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India to achieve climate change goal earlier than thought

According to reports, the share of non-fossil fuels in India’s sources of electricity will increase way beyond the nation’s climate change commitments and much earlier than initially thought, according to a five year energy blueprint brought out by the Central Electricity Authority (CEA), a federal statutory body.

CEA said in the draft national electricity plan, 2016, that the share of non-fossil fuel power generation capacity comprising hydel, nuclear and renewable sources of energy, will reach 46.8% by 2021-22, up from 30% at the beginning of this year.

This is well ahead of what was prescribed as India’s intended nationally determined contribution, a commitment made at the UN framework convention on climate change in Paris last December of relying on non-fossil fuels for 40% of electricity generation by 2030.

Non-fossil fuels are expected meet 56.5 % of India’s electricity requirement by the end of 2026-27, according to the plan.

The projection comes at a time of rapid expansion in renewable energy capacity and regular upgradation of nuclear power capacity. India has about 50 giga watt (GW) of renewable energy capacity including small hydel projects. Of this, about 28 GW is wind power and 8.5 GW is solar.

At the moment, the country has about a 5.7 GW of nuclear power generation capacity and the Department of Atomic Energy has set a target of having 63 GW of nuclear power capacity by 2032.

“The country is moving in the direction of relying more on clean energy and less on fossil fuels, enabled by technological advances, viability of projects and the right pricing,” said Vikram Kailas, MD and CEO, Mytrah Energy Ltd. a renewable energy company. Kailas said the country’s solar power capacity is set to reach 20 GW within the next couple of years.

The draft electricity plan also estimated that about 268 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emission will be avoided annually by the end of the year 2021-22 from renewable energy sources.

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