India Fuel Mix
India's demand for energy has been increasing rapidly, driven by the development of its manufacturing sector and its continuing urbanisation. With a population close to 1.4 billion its use of energy is a critical factor in the global picture.
A key development has been the relatively rapid increase in the provision of access to electricity.
Although it still depends heavily on fossil fuels, its use of renewable sources is increasing quickly.
Will India's emissions actually fall, or will they return to their earlier rate of increase?
The Indian government has strong policies in relation to renewable energy, to the development of its manufacturing and to the provision of electricity to India's people. Will these prove to be compatible with significant emissions reduction?
The chart shows the progress of India's CO2 emissions from 1990 onwards.
Despite increases in the use of renewable energy, emissions continued to rise until 2019 and the "COVID drop" in 2020.
As India recovers from the effects of the pandemic, however, we can see that emissions are now rising again.
India Energy Fuel Mix
In 2019 and 2020 India's use of coal and oil levelled off and then dropped. It is expected that these will recover following the restrictions resulting from the COVID pandemic.
Although the provision of hydro, wind, solar PV, etc. has been increasing rapidly, it is still a relatively small part of the energy mix in India.
April 2023: In 2022 India's power output grew at the fastest pace in 33 years, fuelled by coal.
According to a Reuters analysis India's power generation grew at the fastest pace in over three decades in the just-ended fiscal year.
Intense summer heatwaves, a colder-than-usual winter in northern India and an economic recovery led to a jump in electricity demand, forcing India to crank up output from coal plants and solar farms as it scrambled to avoid power cuts.
The share of renewables in power generation, excluding big hydro and nuclear power, has increased, but will emissions fall again?
April 2023: India orders coal power plants to max out
For the second year in a row, India’s government has ordered the nation’s coal-fired power plants to run at full power. But this year’s order is even more sweeping than last year’s — all coal and oil-fired generators will be maxed out for the entire summer, from April through to June.
You can read more here.
This is likely to dramatically increase India’s emissions.
March 2023: New coal record
The 2023 G20 summit is the upcoming meeting of the Group of Twenty, and it's scheduled to take place in New Delhi in 2023. It is the first ever G20 summit to be hosted in South Asia.
Although seen by some as an opportunity for India to assume a climate leadership role, this news must make that more difficult.
It also does not bode well for India's emissions figures for 2023 and beyond.