India’s Decisive Decade: Navigating the Energy Trilemma Towards Net-Zero Emissions

TERI and Shell Report Outlines Key Pathways and Opportunities for India’s Sustainable Energy Transformation by 2030

In a significant development, India’s energy landscape is at the center of its development ambitions, aiming to provide a better life for its 1.4 billion citizens while pursuing a USD 5 trillion climate economy. However, the nation faces an energy trilemma, juggling energy security, equity, and environmental sustainability alongside decarbonization efforts. To navigate this challenge successfully, collaborative efforts between the government, businesses, and civil society are crucial.

Recently, on August 1, The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) and Shell launched a comprehensive report titled “INDIA TRANSFORMING TO A NET-ZERO EMISSIONS ENERGY SYSTEM.” This report outlines India’s roadmap for the next decade (till 2030) to achieve its net-zero emissions target while ensuring energy security and equity.

The report lays out four potential scenarios, all aiming to achieve net-zero emissions within India’s energy system by the latter half of this century. Key aspects highlighted in the report include increasing electrification in energy use, shifting to non-fossil sources for electricity, developing low-carbon alternatives like hydrogen and biofuels, employing digital solutions for low carbon alternatives, promoting circular economy models, and focusing on carbon removals after 2030.

The transition to more sustainable energy practices requires policy interventions, technological advancements, and behavioral changes. Additionally, it presents new economic and business opportunities for India to position itself as a global leader in energy-efficient technologies and solutions.

Speaking at the launch, Nitin Prasad, Chairman of Shell Group of Companies in India, emphasized the importance of renewable energy, energy efficiency, and electrification in India’s decarbonization efforts.

Dr. Vibha Dhawan, Director General of TERI, highlighted the potential for India to become a global front-runner in low-carbon technologies and solutions. She stressed the need for a conducive regulatory framework that supports growth and innovation, with businesses playing a vital role in supporting India’s net-zero emissions ambition by investing in renewable energy, hydrogen, and bioenergy sectors.

The report further identifies ten key areas for policy and investment action in this decisive decade:

  1. Harnessing the co-benefits of energy transition to drive broader sustainable development goals.
  2. Developing a vibrant low-carbon manufacturing industry.
  3. Expanding electricity transmission and distribution networks.
  4. Increasing investments in energy storage and renewables integration.
  5. Scaling up the use of hydrogen and bioenergy to decarbonize hard-to-abate sectors.
  6. Establishing a robust policy framework for investing in natural carbon sinks.
  7. Implementing a strategic roadmap for carbon capture and storage (CCS) and incentivizing investments in carbon removal.
  8. Introducing carbon pricing measures to promote low-carbon businesses and consumer choices.
  9. Fostering sectoral collaborations and coalitions to accelerate action.
  10. Ensuring a just transition by equitably sharing costs and benefits.

By embracing these measures and making the right decisions in this critical decade, India can move towards a future driven by low-carbon and energy-efficient technology while ensuring continued economic growth and development.