Use of renewable energy must be increased three times to achieve COP-26 objectives
The just-concluded Glasgow Climate meet has set targets which will be difficult to be achieved by nations such as India and China. There are numerous market hurdles which stand in the way of ending the dependence of coal as a source of energy. In addition, weak economic indicators and past actions of unfulfilled promises by rich nations have all made the scale of the task of ending dependence on coal for India daunting.
Human activities have led to an increase in global temperature by 1.1 degrees centigrade. A few years back, there was a sudden surge in coal-fired power plants. However, it is encouraging to see that India is slowly winding down its dependence on coal-based power plants in a phased manner.
India has a gargantuan task to accomplish
All eyes are on India on how it is going to manage this gargantuan task. India must have in place an effective and viable program to achieve this objective. Besides, it is important for India to achieve its short term goals followed by bigger goals.
The first step in this direction will be identifying the most polluting entities and then eliminating them. However, the energy needs of the nation must not be compromised and this will require superhuman efforts of both private and state players to substitute the energy source to greener options.
Impossible for India to supplement 100% of its needs with non-fossil fuels
It must be understood that the challenges in the way of a progressive India is not limited to use of coal as a source of energy but it is a big deal for the global community. It will not be possible for India to supplement 100% of its needs with green or non-fossil fuels.
It is estimated that coal-based power plants producing 45 GW of power will be replaced by cleaner sources of energy by 2028. India will reach a peak power production based on coal-fired power plants by 2025. After that, there will be a fall in power based on coal plants.
Renewable sources of energy have become competitive
Renewable sources of energy have become more competitive in comparison with coal-based power. However, economic forces are not allowing the full utilization of the 500 GW of renewable energy which is available. We will be getting 57% of our energy needs from renewable sources of energy. India imports one lakh crore rupees worth of coal every year today and this will swell to three lakh crores by 2030.
The nation is in a grip of electrification and its sources of transport are shifting to use of electric energy. We must ensure that this need of electricity is fulfilled by power from renewable sources of energy. The increase in electrification must be seen more as an opportunity than a risk. In any condition, year 2022 will be very crucial for India. All the 170 nations which have participated in the COP-26 meet have been asked to submit a Nationally Determined Contribution or NDC for reduction in carbon emission. Nations have been asked to update this data every five years and also declare future mega projects which has not been declared till date.
As for the finance for carrying out this project, developed nations are pledging 100 billion dollars while the actual requirements are huge. We will have to explode the use of renewable sources of energy by three times today only then can the objectives set by the COP-26 climate meet be fulfilled. It is a gargantuan but not an impossible task.