'For net-zero, India needs 5,600 GW of solar capacity'

For net-zero, India needs 5,600 GW of solar capacity, coal usage drop by 99%: CEEW

For net-zero, India will have to clean up the most coal-reliant of the world's biggest power sectors

COP26, running from October 31 to November 12 in Glasgow will be the biggest climate conference since the 2015 Paris summit and is seen as crucial in setting worldwide emission targets to slow global warming, as well as firming up other key commitments. Credit: AFP Photo

For India to reach its bold target of having net-zero emissions by 2070, the country's solar power capacity would have to rise to over 5,600 GW, coal use particularly in the power sector will have to drop by 99 per cent by 2060 and crude oil would need to peak by 2050 and fall substantially by 90 per cent in the two decades thereafter, CEEW India has said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday surprised delegates at the COP26 climate summit with a bold pledge to cutting emissions at the world's third-biggest emitter to net-zero by 2070.

Council on Energy, Environment and Water, a Delhi-based not-for-profit policy research institution, said, "The economic cost of India's net-zero 2070 transition (would be) over USD 13,000 billion between 2030 and 2100."

Also read: Modi seeks global support for 'local adaptation' of climate resilient practices

For net-zero, India will have to clean up the most coal-reliant of the world's biggest power sectors.

"Coal-based (power) generation must peak by 2040 and reduce by 99% between 2040 and 2060," CEEW said.

"Solar-based generation capacity must rise to 1,689 GW by 2050 and 5,630 GW by 2070. Wind-based electricity generation capacity must increase to 557 GW by 2050 and 1792 GW by 2070."

As of July 2021, India had 96.96 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy capacity, representing 25.2 per cent of the overall installed power capacity.

The country is targeting about 450 GW of installed renewable energy capacity by 2030 - about 280 GW (over 60%) is expected from solar.

On Monday, Modi raised the 2030 target for renewable energy capacity to 500 GW from 450 GW and pledged to produce half the country's electricity using renewable energy.

India will also cut carbon-dioxide emissions by 1 billion tons from business as usual by the end of the decade.

To deliver on the 2070 goal, the country still has to lay out a detailed plan for the 40 years in between.

Also read: India will always strengthen any effort for sustainable development: PM Modi

CEEW said the share of EVs in car sales must reach 84 per cent by 2070. "The share of electric trucks in freight trucks must total 79% by 2070, the rest being fuelled by hydrogen. The share of biofuel blend in oil for cars, trucks and airlines must touch 84% buy 2070."

Similarly, coal use in the industrial sector must peak by 2040 and reduce by 97 per cent between 2040 and 2065. Hydrogen share in total industrial energy use (heat and feedstock) must rise to 15 per cent by 2050 and 19 per cent by 2070.

"The intensity of electricity use in the building sector with respect to total GDP must decline by 45% between 2015 and 2050 and by another 2.5% between 2050 and 2070," CEEW said.

Also, crude oil consumption in the economy must peak by 2050 and decline by 90% between 2050 and 2070, it added. 

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