Coal’s share in India’s power mix to decline to half by 2030, renewables to meet new demand: CEA

Solar is expected to lift the load in the future power mix, while projections for large hydropower and wind remain modest  

By Avantika Goswami
Published: Wednesday 10 May 2023
Photo: iStock

In a new publication titled Report on Optimal Generation Mix 2030 Version 2.0, the Union Ministry of Power’s Central Electricity Authority (CEA) offers updated projections on what India’s energy mix for the power sector could look like in 2030. 

India generated 73 per cent of its power from coal in 2022-23; CEA expects this to go down to 55 per cent by 2030. A greater share in the electricity mix will be held by renewable sources such as small hydro, pumped hydro, solar, wind and biomass, whose generation is expected to rise to 31 per cent in 2030 from 12 per cent currently. 

India’s power mix — now vs 2030, share of total (%)


New renewables mean small hydro, pumped hydro, solar, wind, biomass. Source: CSE; Data from CEA

Power capacity differs from generation. Capacity is the maximum power a plant can produce and is expressed in watts (or gigawatts or megawatts). Generation is the actual amount of power produced in one hour, expressed in watt-hours or billion units (BU).

India’s push to grow renewables bodes well at a time when the climate community is pushing for countries to agree on a global renewables target — a tripling of renewable capacity by 2030, as the President of the 28th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Sultan Al Jaber, stated. 

Focusing on solar and wind energy alone, CEA projects that India’s capacity and generation are expected to quadruple from 109 GW to 392 GW and from 173 BU to 761 BU respectively in 2030. 

Despite the government of India’s aspirations to raise the share of natural gas in the energy mix, the contribution of gas to power generation remains small, according to CEA. For coal plants, it estimates that “2,121.5 MW is considered for likely retirement” by 2030, of which 304 MW will be retired during 2022-23. 

With rising power demand, it is worth noting that while the share of coal is expected to reduce from 73 per cent to 55 per cent of power generation by 2030, coal power will rise in absolute terms between 2023 and 2030 — by 19 per cent in terms of capacity and by 13 per cent in terms of generation.

India’s power mix now vs 2030, generation (in BU)

New renewables mean small hydro, pumped hydro, solar, wind, biomass. Source: CSE; Data from CEA

The report is an updated version of the same published by CEA in 2020, with projections for 2030 varying marginally between the 2020 and 2023 reports:

  • Power generation projected for coal in 2030 to go up from 54 per cent to 55 per cent
  • Large hydro generation to increase from 8 per cent to 9 per cent
  • Solar generation to go up from 19 per cent to 23 per cent
  • Wind generation for 2030 to reduce from 12 per cent in the previous report to 9 per cent in the new one
  • Projection for total installed power capacity for 2030 has been revised to 777 GW compared to the older report which projected 817 GW
  • Likely gross generation revised downwards from 2518 BU to 2440.7 BU

CEA projected about 60 GW of storage capacity to be required by 2030, from both pumped hydro and battery storage, to store excess renewable generation and meet peak demand (typically in the evenings), which often does not coincide with peak renewable generation such as solar. 

The report also stated that India’s green hydrogen aspirations will lead to an additional energy requirement of 250 BU by 2030. To put this in context, in 2022-23, India generated only 173 BU from solar and wind energy for its basic power needs — this will have to be ramped up significantly if hydrogen production is to be an added priority.

CEA’s projections indicate that India is likely to over-achieve on its pledge to the Paris Agreement — to have 50 per cent of installed power capacity from non-fossil sources by 2030. As per the report, India’s share of capacity from non-fossil sources — large hydro, small hydro, pumped hydro, solar, wind and biomass — will be 62 per cent by 2030. The share will be 64 per cent if nuclear power is considered. 

Power sector — India vs world


2030 power demand

2021 CO2 emissions from the power sector

2030 CO2 emissions from the power sector

2030 per capita CO2 emissions from the power sector

India (CEA)

2,279.7 BU

1.002 GtCO2

1.114 GtCO2

0.7 tonne

World (IEA Stated Policies Scenario)

30,621 BU

13 GtCO2

11 GtCO2

1.3 tonnes

India as % of World

7 per cent

8 per cent

10 per cent


Source: CSE; Data from IEA, CEA, World Bank

The power sector contributes about 40 per cent of India’s total greenhouse gas emissions. With growing energy demand as is expected of a developing country, power sector emissions are projected to rise by 11 per cent — from 1.002 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide (GtCO2) in 2021-22, comprising 8 per cent of global power sector emissions to 1.114 GtCO2 in 2030 at 10 per cent of the corresponding global figure. On a per capita basis, this will be about half the world average even in 2030. 

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