India’s goal of achieving 450GW renewable energy by 2030 is likely to be the highlight of the country’s contribution to climate change mitigation at the UN-led COP26 summit that begins in Glasgow on Sunday.
In a tweet after an inter-ministerial meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) on India’s stand at COP26, union environment minister Bhupender Yadav on Wednesday said India is on track to achieve the goal.
“India under the visionary leadership of PM Shri @narendramodi ji is leading the fight against climate change. As the country remains a ‘high performer’ in the Climate Change Performance Index, India is also on track to achieve the renewable energy target of 450 GW by 2030,” Bhupender Yadav tweeted.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 15 announced that India has installed 100GW of renewable energy. He added that India is the only country among G20 nations that is progressing rapidly to meet its climate goals.
India has set a target of achieving 40% of electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel sources by 2030 in its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) under the Paris Agreement. One of the means to achieve the target is installing 175GW of renewable energy by 2022.
Under the Paris Agreement, India presently has three quantifiable NDCs. They include lowering the emissions intensity of its GDP by 33-35% compared to 2005 levels by 2030, increasing total cumulative electricity generation from fossil-free energy sources to 40% by 2030, and creating an additional carbon sink of 2.5-3 billion tonnes through additional forest and tree cover.
Centre for Science and Environment director general Sunita Narain called the 450GW goal substantial. “It will be difficult to achieve, but we have to see what measures are put in place. There are projections that solar prices would go up because there aren’t enough loans or finance to support the capital cost mainly because the risk is high,” Narain said.
An official, who attended the meeting at the PMO, said announcing a distant net zero goal may not be a solution to the present climate change crisis. “So, we may focus on immediate goals. But options are still open. The net zero option has not been closed,” the official said.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, added that since Narendra Modi will be travelling to Glasgow, the Cabinet’s approval was not needed. “It was decided that India will not be an outlier at COP26.”
Ahead of COP26, the summit’s president Alok Sharma said on Tuesday that he expects India to incorporate 450GW renewable energy goal by 2030 in the NDC that it will submit.
Sharma said every country starts with a different energy mix, but India’s informal goal of 450GW should be formalised in its NDC before the Glasgow talks.
The Coalition of Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI), a global partnership of 27 countries initiated by India in 2019, will also be launching an initiative to help small island states develop resilience to climate change at COP26.
The initiative titled “Infrastructure for the Resilient Island States” will be implemented between 2022 and 2030 in 58 countries in the Caribbean, the Pacific, and the Atlantic, Indian Ocean, Mediterranean, and the South China Sea.
India, Australia, and the UK are likely to pledge $10 million each for the project and other CDRI initiatives.
Other countries are also likely to contribute. Japan and the US have offered support in kind, mainly in technical expertise.