India: 90% Renewable Energy by 2050

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Written By: Emma Websdale

By 2050, as much as 90% of India’s energy supply could come from renewable sources, says a new report.

35480132The energy report, published by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) and WWF-India, envisions a 100% renewable and sustainable energy future in India, achievable by mid-century.

In 2010, 74% of total energy consumed in India was fossil fuel-based. That same year, India was responsible for 8% of the world’s coal consumption and ranked as the third-largest global consumer of coal after China and the United States. The goal of the study was to build an alternative, more sustainable, and cleaner future, reliant on renewable resources including solar, wind, and water power.

Examining the possibility of a 100% renewable-energy future for India, two scenarios were developed. The first, the Reference Energy Scenario (REF), considered only current energy trends and policies regarding all fossil fuel-based, nuclear- and renewable-energy supplies. In the second, the Renewable Energy Scenario (REN), fossil fuels and nuclear-based technologies were phased out and replaced, whenever possible, with renewable-energy options. Strict energy-efficiency improvements were also factored into the REN scenario.

Both scenarios were modeled until 2050, investigating India’s implementation of renewable-energy resources in both a fossil fuel-based and a renewable energy-based future.

Results from the study show that a sustainable, renewable energy-based India could be realized by 2050, following the REN scenario, with renewable resources contributing as much as 90% of India’s total primary energy supply.

To achieve that sustainable future, the report recommends that all forms of renewable energy, including solar, wind, geothermal, and tidal energy, need to be “pushed to their technical limits” to achieve the 100% REN scenario. The report also recommends that biofuels would need to play a key role by 2051, and would have to account more than 90% of transport fuel.

“Blessed with an abundant endowment of renewable-energy sources, India urgently needs to design innovative policies and mechanisms by which to transform its energy future [into] a secure and sustainable renewable resource base”, says Dr. Leena Srivastava, Executive Director (Operations) of TERI. “This study explores the limits of ambition that India can aspire [to] in its quest for energy security and a greater energy independence.”

Statistics in the report reveal that the cumulative carbon dioxide emissions in the REN scenario would reduce emissions by two thirds compared to the REF scenario. Overall, the report, 100% Renewable Energy by 2050 for India, provides a structured vision and direction for the paradigm shift to renewable energy by 2050.