Green milestone: Share of coal in India’s total installed electricity capacity drops below 50% | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Green milestone: Share of coal in India’s total installed electricity capacity drops below 50%

ByJayashree Nandi, New Delhi
May 03, 2024 05:58 AM IST

Renewable energy (RE) sources accounted for 71% of the 26 gigawatts (GW) of power generation capacity added in India during the fiscal year

The share of coal in India’s total installed electricity capacity fell below 50% for the first time in history in 2023-24, according to a report released on Thursday, marking a crucial milestone in the country’s attempt to switch to clean energy.

The report also found that renewable energy auctions reached a record 41 GW in fiscal year 2024, with eight auctions including energy storage components. (REUTERS)
The report also found that renewable energy auctions reached a record 41 GW in fiscal year 2024, with eight auctions including energy storage components. (REUTERS)

Renewable energy (RE) sources accounted for 71% of the 26 gigawatts (GW) of power generation capacity added in India during the fiscal year, the CEEW Centre for Energy Finance (CEEW-CEF) Market Handbook found. India’s total installed capacity reached 442GW, with renewables contributing 144GW (33%) and hydro 47 GW (11%).

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“Consequently, the coal/lignite share in India’s total installed capacity tipped below the 50 per cent mark for the first time,” the handbook said.

Solar power, including grid-scale and rooftop installations, dominated India’s renewable capacity expansion at 15 GW (81% of renewables added). Wind capacity rose to nearly 3.3 GW from 2.3 GW the previous year. Nuclear capacity of 1.4 GW was added for the first time since fiscal year 2017.

HT reached out Union minister of power and renewable energy RK Singh and the office of Union environment minister Bhupender Yadav, but they did not respond to requests for comments till the time of going to print.

Pankaj Agarwal, secretary at the ministry of power, said the shift aligns with India’s national electricity plan and that the share of fossil-based capacity will gradually decrease. A senior official from the ministry of new and renewable energy attributed the increase in renewables to their lower cost compared to conventional sources.

“I am not sure if nuclear addition is making a difference because that is the domain of the department of atomic energy. But renewable energy addition is increasing simply because it’s cheaper than conventional sources,” added the official, asking not to be named.

“The share of coal in installed capacity has seen a gradual decline from 54.8% in FY21 to 52.7% in FY22 to 50.9% in FY23 and 49.2% in FY 24. This is mainly because of significant addition of RE,” said Gagan Sidhu, director of CEEW-CEF. “The cost of two-hour storage has fallen by 59% since August 22. There are various innovative RE formats now that provide more predictable supply of power.”

In addition to renewables, solar and coal/lignite sources, about 8% of India’s energy capacity lies in diesel and gas sources that, while based on fossil fuels, are classified differently since they are a widely recognised transition fuel that most countries are relying on during their energy transition.

The report also found that renewable energy auctions reached a record 41 GW in fiscal year 2024, with eight auctions including energy storage components. India met 95% of its targeted 50 GW annual renewable bidding trajectory, with innovative formats like wind-solar hybrids and RE-plus-storage accounting for 37% of auctioned capacity.

India formally updated its climate change commitments in August 2022, pledging to the United Nations to reduce its GDP emissions intensity by 45% from 2005 levels by 2030 and to have 50% of its power capacity from non-fossil sources by the same year.

Peak power demand in India has continued to rise, reaching a new high of 240 GW due to economic growth, below-average rainfall, and extreme temperatures, the CEEW assessment found. Electricity demand increased by 8% in 2023-24 compared to the previous fiscal year.

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