India requires US$ 2-2.5 trillion during 2020-70 to achieve net zero by 2070: IIM Ahmedabad Report

India requires US$ 2-2.5 trillion during 2020-70 to achieve net zero by 2070: IIM Ahmedabad Report

Net-zero is not possible without substantial nuclear power and renewable energy generation by 2070

  • By ICN Bureau | April 05, 2024

The Financial requirements during 2020-2070 would be to the tune of Rs 150-200 lakh crore (about US$ 2-2.5 trillion, or US$ 40-50 billion/year) and considerable financial flows must be international, says a report titled “Synchronizing energy transitions towards possible Net-Zero for India: Affordable and clean energy for All” prepared by IIM Ahmedabad.

The report concludes that the electricity sector will need to decarbonize well before 2070  to achieve net-zero energy systems by 2070. “India’s emissions would range between 0.56 btCO2 and 1.0 btCO2 in 2070. It is expected that the remaining gap in emissions will be offset through sequestration in forestry and tree cover as envisaged in our Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs),” the report predicts.

The report attempts to answer key questions related to India’s energy trajectory such as how much energy does India need to achieve high value of Human Development Index (HDI); what are pathways to achieve this; what are the energy mix projections for this until 2070 (our declared net-zero target year); what would be the cost of electricity to the end user; what would be the carbon emissions until 2070; what would be the investments required for energy transitions towards net-zero at 2070; estimation of other challenges and opportunities (RE integration, requirement of critical minerals, Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage (CCUS), natural gas, ethanol, hydrogen) in energy transitions towards achieving net-zero in 2070.

Speaking on the launch of the report, Prof. Ajay Sood, Principal Scientific Adviser to Government of India, in his opening remarks, stated that the report is a comprehensive study, bringing together aspects from all sectors of power generation in one place, providing a holistic view of the Indian energy sector and throwing light on the potential pathways for a development-led transition to net-zero. He added that these pathways also need large resources to be put in place, hence, we need to synergise our efforts in various sectors. He stated that this report is a good beginning and more such studies are needed.

Dr. Anil Kakodkar, former Chairman, AEC welcomed the study as the need of the hour which is an energy transitions study done from India’s perspective. He also highlighted the need for the development of technologies for low-cost hydrogen production.

Dr. V. K. Saraswat, Member, NITI Aayog expressed his satisfaction in the findings of the study which were in alignment with the simulation studies done by NITI Aayog. He appreciated that the study is based on a development-led approach which is the right approach to clean energy transition. He also acknowledged that such a transition is also going to be expensive, as highlighted in the report. He agreed with the premise that more RE penetration is needed with baseload energy source as nuclear. He emphasised that without nuclear energy, the storage requirements for RE will be very high to tackle the intermittency of its supply. This will, in turn, enhance the dependence on critical minerals which is not sustainable. He further added that for the nuclear sector, a transition is needed from large reactors to Small Modular Reactors (SMRs), with participation of industry. There is also a need to promote alternate nuclear fuel options such as Thorium to reduce dependence on Uranium import.

Dr. A. K. Mohanty, Secretary, DAE and Chairman, AEC, gave an overview of the on-going nuclear programme in the country and the plans for increasing the nuclear installed capacity by 100GW by 2047. He also appreciated the report and stated that is a vital input for further policy formulations.

Prof. Ajay Sood concluded by saying that he firmly believes that this report will be taken seriously by all the relevant stakeholder ministries, departments and industries and will be helpful in the planning stages of our endeavours in clean energy.

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