Wood Mackenzie Report Highlights India's Potential to Lead Low-Carbon Economy by 2050
The report, titled 'Chance of a Lifetime: can India show the developing world a unique path to net zero?' explores a net zero 2050 scenario for India.
January 20, 2024. By Abha Rustagi
The report, titled 'Chance of a Lifetime: can India show the developing world a unique path to net zero?' explores a net zero 2050 scenario for India, projecting a $13 trillion economy by investing in clean energy technologies and market-driven policies.
Currently the world's third-largest emitter, India's energy system heavily relies on fossil fuels. However, the report outlines a radical approach for India to achieve net zero while industrializing and supporting its fast-growing population. Prakash Sharma, Vice President, Scenarios and Technologies Research at Wood Mackenzie, emphasizes the ambitious and unprecedented nature of this transition, stating that success could pave the way for other developing countries.
The Panchamrit initiative, presented at COP26 in 2021, plays a crucial role in promoting the rapid development of renewable energy in India. The strategy includes an ambitious target of generating 500 GW of non-fossil-fuel electricity by 2030, requiring India to nearly triple its non-fossil-fuel capacity in six years. The report suggests that achieving 50 percent of energy needs from non-fossil fuel sources could result in a cumulative reduction of 1 billion tonnes of carbon emissions by 2030.
Wood Mackenzie's net zero scenario for 2050 requires India to increase its non-fossil fuel electricity generation to almost 80 percent. The country must establish low-cost domestic supply chains for large-scale solar and wind power and invest in off-grid and decentralized renewable energy systems.
India faces the unique challenge of decarbonizing newer production units than other major economies, presenting an opportunity for industrial growth through low-carbon technology manufacturing. The report highlights key areas for India's focus, including bioenergy, nuclear energy, green hydrogen, and carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS).
While the report acknowledges India's services-led economy with a growing emphasis on manufacturing, it calls for economic growth tied to sustainability, especially in hard-to-abate manufacturing sectors. Wood Mackenzie's Net Zero 2050 scenario emphasizes the need for a transparent carbon pricing mechanism to incentivize investments in CCUS, green hydrogen, renewables, and bioenergy.
The report concludes that India's successful transition to a low-carbon economy requires consistent and unwavering political leadership, global support, and diplomatic influence to attract investments. It emphasizes that building strong partnerships is crucial, presenting India with a rare opportunity to rapidly decarbonize its economy.
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