Massive Energy Transition

We shall see that what is present picture of use of energy sources in country and what shall be the picture of our country after 10 to 15 years, say 2030. There will be major technological changes and use of energy in coming years. Main reason for this is climate change and air pollution.

Effects of climate change

The multiple hurricanes that have hit the US this year are estimated to have damaged hundreds of billions of dollars worth of property that will take many years to reconstruct. The simultaneous extreme rainfalls and droughts in India are hitting cities and villages alike. Heat wave fuelled forest fires are killing people in Europe and Asia. There is now an emerging consensus that action against climate change has to be taken now, and quickly.

Trends of technological changes and energy uses

  • India’s total power generation is two times the total peak load required power.
  • Coal based thermal power stations shall gradually reduce to give way to solar power/renewable energy.
  • In India, for the first time, a power plant—Badarpur Thermal Power Station in Delhi—was closed to make air breathable during the winters.
  • Coal based thermal power stations are operating at loss.
  • Petrol/diesel based vehicles shall be gradually replaced by e-vehicles.
  • Paris, Madrid, Athens and Mexico City have announced plans to ban diesel vehicles by 2025, India and China are planning large-scale introduction of electric vehicles.
  • LPG and other cooking fuels shall be used in coordination with induction heater.

Technological trends

  1. Rapid decline in solar/renewable energy prices.
  2. Battery gets efficient, affordable - Today we have batteries that can store electricity at utility (MW) scale and act both as a large base-load plant as well as a
    peaking plant.
  3. Houses, household appliances become super-efficient.The fact is there has been a silent revolution in energy efficiency of most domestic appliances, which has improved by a factor of six to eight in last 30 years.In the 1990s, an incandescent bulb consumed 60 W and a ceiling fan consumed 150 W. Today, we have LED bulbs, which consume 7 W and last up to 20 times longer than incandescent bulbs, and fans that consume 25 W. In the 1980s, a 24-inch CRT TV consumed 150 W. Today, a similar size LED TV runs on 24 W. The energy efficiency ratio of an AC has increased from 1 British Thermal Unit (BTU) per Watt in the early 1990s to 7 BTU/W and above. Similarly, the energy efficiency of a fridge has improved six times.
  4. Use of Electricity for cooking - Induction cooking is likely to grow rapidly. Induction cooking has emerged as the most efficient and cheapest method of cooking. Today, a single-stove induction stove is available at less than Rs 2,000. A family of five can reduce their cooking fuel bill by at least 30 per cent compared to LPG by shifting to induction cooking.
  5. Use of Electrical vehicles –
    Almost every major automobile company in the world has either introduced or has plans to introduce electric cars in the near future. China made a big move towards e-vehicles: 750,000 electric cars were sold in 2016, taking the electric car stock to over 2 million; 40 per cent of those were sold in China. Recently, India has announced its plan to replace petrol and diesel vehicles with e-vehicles by 2030.
    According to IEA’s Global EV Outlook 2017, the number of e-vehicles on the road will increase to 40-70 million by 2025. Electric two-wheelers have got a head start over electric cars. China alone has 200 million electric two-wheelers. India has 0.5 million. India should have 25 million electric two-wheelers by 2020. Most industry analysts believe the target can be reached by 2025 if incentives are properly targeted.
2016-2017: Against Peak load demand of 160 GW India installed capacity of 327 GW this year
2021-2022: India will have 470 GW plant capacity more than sufficient to meet all demands
2026-2027: For first time India will have more power plants on non fossil fuels than fossil fuels
2031-2032: 1/3rd of capacity will be from coal. Solar and Wind will have more capacity than coal
August 13, 2020
Anupam Rastogi
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