India hydropower output records steepest fall

In Business
April 02, 2024


India’s hydroelectricity output fell at the steepest pace in at least 38 years during the year ended March 31, a Reuters’ analysis of government data showed, as erratic rainfall forced further dependence on coal-fired power amid higher demand.

The 16.3% drop in generation from the country’s biggest clean energy source coincided with the share of renewables in power generation sliding for the first time since Prime Minister Narendra Modi made commitments to boost solar and wind capacity at the United Nations climate talks at Paris in 2015.

Renewables accounted for 11.7% of India’s power output in the year that ended in March, down from 11.8% a year earlier, a Reuters’ analysis of daily load despatch data from the federal grid regulator Grid-India showed. India is the world’s third-largest greenhouse gas emitter, and the government often points to lower per-capita emissions compared to developed nations to defend rising coal use.

A five-year low in reservoir levels means hydro output will likely remain low during the hottest months of April-June, experts say, potentially boosting dependence on coal during a period of high demand before the monsoon starts in June.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 2nd, 2024.

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