Investments into renewables in India surpassed fossil-fuels in 2017: IEA

By NT Bureau Published on Jul 19, 2018 01:50 PM IST

Chennai: Investment into India'’s renewable energy sector were more than those made in the conventional energy (fossil-fuel based) projects in 2017, said a report from International Energy Agency (IEA).

The report named World Energy Investment 2018, said, solar PV investment rose to record levels, even with investment costs declining by nearly 15 per cent globally, as the share of deployment in historically low-cost regions, such as China and India, continued to rise. Offshore wind investment also rose to record levels, with the commissioning of nearly four GW of new plants, mostly in Europe.

The share of investment in less capital intensive thermal generation has generally declined over time. In 2017, global power sector investments fell by six per cent to near $750 billion in 2017, mainly the result of a 10 per cent slump in the commissioning of new generation capacity. Half of the drop was due to coal-fired power projects, driven by China and India.

India has scrapped many coal-fired projects and has put a stay on many proposed thermal power projects. As of now, the only thermal projects that are utilizing super critical technology are being approved in India, in order to curb emissions and meet the Paris Climate Agreement’s provisions, it said.

According to the report, "In emerging markets, the average size of awarded solar PV projects in auctions rose by 4.5 times while that of onshore wind rose by half over 2013-17, helping to support economies of scale."

Investment in grid-scale battery-based energy storage fell to under $600 million in 2017 from over $1 billion in 2016. The overall grid-scale batteries commissioned in 2017 –'600 MW'– remained close to that of 2016; the dip in investment stemmed largely from the reduction in battery costs.

Government’s low-carbon energy research development and demonstration (RD&D) spending in 2017 was estimated to have increased by 13 percent in 2017. This is a welcome increase after years of decreases and stagnation.

The report said most energy efficiency investments are underpinned by energy performance standards, and a growing amount involve financial incentives.  The Indian government is helping create an EV market by initiating large-scale demand in the form of procurement for government departments and agencies, it said.

Overall, China, the United States, Europe, and India together accounted for nearly two-thirds of global investment in electricity networks in 2017, the report stated.