Solar leads renewables charge – but not fast enough

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Solar and wind power will drive renewable energy to record the biggest growth rate in installed capacity in India up to 2030, with an improvement of 12% over the 12-year period starting this year, according to analysts at London-based GlobalData.

But even that impressive expansion will hardly dislodge the dominance of thermal power generation, and particularly coal, says Chiradeep Chatterjee, a Power Industry Analyst for the company.

Mr. Chatterjee predicts that, by 2030, non-hydro renewable energy will account for 40% of the nation’s installed capacity but only 14% of generation. The GlobalData analyst says thermal power plants will still account for 48% of India’s power generation in 12 years’ time. A predicted capacity growth rate of just 2.1% up to 2030 for thermal power generation illustrates the dominant position fossil fuel generation boasts in India, with coal accounting for 85% of that slice of the market.

GlobalData analysts predict nuclear will experience a 9.7% installed capacity growth rate up to 2030, with hydro capacity expanding 3.4%.

Mr. Chatterjee called for India’s state-owned power distribution companies to be privatized so the need for profit drives them towards solar and wind generation – both of which benefit from rapidly falling costs – at a faster rate.