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GE Recommends Policy Actions to Fast-Track Decarbonization of India's Power Sector Through a Gas-based Economy and Accelerating Growth of Renewables

  • GE released a position paper 'The key to India's energy future' that discusses India's urgent need to cutting CO2 emissions from the power sector and adopting near-zero carbon power generation technology.
  • Highlights the challenges and importance of providing round-the-clock reliable, affordable and sustainable electricity, and establishing the right energy mix.
  • Recommends pathway to revamp the electricity value chain in India and make it future ready to address climate change and energy transition.

As India takes giant leaps to bring progressive reforms into the power sector while showcasing its commitment to combat climate change, it also provides an opportunity to fast-track decarbonization of India’s power sector. GE (NYSE: GE) today released its position that India can make substantive reductions in emissions from the power sector through accelerated and strategic deployment of renewables and gas power. The position paper advocates and outlines policy actions that can help India to chart a unique path to a cleaner economy with affordable, reliable, and sustainable power for all.

India is facing significant environmental challenges owing to the emissions from the power sector, dominated by fossil fuel-based power generation. The power sector in India accounts for 49 percent of total CO2 emissions, compared to the global average of 41 percent (IEA [1] ). On the other hand, the electricity demand in India is expected to grow at CAGR of 5 percent between 2018-2040. It’s critical to urgently adopt cleaner powering technologies at scale that can complement each other and act as growth levers towards creating sustainable power generation mix.

“India’s strategy to move towards using low to zero carbon fuels for electricity generation is bringing a paradigm shift in the energy space in the region as well as globally. However, the country’s plan to provide round-the-clock power for all in the backdrop of the growing renewable energy (RE) base is facing challenges such as intermittency of renewable power, low-capacity utilization of transmission system and grid firming requirements as RE achieves scale in the coming decades. This is leading to - renewables curtailment. There is an urgent need to meet the flexibility requirements of the power system operation, providing adequate base-load power and reliability of electricity supply.” said Deepesh Nanda, CEO, GE Gas Power South Asia. “It’s also the right time for the policymakers in India to encourage using diverse mix of power generation sources to meet the demand-supply gap. For instance, prioritizing gas power as an option in ‘renewable energy plus thermal’ tenders can be the step in the right direction to improve renewable energy integration.” GE believes a two-part tariff based on peak and non-peak demand is key to address the flexibility needs of the system.

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The position paper presents a scenario wherein gas-fired power plants, that can be developed quickly, taking significantly less space and at scale, are available regardless of the time of day or weather conditions, providing dependable capacity as long as needed, whether for minutes, hours, days or weeks at a time. Emission compliant and flexible gas-based power generation, with its quick start up, deeper turn down levels, and faster ramp rates is a key enabler to integrate more renewables into the National Grid and meet seasonal and peak power demand.

“India has the potential to become the global focal point when it comes to adopting new low-carbon technology. Policy level interventions to mitigate the existing power sector challenges can instill new confidence among the investors and ensure inclusive growth. Such steps can help India to move faster towards achieving energy security in the coming decades.” said Deepesh Nanda.

Based on a study of the Indian power sector and GE’s global experience, GE makes key recommendations in the position paper with respect to the round-the-clock power plan. These recommendations if implemented can support adoption of advanced gas turbine technology capable of using blends of natural gas and hydrogen to generate lower-carbon electricity, provide level playing field to gas power plant owners in the market, streamline electricity dispatch mechanism based on merit-order, emission norms, and flexible operations, and fast-track development of the ecosystem and necessary infrastructure to support future electricity growth curve in India.

As India embarks on its journey to become global hub for green Hydrogen, GE believes hydrogen to be a key focus area having major roleplay in power generation. With its history of running gas turbines burning lower carbon fuels (including some in India), GE is well positioned to support the utilization of hydrogen in gas turbine assets. In India, GE Gas Power has a significant installed base of over ~260 utility and industrial gas turbines across both Government and private sector power plants.

Source: General Electric (GE)
Date: Oct 11, 2021

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