The world’s fastest-growing emitter of carbon dioxide could wean itself off coal entirely by 2050, a new report suggests—if the right policies are put in place and prices for both batteries and renewable energy sources continue to fall at the current pace.
Research from The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) in India suggests that the country can cut its CO2 emissions by up to 10% or 600 million tonnes after 2030, should renewable energy and batteries become less costly than coal within a decade, reports the Financial Times (FT). The report further suggests that, if New Delhi has policies in place that encourage the viability of an electricity grid that largely runs on renewables, the country can even phase out coal-fired power plants entirely by 2050.
“This is perfectly achievable if government gets its policies right,” TERI director-general Ajay Mathur told the FT. “India’s power sector could be coal-free by 2050.” The country of more than 1.2 billion people is currently the world’s fastest-growing polluter, as emissions grow in tandem with its burgeoning economy. India’s carbon emissions volume grew by over 8% in 2014 and 5% in 2015 respectively, according to the FT.
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For TERI’s projections to come true by 2050, cost for renewable energy sources as well as electric battery packs have to continue its downward trend and become half as expensive as current prices by 2025, according to Mathur.
Solar power has become the world’s cheapest form of energy for electricity generation, according to Bloomberg analysis in December. The cost of solar energy has plunged to a third of what it was in 2010 in more than 50 emerging economies including India and China.
Indian government ministers are reportedly set to indicate their backing of the report’s findings by attending its launch, according to FT.