‘Climate change may impact India’s future renewable energy production’

Nivedita Khandekar(IANS) –

India has an ambitious target of increasing its renewable energy capacity to 175 GW by 2022 and 500 GW by 2030 as part of its nationally determined contribution (NDC) in the global combat against climate change, but new research on Thursday indicates that climate change is expected to impact future renewable energy production.

It, therefore, suggested that the investors in this sector should understand and consider possible changes due to it.

The research, published online on Thursday, is to feature in the June 10 issue of the prestigious journal ‘Current Science’.

Renewable energy includes hydroelectric power, wind energy and solar energy as its major constituents. India’s renewable energy generation supported 23 percent of energy production in 2019, which is expected to increase up to 40 percent in 2030.

Researchers T.S. Anandh and Parthasarathi Mukhopadhyay from the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune, an institution under the Ministry of Earth Sciences, and Deepak Gopalakrishnan, who is also from IITM and currently with the Center for Prototype Climate Modeling, New York University, Abu Dhabi analyzed the future wind and solar energy potential over the Indian landmass using climate model ensembles multiple scenarios of potential global temperature rise.

“Our analyses reveal that, in the future, seasonal and annual wind speed is likely to decrease over north India and increase along south India. On the other hand, solar radiation is estimated to decrease (10-15 Wm-2) over the next 50 years during all seasons. With the estimated decrease in future wind and solar potential, expanded and more efficient networks of wind and solar farms are needed to increase renewable energy production,” they said.

“In the Coupled Model Inter-comparison Project (CMIP) experiments, wind potential over the onshore regions shows an increasing trend, while offshore regions show a decreasing trend for the non-monsoon months. The southern coast of Odisha and the southern Indian states of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu show promising potential for wind energy in the climate change scenario,” the research paper said.

The seasonal analysis indicates that the southern and northwestern regions of the country will have higher wind speed in the winter and monsoon months when the wind potential is maximum, it added.

“Solar projections for the future indicate that solar radiation will decrease during all seasons over most of the active solar farming regions. For future investments in the solar power sector, central and south-central India must be considered during pre-monsoon months, as the potential loss is the minimum in these regions,” it said.

Regional analysis of wind potential indicates that the frequency of high energy-producing wind speeds will decrease, whereas low energy-producing wind speeds are likely to increase in the future.

In the solar potential regional analysis, future projections predict a shift in the frequency of solar radiation in the negative direction, implying that solar energy production will decrease in the immediate future. This can be attributed to the increase in total cloud cover.

“The present study shows that the renewable energy fields of solar and wind potential in India are likely to face a negative trend in the future. This can be overcome by including more farms and using highly efficient power generators than those available at present,” the paper suggested.