LITTLETON, Colo., Dec 13 (Reuters) – India’s speedy advances in Photo voltaic power manufacturing have been extensively celebrated for displaying How briskly-creating economies can accelperiodte the decarbonisation of their power methods with out jeopardising financial progress.

However whereas the tempo of India’s solar rollout has been spectacular, the advances have come primarily On the expense of pure gasoline – They’ve had little influence on the nation’s use of coal As a Outcome of the primary supply of Electricity.

India solar vs gasoline Electricity period since Jan 2019

Certainly, India elevated The quantity of Electricity genperiodted from coal Inside the opening 10 months of 2022 in contrast with The identical interval in 2021, and slashed gasoline-pohave beend period by almost 40%, Based mostly on knowledge from Ember.

India Electricity period from coal, solar and pure gasoline

This has Outcomeed in A unbroken climb in India’s power sector emissions, Whilst solar’s share of the nation’s Electricity period mix has Greater than doubled since 2019.


Between 2017 and 2021, India’s Photo voltaic power manufacturing performance Greater than tripled, rating third internationally When it Includes solar performance additions all by way of that window, Based mostly on the BP Statistical Consider of World Energy.

And the nation plans to Greater than double that solar performance base as quickly as extra by 2025, leaving it extremelighted by the Worldwide Energy Agency (IEA) as a key driver behind its current dramatic upwrestled revision to its international renewable power current outlook.

India Photo voltaic power performance projections

On paper, such speedy advances in inexperienced power currents ought to Finish in lowered air pollution from the nation’s power producers.

Neverthemuch less, cumulative emissions from India’s power sector have scaled new extremes Inside the opening 10 months of 2022, topping 818 million tonnes of carbon dioxide and equal gasolinees. That is up almost 7% from The identical interval in 2021.

India power sector emissions

The primary driver of the climb in power air pollution has been a 7.7% climb in discharges from coal-fired period, which accounted for 72% of the nation’s Electricity and 97% of power sector emissions by way of October, Ember knowledge reveals.


While coal’s share of India’s Electricity mix has stayed pretty flat at that elevated diploma, the share of gasoline-fired Electricity has fallen sharply in 2022 To Simply one.6%, The backside since A minimal of 2019.

Doc extreme liquefied pure gasoline (LNG) prices have been the primary set off behind this downturn in gasoline use, as value-acutely awrestlee utilities balked at paying Greater than twice as a lot for spot LNG cargoes in 2022 as the 2021 common.

Scale againd demand for LNG was furtherly mirrored in India’s LNG import totals. These dropped by 16% by way of November from The identical interval in 2021, Based mostly on ship-monitoring knowledge by Kpler.

India LNG imports

These sharply decrease LNG imports by India – the fourth largest importer in 2021 – freed up LNG cargoes for others in 2022, and assisted alleby way ofte The power disaster in Europe ensuing from sharply decrease Russian pipelined pure gasoline currents amid the wrestle in Ukraine.

Neverthemuch less, for India’s power producers, with restricted decisions for producing baseload Electricity, much less gasoline merely meant They’ve Needed to burn extra coal in 2022.

It is beset off whereas non-emitting Photo voltaic power provides to genperiodl Electricity currents Through the day, India’s genperiodl grid requires A delicate current of baseload power Always, And notably at Evening time. This will be produced effectively by burning fossil gasolines.

Natural gasoline had been anticipated to displace coal as that most properly-appreciated baseload gasoline over time in India, As a Outcome of of deliberate investments in gasoline import infrastructure and pipelines, As properly as to covperiodge assist to Scale again use of extreme-polluting coal in power period.

Neverthemuch less the current surge in gasoline prices is now threatening to Not only stall, but reverse those tendencies, halting gasoline-associated investments and assisting persevering with reliance on coal.

Photo voltaic will remaInside The mannequin new gasoline of selection for utilities creating further power period performance in India, As a Outcome of Of presidency subsidies and widespread assist for inexperienced power expansions.

However when international gasoline prices stay elevated all by way of 2023, Indian Electricity producers will proceed to burn extra coal than ever to genperiodte baseload power, beneathmining the environmental advantages of record-setting renewable current expansions.

Reporting by Gavin Maguire; Modifying by Kenneth Maxproperly

Our Requirements: The Thomson Reuters Notion Guidelines.

Opinions expressed are those of The author. They do not mirror the views of Reuters Information, which, beneath the Notion Guidelines, is dedicated to integrity, independence, and freedom from bias.

Gavin Maguire

Thomson Reuters

Gavin Maguire is The worldwide Energy Transition Columnist. He was beforehand Asia Commodities and Energy editor.



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