Based on the current economic growth trajectories, India's greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions will continue to rise substantially until 2050 if no climate action is taken. To tackle climate change and decouple economic growth from GHG emissions, the Indian government has already introduced a series of initiatives and national task forces. One major pillar of its climate change mitigation strategy is to meet the country's power demand via solar and wind renewable energy sources. However, carbon capture and storage (CCS) from coal-fired power generation is also a competing technological option.
In order to assess the role of coal-based CCS in India's future electricity market, the incremental electricity costs of coal-based CCS need to be consistently evaluated relative to renewables, complemented by analysis of other relevant dimensions of a sustainable energy transition. In the policy brief "Coal based CCS in India's Low Carbon Electricity Transition: Prospects and Challenges", Mitavachan Hiremath, from the SusPoT – Center for Sustainability (India) and former visiting scientist at the Wuppertal Institute, Dr. Peter Viebahn and Dr. Sascha Samadi, both from the Research Unit Sectors and Technologies from the Wuppertal Institute, assess coal-CCS trajectory in India up to 2050. They compare coal-CCS with conventional coal, solar photovoltaic and wind power sources. Their levelized cost assessment reveals that coal-CCS would only be competitive in the Indian electricity market with a significant cost reduction.
Summarising, the authors conclude that coal-CCS in India not only suffers from typical new technology development related challenges – such as a lack of technical potential assessments and necessary support infrastructure, and high costs – but also from severe resource constraints, especially water, and the competition from outperforming renewable power sources in an era of global warming.
The Policy Brief is a summary of the scientific article "An Integrated Comparative Assessment of Coal-Based Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) Vis-à-Vis Renewable Energies in India's Low Carbon Electricity Transition Scenarios". Both can be accessed for free via the following links.