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India's Low Carbon Electricity Futures

  • Author(s): Deshmukh, Ranjit Deshmukh
  • Advisor(s): Callaway, Duncan
  • et al.
Abstract

Decarbonizing its electricity sector through ambitious targets for wind and solar is India’s major strategy for mitigating its rapidly growing carbon emissions. In this dissertation, I explore the economic, social, and environmental impacts of wind and solar generation on India’s future low-carbon electricity system, and strategies to mitigate those impacts. In the first part, I apply the Multi-criteria Analysis for Planning Renewable Energy (MapRE) approach to identify and comprehensively value high-quality wind, solar photovoltaic, and concentrated solar power resources across India in order to support multi-criteria prioritization of development areas through planning processes. In the second part, I use high spatial and temporal resolution models to simulate operations of different electricity system futures for India. In analyzing India’s 2022 system, I find that the targets of 100 GW solar and 60 GW wind set by the Government of India that are likely to generate 22% of total annual electricity, can be integrated with very small curtailment (approximately 1%). Further, I find that flexibility strategies that include increasing the size of the balancing area (moving from state level to regionally coordinated scheduling and dispatch), lowering the minimum generation levels of thermal plants, and increasing inter-regional transmission capacity are the most effective in decreasing production costs and renewable energy curtailment. In the final part of this dissertation, I examined the effects of different mixes and targets of wind and solar installed capacities on overall system cost and avoided emissions in 2030. I find that the value of renewable energy decreases with increasing penetration across all mixes of wind and solar, with value of solar decreasing faster with higher penetration than wind. In India, the limited correlation of wind and solar generation profiles with load leads to a relatively small conventional generation capacity being avoided by renewable energy. The data sets, models, and tools developed through these analyses can be used to evaluate future low carbon electricity systems, and develop strategies and policies to ensure that integration of wind and solar is cost-effective and socially and environmentally sustainable.

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