Meeting its carbon intensity targets will cost India: World Bank

Meeting its carbon intensity targets will cost India: World Bank

New Delhi: India will have to increase its capital expenditure by 14% if it has to reduce its carbon intensity by 30% by 2020, according to the World Bank.

The country will also have to replace 130GW of coal-based power generation with clean technologies by 2025, the bank said on Wednesday at a briefing on its low carbon development study for India.

Before the climate change summit in Copenhagen in December, India had said it would reduce its intensity of emissions per unit of production by 20-25% by 2020, and by 37% by 2030.

The World Bank had steered clear of indicating the possible cost of committing to such cuts in earlier drafts of its study.

Salman Zaheer, the bank’s sector manager for its South Asia energy programme, said the data quality was still inadequate and the final study, likely to be released in mid-2010, would provide a more accurate estimate of the costs.

Though carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, responsible for increasing the average global temperature, will continue to rise in India because of its need for more power, the intensity of emissions per unit of production has been on the decline since the early 1990s.

According to the World Bank’s pre-final synopsis report, replacing 130GW of coal-based and 2GW of gas-based power generation with carbon-neutral generation capacity will need higher import of hydropower from neighbouring countries and more nuclear power generation capacity.

It adds India’s CO2 emissions will increase from 1.1 billion tonnes in 2007 to 4.5 billion tonnes in 2031 if it adheres to plans such as the Integrated Energy Policy, but this can be reduced to 3.7 billion tonnes in 2031 if the country invests heavily in clean technology, capacity and institutional development.

As per estimates based on the two scenarios, India could reduce its CO2 intensity by 19-30% by 2020 and 30-45% by 2031, depending on its efforts.

The World Bank’s strategy for future support includes increasing hydropower capacity by around 1,500MW, supporting the national solar mission, promoting concentrated solar power by helping remove regulatory and investment barriers, and supporting renewable energy to scale up to 10% of total generation by 2012.