The world “desperately needs” India to commit to limiting global warming to 1.5°C by the middle of the century, says a report from Finnish technology company Wärtsilä Energy, which lays out a pathway for the country to achieve a net-zero power system by 2050.

Wind power in Rajasthan, India. (Photo by pzAxe via Shutterstock)

India would need around 4,000GW of total installed capacity to meet 5,921 terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity demand and 1,023GW of peak demand over the next three decades up to 2050, the report says. Of this, total solar capacity is projected to be around 3,076GW, or 76% of the total installed capacity. Other sources of generation such as wind, hydro and gas will make up the remaining 24% of the mix, the report suggests.

Wärtsilä Energy argues it is in India’s interests to reach a zero-emissions power system by 2050. A carbon-neutral power mix could cut the per megawatt-hour (MWh) cost of meeting electricity demand by 48%, from $81/MWh in 2020 to $42/MWh in 2050.

The report recommends that India introduces market mechanisms, such as the contracts for difference scheme in the UK, to attract investments in renewables and system flexibility, such as battery storage.