Climate change may impact renewable energy production in India: Study


New Delhi: Bad news for investors who are investing in the renewable energy sector in India. As per a new study, climate change is expected to impact the future of renewable energy production in India due to a reduction in solar radiation over the next 50 years in all seasons.

The study conducted by the  Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, IITM Pune, “Analysis of future wind and solar potential over India using climate models” suggested that the renewable energy sector should work on improving the efficiency of solar farms given that radiation is likely to dip by 10 to 15 watts per square metre (sqm) across all seasons.

“In future, seasonal and annual wind speed is likely to decrease over North India and increase along South India” it added,

It further added that As climate change is expected to impact both wind and solar potential in the future, the investors in this sector to carefully plan their investments, which are expected to significantly increase in the next 30–40 years in the Indian region.

Keeping in mind the changing pattern in solar radiation, the study suggests central and south-central India must be considered for the sector during pre-monsoon months, as the potential loss was minimum in these regions

“North-western India — the biggest solar energy hub — is likely to see a loss in its energy capacity. With increasing pollution levels, there will be an increase in aerosols in the environment. This, in turn, increases the cloud lifetime. As a result, the cloud cover is sustained for a long time, which means that solar radiation will be reduced.” it said.

The other components of renewable energy, such as wind and solar, are sensitive to even small changes in atmospheric conditions and therefore, to climate change.

“Variations of wind speed in the order of 1 m/s can change the wind energy drastically as power is proportional to the velocity cubed11. Any change in wind shear and direction can alter energy production significantly in the existing wind fields” said the study.

As for the changes in wind patterns, the study revealed that global warming would result in a drop in wind potential in some regions, and a rise in others.

Projecting the future course of wind pattern in the country, the study says, that wind speed in the future projections is found to increase in the Gangetic plains and decrease along the western coast of India.

 It said the eastern and southeastern parts of India show little change, whereas the eastern offshore regions show a reduction in wind speed.

“The southern coast of Odisha and the southern states of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu show promising potential for wind energy in the climate change scenario,” says the study.

Given that both solar and wind potential in India were likely to face a negative trend, the researchers predicted that the deficits could be overcome by including more farms and using highly efficient power generators than those available at present.

The study said, India mainly receives a majority of its wind energy during the southwest monsoon and solar energy during the pre-monsoon season. If the return of investments during other seasons is not profitable, the dependence on renewable energy may be reduced.

Previous climatic analysis has reported that the wind potential over India is likely to be affected because of the Indian Ocean warming.

According to the latest sixth assessment report (AR6) of IPCC, human influence in contributing to the warming of the global climate system is unequivocal and it is extremely likely (95%) that human influence is the dominant cause of global warming over the recent decades.


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