India will have to invest $834 billion in the two decades ending 2030 to reduce its emission intensity to gross domestic product (GDP) by 42 per cent over 2007 levels, according to a Planning Commission expert group.
According to the final report of the expert group on low carbon strategies for inclusive growth, the massive change in the energy mix by 2030 will result in lower annual demand of coal at 1,278 million tonnes from an estimated 1,568 million tonnes.
The measures would help in reducing demand for crude oil to 330 million tonnes, from an estimated 406 million tonnes by 2030. The low carbon emission strategy would increase the consumption of gas in energy mix and its consumption would increase from 187 billion cubic metres (bcm) to 208 bcm, said the report. Under the low carbon energy mix, the installed capacities of wind and solar power would have to be increased to 118 Gigawatts (GW) and 110 GW, respectively, by 2030.
According to Kirit Parikh, a former member of the Planning Commission (Energy) and head of the expert group, which released the report in Delhi on Monday, the huge investments needed in low carbon strategy would have little impact on economic growth. He opined that the Indian economy is expected to be growing at a rate of 7.03 per cent per annum till 2030 and with the investment of $834 billion over two decades on low carbon strategy, it would grow at 6.87 per cent every year.
However, he said this investment of $834 billion at 2011 prices would result in reduced resources for other sectors, which could in turn affect the GDP growth rate. Highlighting other observations of the study, he said that people are buying higher star-rated appliances these days, which are generally more energy- efficient.
The report also highlights the importance of more efficient coal power plants in the future and the use of renewable energy resources. It suggested that the aim should be that at least one third of power generation by 2030 be fossil-fuel free.
It also suggested that the Indian government needs to allocate more resources to the 'Green India Mission' to enhance the stock of growing forests, and to improve provisioning of ecosystem goods and services in the country.