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

The power sector contributes about 40 per cent of India’s total greenhouse gas emissions

By DTE Staff
Published: Wednesday 17 May 2023

The Report on Optimal Generation Mix 2030 Version 2.0 by 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.

Last year, 73 per cent of India’s power came from coal which is expected to go down to 55 per cent by 2030. Renewable sources (such as small hydro, pumped hydro, solar, wind and biomass) will rise to 31 per cent in 2030 from 12 per cent right now.

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)].

Focusing on solar and wind energy alone, 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.)

CEA estimates that for coal plants, “2,121.5 MW is considered for likely retirement” by 2030, of which 304 MW will be retired during 2022-23. But with rising power demand, while the share of coal will reduce in the energy mix, coal power will rise by 19 pr cent in terms of capacity and by 13 per cent in terms of generation (between 2023-2030)”.

The 2023 CEA report projections differ from the 2020 report marginally. The differences are as follows:

  • Power generation projected for coal to go up from 54 per cent to 55 per cent in 2030.
  • 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 to reduce from 12 per cent to 9 per cent.
  • Projection for total installed power capacity for 2030 has been revised to 777 GW from 817 GW.
  • Likely gross generation revised from 2,518 BU to 2,440.7 BU.

CEA 2023 projected about 60 GW of storage capacity to be required by 2030, from both pumped hydro and battery storage. 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. 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 and 64 per cent if nuclear power is considered.

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 11per cent (from 1.002 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide (GtCO2) in 2021-22), which will comprise 8 per cent of global power sector emissions (1.114 GtCO2 in 2030).

This will be 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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