The energy transition means much more than power generation. It includes the sector’s shift from burning fossil fuels to oil, coal, natural gas to generate electricity, to using renewable resources such as wind, solar, hydro, or geothermal energy. But mainly it is used to cut CO2 emissions across the board while developing energy storage and electrifying major industry and transportation systems.
We are now entering a new era of energy demand with renewables playing an important role in meeting this demand.
We shall see what is the present picture of the use of energy sources in the country and what shall be the picture of our country after 10 to 15 years, say 2030. There will be major technological changes and the use of energy in the coming years. The main reason for this is climate change and air pollution.
Effects of climate change
The multiple hurricanes that have hit the US this year are estimated to have damaged hundreds of billions of dollars worth of property that will take many years to reconstruct. The simultaneous extreme rainfalls and droughts in India are hitting cities and villages alike. Heatwave fuelled forest fires are killing people in Europe and Asia. There is now an emerging consensus that action against climate change has to be taken now, and quickly.
Trends of technological changes and energy use
India’s total power generation is two times the total peak load required power.
Coal-based thermal power stations shall gradually reduce to give way to solar power/renewable energy.
In India, for the first time, a power plant—Badarpur Thermal Power Station in Delhi—was closed to make air breathable during the winters.
Coal-based thermal power stations are operating at loss.
Petrol/diesel-based vehicles shall be gradually replaced by e- vehicles.
Paris, Madrid, Athens, and Mexico City have announced plans to ban diesel vehicles by 2025, India and China are planning the large-scale introduction of electric vehicles.
LPG and other cooking fuels shall be used in coordination with the induction heater.
1) Rapid decline in solar/renewable energy prices
2) Battery gets efficient, affordable : Today we have batteries that can store electricity at utility (MW) scale and act both as a large base-load plant as well as a peaking plant
3) Houses, household appliances become super-efficient : The fact is, there has been a silent revolution in the energy efficiency of most domestic appliances, which has improved by a factor of six to eight in the last 30 years.
In the 1990s, an incandescent bulb consumed 60 W and a ceiling fan consumed 150 W.
Today, we have LED bulbs, which consume 7 W and last up to 20 times longer than incandescent bulbs, and fans that consume 25 W.
In the 1980s, a 24-inch CRT TV consumed 150 W. Today, a similar size LED TV runs on 24 W.
The energy efficiency ratio of an AC has increased from 1 British Thermal Unit (BTU) per Watt in the early 1990s to 7 BTU/W and above. Similarly, the energy efficiency of a fridge has improved six times.
4 ) Use of Electricity for cooking : Induction cooking is likely to grow rapidly. Induction cooking has emerged as the most efficient and cheapest method of cooking. Today, a single-stove induction stove is available at less than Rs 2,000. A family of five can reduce their cooking fuel bill by at least 30 per cent compared to LPG by shifting to induction cooking.
5) Use of Electrical Vehicles : Almost every major automobile company in the world has either introduced or has plans to introduce electric cars in the near future.
China made a big move towards e-vehicles: 750,000 electric cars were sold in 2016, taking the electric car stock to over 2 million; 40 per cent of those were sold in China.
Recently, India has announced its plan to replace petrol and diesel vehicles with e-vehicles by 2030.
According to IEA’s Global EV Outlook 2017, the number of e-vehicles on the road will increase to 40-70 million by 2025.
Electric two-wheelers have got a head start over electric cars. China alone has 200 million electric two-wheelers. India has 0.5 million.
India should have 25 million electric two-wheelers by 2020. Most industry analysts believe the target can be reached by 2025 if incentives are properly targeted.