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  • Author: David Wheelter, Saurabh Shome
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Until recently, India's intransigent negotiating posture has conveyed the impression that it will not accept any carbon emissions limits without full compensation and more stringent carbon limitation from rich countries. However, our assessment of India's proposed renewable energy standard (RES) indicates that this impression is simply wrong. India is seriously considering a goal of 15 percent renewable energy in its power mix by 2020, despite the absence of any meaningful international pressure to cut emissions, no guarantees of compensatory financing, and a continuing American failure to adopt stringent emissions limits. If India moves ahead with this plan, it will promote a massive shift of new power capacity toward renewables within a decade. We estimate the incremental cost of this change from coal-fired to renewable power to be about $50 billion-an enormous sum for a society that must still cope with widespread extreme poverty. If India moves ahead with its current plan, it should give serious pause to those who have resisted U.S. carbon regulation on the grounds on that it will confer a cost advantage on "intransigent" countries such as India.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Environment
  • Political Geography: United States, America, India
  • Author: Kevin Ummel
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Coal power generation in China and India is expected to double and triple, respectively, over the next 20 years, increasing exposure to fuel price volatility, exacerbating local air pollution, and hastening global climate change. Concentrating solar power (CSP) is a growing source of utility-scale, pollution-free electricity, but its potential in Asia remains largely unexamined. High-resolution spatial data are used to identify areas suitable for CSP and estimate power generation and cost under alternative land-use scenarios. Total technical potential exceeds current coal power output by a factor of 16 to 23 in China and 3 to 4 in India. A CSP expansion program and attendant transmission requirements are simulated with the goal of providing 20 percent of electricity in both countries by midcentury. Under conservative assumptions, the program is estimated to require subsidies of $340 billion in present dollars; coal-associated emissions of 96 GtCO2eq are averted at an average abatement cost of $30 per tCO2eq. Estimated costs are especially sensitive to the assumed rate of technological learning, emphasizing the importance of committed public policy and financing to reduce investment risk, encourage expansion of manufacturing capacity, and achieve long-term cost reductions. The results highlight the need for spatially explicit modeling of renewable power technologies and suggest that existing subsidies might be better used through integrated planning for large-scale solar and wind deployment that exploits spatiotemporal complementarities and shared infrastructure.
  • Topic: Energy Policy
  • Political Geography: China, India