The world’s second-most populous country could run its economy entirely on renewable electricity by 2050, Finland’s Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT) calculates in its latest assessment of the feasibility of such a goal in various countries and globally.
India, like other developing nations with generous renewable energy resources, “is in a position to bypass the historical Western method of increasing living standards while relying on fossil fuel-heavy energy, to skip straight to an emissions-free future,” CleanTechnica reports, citing LUT’s findings.
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India has been closing coal mines, cancelling coal-fired power generation projects, investing heavily in solar, and proposes banning the sale of gasoline-fueled automobiles by 2030—all steps on the way to an all-clean electrical grid. Its Paris agreement climate commitment, however, calls only for it to get 40% of its electricity from low-carbon sources by 2030.
A more aggressive policy that leaned on solar, batteries, and wind (to compensate for lower solar output during monsoon season), aimed at reaching 100% renewable generation by mid-century, would cost the country nearly US$4 trillion over the next three decades. But at $61 per megawatt-hour, the Finnish researchers calculate, it would deliver cheaper power than India’s current coal-fired electricity system, which costs it $67 per MWh.
“The possibility that a country like India could move to a fully renewable electricity system within three decades, and do it more economically than the current system, shows that developing countries can skip the emission-intensive phase in their economic development,” said lead researcher Pasi Vainikka. “It is a competitive advantage to not take the road of the developed world.”
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