Renewable energy will represent the largest single source of growth in power generation over the next five years on the back of falling costs and aggressive expansion in emerging economies, the International Energy Agency said on Friday, a day on which India dramatically raised the climate bar on the back of its green energy push.

India pledged to reduce its greenhouse emission intensity by up to 35% by 2030 from 2005 levels, marking a dramatic increase of 75% over its present voluntary commitment. Rapid expansion of renewable energy capacity and replacement of old coal-fired power stations with more efficient ones have been at the core of the Narendra Modi government's climate mitigation plans.

The government recently raised the target for renewable energy sources to 175 GW (giga watt) by 2022. Of this, solar power target has been raised from a modest 20,000 mw to 100 GW. In 2014-15 alone, the target is set at adding 10,000 mw of solar capacity. Wind energy will contribute 60 GW and 10 GW of biomass and 5 GW of hydro-power.

But for such rapid expansion to happen, the IEA warned in its annual market report, governments must reduce policy uncertainties that are acting as brakes and blocking an affordable method to mitigating climate change.

The report said renewable electricity additions over the next five years will top 700 GW - more than twice Japan's current installed power capacity. These will account for almost two-thirds of net additions to global power capacity - that is, the amount of new capacity that is added, minus scheduled retirements of existing power plants. Non-hydro sources such as wind and solar photovoltaic panels (solar PV) will represent nearly half of the total global power capacity increase.

The report sees the share of renewable energy in global power generation rising to over 26% by 2020 from 22% in 2013. By 2020, the amount of global electricity generation coming from renewable energy will be higher than today's combined electricity demand of China, India and Brazil.

The report says the geography of deployment will increasingly shift to emerging economies and developing countries, which will make up two-thirds of the renewable electricity expansion to 2020. China alone will account for nearly 40% of total renewable power capacity growth and requires almost one-third of new investment to 2020.

Source: 3 October, 2015, The Economic Times