India's hydropower drop sparks shift in energy mix


(MENAFN) According to a Reuters analysis of government data, India experienced a notable decline in hydropower production during the fiscal year ending March 31, marking the sharpest drop in at least 38 years. Erratic rainfall patterns contributed to this decline, prompting increased reliance on coal-fired power generation to meet rising energy demand.

The significant decrease of approximately 16.3 percent in hydropower generation, the country's largest clean energy source, coincided with a shift in the share of renewable energy sources in India's energy mix. This shift represents the first decline since Prime Minister Narendra Modi's commitment to enhancing solar and wind energy capacity at the United Nations climate talks in Paris in 2015.

An analysis of daily load distribution data from India's federal Grid network revealed that renewable energy accounted for 11.7 percent of total energy production during the fiscal year, down marginally from 11.8 percent in the previous year. This decrease underscores the challenges faced by India in maintaining its renewable energy trajectory amid fluctuating environmental conditions and evolving energy demands.

India, ranked as the third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases globally, faces pressure to transition towards cleaner energy sources. However, the government has defended the continued use of coal, citing its lower per capita emissions compared to developed nations. Nevertheless, the decline in hydropower production highlights the urgent need for a diversified and sustainable energy strategy to mitigate environmental impact and ensure energy security.

The share of hydropower in India's total energy production plummeted to an unprecedented level of 8.3 percent during the fiscal year ending March 31, a stark contrast to the average of 12.3 percent observed over the preceding decade. This downward trend underscores the vulnerability of India's energy sector to climate variability and underscores the imperative for comprehensive measures to bolster resilience and promote a balanced energy mix.

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