India may hit Paris climate targets ahead of schedule: TERI

Rashmi Pratap Mumbai | Updated on June 28, 2018

AJAY MATHUR, Director General of TERI and Member of PM’s Council on Climate Change

30% of power generation capacity is now non-fossil-based, against 2030 target of 40%

India may well achieve the national targets set to address climate change under the Paris Agreement before 2030, as around 30 per cent of the country’s installed electricity generation capacity is now non-fossil-based. India’s target is 40 per cent non-fossil-based power capacity by 2030.

“We can meet the targets ahead of schedule if we are able to meet our solar battery cost challenges,” Ajay Mathur, Director General of TERI (The Energy and Resources Institute) and a member of the Prime Minister's Council on Climate Change, told BusinessLine.

“A kilowatt hour of solar electricity now costs lesser than electricity from coal, but only when the sun is shining. The key is how quickly the price of storage falls, so that electricity generated during the day can be used at night. If the price of storage falls, given the present trends, we feel the price of 1 kWh of electricity from solar plus storage will be less than the price of coal electricity by 2025,” he said.

“If this is achieved, we will have no problems in achieving our Paris goals ahead of time. We may well be the first market in the world with such a huge change and we can as well be a leader for the rest of the developing world,” said Dr Mathur, who is here for the GRIHA Summit on Sustainable Buildings.

Battery banks

The government is working overtime to bring down the prices of solar batteries by increasing the number of distribution companies to set up battery banks. States like Maharashtra, West Bengal and Rajasthan, through various projects, are creating both the experience and the market for solar batteries.

“We also need to tweak the market structure for electricity so that there is a market for higher cost real-time electricity for residential and commercial use on the lines of industrial use,” Mathur added.

The other pledge India took at Paris was to reduce intensity of carbon emission by 3335 per cent in 2030 compared to 2005.

“In 2016, we were approximately 15 per cent lesser in carbon emissions compared to 2005. If we continue on the path of energy efficiency, we should be able to achieve this goal,” he said, adding that green buildings are an important aspect of this.

Forest cover

He also pointed out that India will add another 2.5-3 billion tonnes of carbon capture by increasing tree and forest cover. “This is a challenge as we don’t have land any more. The country is doing it by densification — planting more trees in empty spaces between trees in forests and protecting them,” he added.

Published on June 28, 2018

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