As a major energy consumer with one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, India plays a key role in mitigating climate change and transitioning to a global clean energy economy. India is also the world’s third largest emitter of greenhouse gases, with 68.7% of these emissions coming from the energy sector. As part of its climate mitigation efforts, India has set an ambitious target of installing 450 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy by 2030 (enough to theoretically power over 330 million households). This target is an advancement of India’s previous energy goal, which aimed for the deployment of 175 GW of renewable energy by 2022. USAID has partnered with India to develop projects that support the achievement of these clean energy targets and overall decarbonization of the power sector.
Through the Partnership to Advance Clean Energy Deployment (PACE-D 2.0 RE) initiative implemented in partnership with the Government of India’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), USAID/India aims to promote the deployment of renewable energy technologies, including wind and solar, in India. The goal of PACE-D 2.0 RE is to reduce power purchase costs, make India’s power supply more reliable, and improve the country’s energy security. One of the program’s primary approaches addresses a major challenge to renewable energy deployment: the lack of planning in major power distribution companies.
“Distribution utilities are the most important stakeholders, but also the weakest link” in renewable energy deployment, explains Anurag Mishra, USAID/India’s Senior Clean Energy Specialist. The distribution sector plays a critical role in India’s clean energy transition because distribution companies purchase the power from renewable energy projects and are responsible for the supply and distribution of energy to consumers.
However, insufficient resource planning methods have led to inefficiencies and poor financial health in India’s distribution sector. Through PACE-D 2.0 RE, USAID/India developed an energy planning software for distribution companies to advance power systems and reduce costs. This Renewable Energy Procurement Optimization and Smart Estimation (REPOSE) tool helps distribution companies better predict consumers’ energy demand, integrate renewable energy technologies into resource plans more efficiently, and optimize current and future renewable energy procurements. PACE-D 2.0 RE trains distribution company energy forecasters and analysts to use the REPOSE software through professional workshops and webinars.
In India, the REPOSE tool is already used by the distribution utilities in two states and many more states and utilities throughout the country are looking to use this tool. Beyond India, utilities and institutions across the South Asia region have adopted the program’s resource planning methods and utilize the REPOSE tool. In 2020, over 40 professionals from Bangladesh, Nepal, and other South Asian countries were trained during PACE-D 2.0 RE’s six-week online certification program on strategic resource planning.
The REPOSE tool has the potential to expand beyond South Asia to other regions where efficient and cost-effective resource planning can support the clean energy transition. The PACE-D program’s advancement of renewable energy deployment and efforts to make clean energy cheaper could help accelerate the global shift from fossil fuels.
“There is no other [energy] source that can compete with solar and wind today, even with the added cost of energy storage [associated with these technologies],” Mishra asserts. These are the signs of the energy transformation necessary for curbing climate warming greenhouse gas emissions and essential contributions to the global effort to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Kate Minden is a Climatelinks intern who supports the Climatelinks implementation team in researching the stories behind USAID climate and development activities. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Science at the University of California, Los Angeles with minors in Conservation Biology and Global Studies.