India’s final energy demand expected to double by 2070: FICCI-Deloitte report

  • India's looming energy demand, poised to double by 2070, is a clarion call for sustainable transformation

Subhash Narayan
First Published25 Sep 2023
India requires a massive $15 trillion in investments to achieve its net-zero emissions target by 2070. (File Photo: Bloomberg)
India requires a massive $15 trillion in investments to achieve its net-zero emissions target by 2070. (File Photo: Bloomberg)

New Delhi: India’s final energy demand is expected to double to about 1,200 Mtoe (millions tonne of oil equivalent) by 2070 in a net-zero scenario with aggressive energy efficiency measures in place, according to a report.

The report titled ‘India’s energy-transition pathway: A net-zero perspective by FICCI and Deloitte India’, has projected that the country requires a massive $15 trillion in investments to achieve its net-zero emissions target by 2070.

It has highlighted three fundamental pillars--grid decarbonisation, industrial decarbonisation, and transport transition--which collectively anchor India's energy transition ambitions and are expected to address approximately 90% of the nation's current emissions.

“India's looming energy demand, poised to double by 2070, is a clarion call for sustainable transformation. It’s important that we embrace the energy transition levers and focus on creating an ecosystem which enhances domestic manufacturing, foster global partnerships, and attract investments,” said Anish Mandal, partner, Consulting, Deloitte India.

Grid decarbonisation aims for a transformative shift in the share of electricity in the final energy mix, with expectations to soar from 18% in 2020 to over 50% by 2070.

According to a Deloitte analysis, the roadmap to grid decarbonisation requires more than 2000 GW of grid scale renewable energy (RE), wind and solar, and around another 1000 GW of RE for green hydrogen production. This transition will demand an ambitious capacity addition of approximately 50 GW/year of RE, marking a notable escalation from the historical average of 15–20 GW annually.

To realise these ambitious targets, the report recommends that the central and state governments expedite the bidding process for procurement of renewables. State governments, which are positioned to play a pivotal role, must ensure swift land allocation/acquisition and accelerate statutory clearances for project development. 

There is an urgent need to bolster domestic manufacturing capacity. In the interim, while the domestic supply chain is being fortified, the government may consider relaxing trade barriers. Hydro and nuclear resources along with regional trade of electricity will play a critical role in the supply-side transition, the report noted.

The second pillar, industrial decarbonisation, primarily focuses on pivotal sectors like steel, cement, aluminum, and fertilisers. The spotlight in this pillar is firmly on Green Hydrogen (GH2), which is anticipated to find broad applications across these industries.

As per the Deloitte analysis, by 2070, GH2 is projected to satisfy a substantial portion of energy demand, going more than 50 million tonne (MT).

To address the economic implications of GH2, the report suggests that measures be taken to reduce its cost and foster an environment that promotes its broad acceptance. It is crucial to support early-stage demonstration projects, particularly in the cement and steel industries. Studies need to be initiated to map out potential CO2 storage areas, and to identify regional clusters that would optimise the implementation of carbon capture technologies.

The third pillar, transport transition emphasises India's strategic shift towards low-emission technologies. The spectrum ranges from battery electric vehicles (BEVs) to hydrogen combustion engines to fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs). The development of a comprehensive charging infrastructure complemented by visionary urban planning is integral to this shift.

As per the report, a robust public-private partnership (PPP) to establish charging infrastructure and hydrogen refueling systems is essential for the transport transition. 

Both, central and state governments need to prioritise efficient urban planning strategies that can reduce travel distances and motorised travel demand, by investments in railways, including their augmentation and modernisation, as well as in freight corridors and mass public transit, it said. 

The report deems it crucial for future policy formulations to consider the potential supply chain and geopolitical risks that come with the import dependence on critical minerals, such as lithium and cobalt.

The report also sheds light on the financial aspects of this ambitious transition and highlights the instrumental roles of the government, private sector, and Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs). It also recommends the introduction of innovative mechanisms, such as Contracts for Differences (CfDs), as a promising move to incentivise investments in new energy projects.

“With conducive policy support, steady inflow of investments, and technological developments, India has seen an exponential growth in its Renewable Energy (RE) sector, especially with solar power generation in the past few years. These are important for India’s commitment to achieving net-zero emissions by 2070,” said Shailesh K Pathak, secretary general, Ficci.

In terms of implementation, the report underscores the importance of strategic long, intermediate, and short-term planning, combined with diligent monitoring. A collaborative approach encompassing the central government, state governments, and industry experts is deemed crucial. 

As per the report, states are poised to play an essential role in tailoring energy policies that align with national targets, and sector-specific targets are projected to guide corporate emission reduction efforts.

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