity from 109 GW to 392 GW by 2030.
      • Solar generation is expected to increase from 173 BU to 761 BU in the same period.
  • Contribution of Other RE Sources:
    • Projections for large hydropower and wind energy remain modest in the future power mix.
      • Large hydro generation is expected to increase from 8% to 9% by 2030.
      • Wind generation, on the other hand, is projected to decrease to 9% in the updated version (from 12% in the previous report).
    • Renewable sources, including small hydro, pumped hydro, solar, wind, and biomass, are expected to account for 31% of the power mix in 2030, compared to the current 12%.
  • Role of Natural Gas in the Power Generation Mix:
    • Despite aspirations to increase the share of natural gas, its contribution to power generation remains small.
    • The report estimates the likely retirement of 2,121.5 MW of coal plants by 2030, with 304 MW set to be retired during 2022-23.
  • Greenhouse Gas Emissions:
    • The power sector 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.
  • Climate Commitments
    • In terms of climate commitments, CEA's projections indicate that India is likely to over-achieve on its pledge to the Paris Agreement - to have 50% of installed power capacity from non-fossil sources by 2030.
    • As per the report, India's share of capacity from non-fossil sources will be 62% by 2030. The share will be 64% if nuclear power is considered.


Q. What is India's Targets of Renewable Energy Power Generation?


  • India's Renewable Energy Targets:
    • 175 GW Renewable Energy Capacity by 2022:
      • 100 GW of Solar Power.
      • 60 GW of Wind Power.
      • 10 GW of Biomass Power.
      • 5 GW of Small Hydro Power.
    • 500 GW Non-Fossil Fuel Based Energy by 2030:
      • Announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at 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:
    • The 4th largest installed capacity of solar and wind power in the world.
    • The 4th most attractive renewable energy market in the world.


What is CEA?


  • About:
    • The CEA is a statutory organization that advises the government of India on policy matters and formulates plans for the development of electricity systems in the country.
    • It was established in 1951 under the Electricity Supply Act 1948, which has been now superseded by the Electricity Act 2003.
  • Functions:
    • Policymaking:
      • Preparing the national electricity plan and tariff policy.
      • Advising the central government on matters relating to the national electricity policy, rural electrification, hydropower development, etc.
    • Technical Standards:
      • Specifying the technical standards for construction, operation, and maintenance of electrical plants and electric lines.
      • Specifying the grid standards and safety requirements for operation and maintenance of transmission lines.
    • Data Collection and Research:
      • Collecting and recording data on generation, transmission, distribution, and utilization of electricity and promoting r&d in the field of electricity.
    • Implementation Monitoring and Coordination:
      • Monitoring the implementation of power projects and schemes.
      • Coordinating with state governments, state electricity boards, regional power committees, etc. on matters relating to electricity.


Q. What are 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
    • Renewable Energy Status: The government has declared large hydropower projects (>25 MW) as renewable energy sources, which will enable them to avail the benefits of renewable energy such as waiver of inter-state transmission charges, renewable purchase obligation, green energy certificates, etc.
  • Hydrogen:
    • National Hydrogen Energy Mission
    • National Green Hydrogen Mission


Q. What are the Challenges in Adopting Renewable Energy?


  • Intermittency and Variability:
    • RE sources are intermittent and variable due to weather conditions.
    • Matching energy supply with demand and maintaining grid stability becomes challenging.
  • Grid Integration:
    • Integrating large-scale renewable energy into existing power grids can be complex.
    • Upgrading grid infrastructure and balancing mechanisms is necessary for reliable power supply.
  • Land and Resource Availability:
    • Scaling up renewable energy installations requires significant land and resource availability.
    • Identifying suitable locations, acquiring land, and addressing environmental concerns can be challenging.
  • Transition from Coal-dependent Economy:
    • Coal still dominates the power sector in India, as it accounts for about 70% of the electricity generation.
    • Also, coal sector in India is estimated to provide about 1.2 million direct jobs and up to 20 million indirect and dependent jobs.
      • Transition from it can lead to job losses in the coal sector and ensuring a smooth transition for affected communities needs to be addressed.