Wind, solar share in Indian electricity market rose to 10% in H1 2020: Ember report

V Rishi Kumar Hyderabad | Updated on August 13, 2020

Wind, solar generation share in India increases to 10 per cent in first 6 months of 2020, says Ember report


Wind and solar have captured a five-percentage point market share from coal since 2015. Coal’s share fell from 37.9 per cent in 2015 to 33.0 per cent in the first half of 2020, as wind and solar grew from 4.6 per cent to 9.8 per cent, according to a report by energy transition think tank Ember.

India’s change was even more dramatic, with wind and solar share rising from 3 per cent of total generation in 2015 to 10 per cent in the first half of 2020; at the same time, coal’s share fell from 77 per cent to 68 per cent. For the first time, the world’s coal fleet ran at less than half of its capacity this year.

Dave Jones, Senior electricity analyst at Ember, in a statement said: “Countries across the world are now on the same path — building wind turbines and solar panels to replace electricity from coal and gas-fired power plants. But to keep a chance of limiting climate change to 1.5 degrees, coal generation needs to fall by 13 per cent every year this decade. The fact that, during a global pandemic, coal generation has still only fallen by 8 per cent shows just how far off-track we still are. We have the solution, it’s working, it’s just not happening fast enough.”

Wind and solar continue to grow in line with the global average, reducing India’s reliance on coal. Wind and solar generation grew by 13 per cent in H1 2020 compared to the same period last year (in comparison to 14 per cent growth globally), which means wind and solar generated 9.7 per cent of India’s electricity (compared to 9.8 per cent globally).

Coal generation

Meanwhile, India’s coal generation fell 14 per cent in H1 2020 (compared to H1 2019).

As the US and Europe reduce their coal use, China’s share in global coal generation continues to increase. The shre of the US and the EU in global coal generation has reduced from 23 per cent in 2015 to 12 per cent in H1 2020. Coal use in India and some other Asian countries, is not increasing, as some observers had expected. This means that China’s share of global coal generation rose to 54 per cent so far this year, up from 50 per cent in 2019 and 44 per cent in 2015.

Coal generation fell by 8.3 per cent in the first half of 2020. Two-thirds of this was due to the large falls in the US (31 per cent) and the European Union (32 per cent). India’s large fall of 14 per cent happened even after a fall of 3 per cent in 2019. China’s fall was one of the smallest at just 2 per cent, due to strong electricity demand growth in Q2 2020. Vietnam’s coal generation increased, but the rise was similar to the fall in hydro generation.

Wind, solar gain traction

Wind and solar have doubled their share of global electricity generation since the Paris Climate Agreement was signed in 2015. Most large countries have more than doubled their market share from 2015 to H1 2020; coincidentally, China, Japan and Brazil all increased from 4 per cent to 10 per cent and the US from 6 per cent to 12 per cent. India’s almost trebled from 3.4 per cent in 2015 to 9.7 per cent in H1 2020.

India’s coal plant utilisation fell as low as 42 per cent in April and May, averaging 51 per cent so far this year. With lower-than-expected demand for electricity, and wind and solar eating into coal’s market share, there is an increasing surplus of coal capacity.

Published on August 13, 2020

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