The Indian government has forecast that it will exceed the renewable energy targets set in Paris last year by nearly half and do so three years ahead of schedule.
The prediction, announced this week in a draft 10-year energy blueprint for the world’s second most-populous country, has India generating 57% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2027.
This figure is a significant increase from the Paris climate accord target of 40% by 2030 and reflects an increase in private sector investment in Indian renewable energy projects over the past year, according to analysts.
The draft national electricity plan released this week also indicated that no new coal-fired power stations would likely be required to meet Indian energy needs until at least 2027, raising further doubts over the viability of Indian mining investments overseas, such as energy company Adani’s Carmichael mine in Queensland, the largest coal mine planned to be built in Australia.
India’s energy minister, Piyush Goyal, has been appealing to wealthier nations to provide the country with capital to invest in renewable energy projects to help it reach and exceed the targets agreed in Paris in November 2015.
Significant state investment has not been forthcoming, but Tim Buckley, a director at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, said India had made up the shortfall with an influx of capital from the domestic and overseas private sectors in the past 12 months.
Japan’s Softbank has committed to invest $20bn (£16.2bn) in the Indian solar energy sector, in conjunction with Taiwanese company Foxconn and Indian business group Bharti Enterprises.
In September, the largely French state-owned energy company EDF announced that it would invest $2bn in Indian renewable energy projects, citing the country’s enormous projected demand and “fantastic” potential of its wind and solar radiation.
Adani opened the world’s largest solar plant in Tamil Nadu earlier this year and in October, energy conglomerate Tata announced that it would aim to generate as much as 40% of its energy from renewable sources by 2025.
Buckley said India’s “absolutely transformational” forecast was also driven by technological advancements that have seen the price of solar energy fall by 80% in the past five years.
“India is moving beyond fossil fuels at a pace scarcely imagined only two years ago,” he said. “Goyal has put forward an energy plan that is commercially viable and commercially justified without subsidies, so you have big global corporations and utilities committing to it.”
In the the 2027 forecasts, India aims to generate 275 gigawatts of total renewable energy, in addition to 72GW of hydroenergy and 15GW of nuclear energy. Nearly 100GW would come from “other zero emission” sources, with advancements in energy efficiency expected to reduce the need for capacity increases by 40GW over 10 years.
About 50GW of coal power projects being developed in India would be “largely stranded” under the forecast, Buckley said, with official modelling showing that “none of these plants are required before 2022 and only possible before 2027”.