New Delhi: Inching towards meeting green energy targets by 2022, a new global report revealed that India added around 15.4 gigawatts of renewable power capacity in 2021.
The energy contribution has been the third-highest after china (136 GW) and the United state (42.9GW), as per the REN21’s renewables 2022 global status report on Thursday.
India has set a target to contribute 175 GW of renewable energy to its total energy capacity by 2022. The report noted that China remained the clear global leader in cumulative renewable energy capacity at year’s end, followed by the United States (398 GW), Brazil (160 GW), India (158 GW) and Germany (139 GW).
Talking about the solar energy the report stated that with this growth, India is now the third-largest market in the world for new solar photovoltaics (PV) capacity and ranked fourth in the world for total solar energy installations (60.4 GW) by overtaking Germany at 59.2 GW and following China (305.9 GW), US (121.4 GW) and Japan (78 GW).
The report also noted that the overall share of renewable energy across the globe has begun to stagnate, rising only marginally from 2009, when it was at 10.6%, to 2019. In fact, as of 2019, only three countries out of 80 – Iceland, Norway, and Sweden — had a share of renewables in their total final energy consumption of above 50%.
“As in previous years, the greatest success for renewables was in the power sector. After largely withstanding the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, growth in global renewable power capacity accelerated in 2021, adding more than 314 gigawatts (GW)” it said.
As economic activity rebounded in 2021, worldwide energy demand increased an estimated 4%, while CO2 emissions rose 6% to record levels adding 2 gigatonnes (Gt), after falling by 5% in 2020.
The report informed said despite climate commitments, governments continue to heavily subsidise the production and consumption of fossil fuels, spending $5.9 trillion in 2020 – 7% of global gross domestic product (GDP) that year — on direct and indirect fossil fuel subsidies.
“Renewables are the most affordable and best solution to tackle energy price fluctuations. We must boost the share of renewables and make them a priority of economic and industrial policy. We can’t fight fire with more fire,” Rana Adib, REN21 executive director said in a statement.
India has allotted $24.3 billion (18,100 crore) for its solar energy schemes which provide incentives to domestic and international companies to set up battery manufacturing plants. India invested $11.3 billion in renewables in 2021, equivalent to the GDP of Brunei Darussalam in 2020, the report noted.
Last year during the Glasgow climate summit on November, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that India’s non-fossil energy capacity will reach 500GW by 2030, meeting 50% of the country’s energy requirements at that time.
He said that India will reduce its total projected carbon emissions by 1 billion tonnes by 2030, reduce the carbon intensity of its economy by 45% by 2030 over 2005 levels, and will achieve net-zero emissions by 2070.
More than 17 countries announced new net zero commitments in 2021, many in advance of the November climate talks.
By year’s end, at least 135 countries, as well as the European Union (EU), together account for around 88% of global emissions.
The EU made its climate neutrality target for 2050 legally binding and set an interim target for 55% emission reduction by 2030. Brazil passed a net-zero target for 2070, and India for 2050.
“Although many more governments committed to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in 2021, the reality is that, in response to the energy crisis, most countries have gone back to seeking out new sources of fossil fuels and to burning even more coal, oil and natural gas,” said Rana Adib,
Over the global energy demand, the report stated that global electricity demand rebound strongly from its pre covid levels, growing 6 percent.
“Generation from renewables grew more than 5%, although extreme weather events affected the overall level of renewable electricity production, underscoring the potential impacts of climate change on renewables,” it said.
The report, however, added that more than half of the 6% increase in global electricity demand was supplied by coal power.
It said that last year, aftershocks of the Covid-19 pandemic and a rise in commodity prices led to a disruption in renewable energy supply chains and delayed renewable energy projects.
Though there was a rebound in economic activity, the subsequent 4% increase in global energy demand was mostly met by fossil fuels, the report noted, resulting in record carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.
“This situation has exposed the world to ever more pressing climate disasters as well as to geopolitical and economic threats,” the report said.
Atmospheric carbon dioxide peaked at 421 parts per million in May, according to measurements carried out at the Mauna Loa observatory of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Carbon dioxide levels are now more than 50% higher than pre-industrial times, the World Meteorological Organisation said last week, concentrations that have not been seen for millions of years.
Over the past year, China has announced plans to increase coal production by 300 million tonnes (equivalent to 7% of current levels), the US has seen a boom in new fracking and drilling projects, and the European Union has initiated a series of short-term measures to diversify gas imports, most of which have benefited the fossil fuel industry.
The report also called upon the ending government’s support for fossil fuel production and exploration and said enacting bans on funding for international fossil fuel projects will have the potential to indirectly support the uptake of renewables.
“We now stand at a historic crossroads. Instead of continuing to support a fossil fuel-based energy order, which serves only some and triggers massive natural and economic disasters affecting all countries and citizens, we need to take bold action to phase out fossil fuels and accelerate the deployment of energy efficiency and renewables” he said.
The report stated that transport remains the sector with the lowest share of renewable energy use despite the growth in electric vehicles in recent years.
“Overall, the transport sector is not on track to meet global climate goals for 2030 and 2050. The majority of countries worldwide have acknowledged the sector’s role in mitigating emissions by including transport in their NDCs under the Paris Agreement” it said.
The report said in 2021, an estimated 770 million people worldwide did not have access to electricity. The number of people without access fell significantly in the last decade, from 1,153 million in 2010 to 759 million in 2019.