India met 72% of H1 electricity demand with solar, wind

From pv magazine India

India’s electricity demand in the first half of 2021 grew just 3% from the first six months of 2019 levels due to the ongoing impact of the pandemic. This is one of the lowest increases in developing Asia amid the pandemic, according to a new report by London-based research firm Ember.

The nation met 72% of the increase in electricity demand with solar and wind. However, coal generation also increased by 4% to fill the remaining gap in demand and to offset a decline in hydroelectricity generation, almost returning to its 2018 peak.

The figures paint a better picture for India than other Asian nations, where the growth of coal and other fossil fuel sources accounted for a much bigger share in meeting the increase in electricity demand in the first six months of this year. 

For instance, China’s electricity demand rose by 14% from the first half of 2019. And it met only 29% of that increase in demand with wind and solar. About 68% was met by coal power. That pushed up China’s power sector CO2 emissions by 14% from the first half of 2019 to the first six months of this year.

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Bangladesh, meanwhile, met electricity demand growth almost entirely through fossil fuels. Pakistan was the only Asian country other than Bangladesh that saw no increase in wind and solar generation, despite an increase in electricity demand.

The 4% rise in coal generation, and thus an increase in CO2 emissions, puts India among “gray recovery countries” – that is, countries where high electricity demand growth was met in part by wind and solar but also by extra coal generation, leading to higher power sector CO2 emissions. 

The Ember report showed that most Asian countries – Mongolia, China, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, and India – had a “gray recovery.”

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