India’s energy transition: potential and prospects

India has the potential for a large-scale energy transition, i.e. the rapid transition away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy. The country has set for itself ambitious renewable energy targets, with government policy intending to achieve 175 GW of installed renewable energy capacity by 2022. It is about 59 GW currently, at the end of first quarter of 2017, according to official figures. Furthermore, India’s commitment in the UNFCCC process includes achieving 40 per cent of electrical power from non-fossil sources by 2030. As the current figure stand already at about 31 per cent, this latter target is likely to be superseded, although it needs to be noted that large-scale hydro as well as nuclear power is included here, i.e. energy options not generally compatible with sustainability concerns. The analysis provided in this book encourages the interested reader to envisage the “brave new world” of an India that is powered by renewable energy, to a large extent. It shows that reaching the current renewable targets is entirely possible, envisaging a coexistence of grid and off-grid solutions. The book provides ideas and recommendations about what is needed to reach this new world, especially when it comes to the mobilization of finance, and with regard to reforming the power distribution system and the grid itself, technically as well as in terms of grid governance. This book shows that solar rooftop, storage systems and cross-subsidy schemes via the distribution companies etc, will be needed to be a part of the strategy if India is going to achieve energy access for all.

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