The Republic of India has an estimated population of 1.36 billion people. Power plants in the country use fossil fuels (79.8%), renewable energy (17.3%) and nuclear power (2.9%) to generate electricity. Coal is the primary source of power in fossil fuel power plants and hydropower is the primary renewable energy source of power in India.
The electrical power grid in India is unreliable and underdeveloped. The International Energy Agency (IEA) reported that 240 million people in India lacked access to electricity in 2017. However, India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi has pledged to bring reliable power throughout the country.
India is also experiencing unprecedented economic growth, which usually means dramatic increases in greenhouse gases. However, India’s Power Minister Raj Kumar Singh has announced that the country has achieved a 20% reduction in greenhouse gas emission intensity from 2005 levels. The government’s goal is to achieve a 33% reduction in greenhouse gas emission intensity from 2005 levels by 2030.
India’s dramatic decline in emission intensity is due to the development of utility scale renewable energy projects and the implementation of new energy efficient building codes. The development of new wind farms and solar parks has reduced greenhouse gas emissions from coal fueled power plants. The new energy efficient building codes are anticipated to reduce CO2 emissions in India by 100 million tons by 2030.
In my opinion, India’s accomplishment of dramatic economic growth while reducing greenhouse gas emissions should be applauded. The People’s Republic of China (PRC) has experienced dramatic growth over the past twenty years, but now produces more greenhouse gases than any other country in the world. Although the PRC has built some of the largest renewable energy projects in the world, it is India that has actually reduced greenhouse gases.