India’s climate mitigation plans face a threat as Earth warms

Source: Business standard

Relevance: Implications of climate change on the renewable energy sector in India.

Synopsis: Threats posed by climate to India’s renewable energy sector and possible solutions.

Context

India recently renewed its target for renewable energy installation to 450 GW by 2040 from earlier 175 GW by 2022.

But this plan is threatened by climate change, since weather extremes in India is hurting the sustainability of solar and wind projects. This calls for additional investment in projects for mitigation and forecasting technologies.

Threats to renewable energy sector 

Climate change is threatening renewable energy sector in the following ways:

  • Decline in wind speed: The average wind speed in the five key wind power generation states: Maharashtra, Madhya Pra­d­esh, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh and Kar­nataka, has declined. Due to back-to-back cyclones and changing monsoon patterns combined with heavy rains impacted the wind speed. This led to 40% reduction in wind energy production.
  • Changing weather patterns also brought more cloudy days, affecting solar power generation. Major solar energy producing states such as  Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka saw solar power generation fall 7-15% over last year.

Recently published 6th assessment report by IPCC has warned that such trends may likely continue.

Suggestions/measures
  • Investing in digital solutions which help monitor weather changes, and plan generation accordingly. They enhance performance optimization and predictive maintenance, thus improves efficiency
  • Investing in taller wind turbines and more efficient generators to tackle the lack of windy sites and sporadic wind movements.

Conclusion

India’s focus for climate mitigation is based on renewable energy capacity addition, whereas climate extremes are impacting generation. Thus, there is need for the government to realign the focus, keeping in mind the challenges of climate change.

Must Read: IPCC 6th Assessment report
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