Is the RE+EV combo a recipe for Karnataka’s clean energy transition?, Energy News, ET EnergyWorld

Renewable energy (RE) and electric vehicles (EV) are currently the best bet to move towards a sustainable future. A study by the International Council on Clean Transport (ICCT) published last month indicates that with appropriate electric vehicle policies, India can reduce its cumulative CO2 emissions from the road transport sector by 45-50% between 2021 and 2050.

As the Karnataka Department of Energy is running an ‘EV Charging Center’ campaign in the state between June 23-30 to boost citizens’ interest in electric vehicles, last month at the meeting 2022 Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, the state has launched large investments in the renewable energy sector.

Clearly, Karnataka, one of the leading states in electric vehicle deployment and renewable energy integration, continues to support electric vehicles and renewable energy to reduce carbon emissions from its transport sectors and electricity, the two largest contributors to these emissions in the state.

State efforts

Karnataka was the first state in the south of the country to put in place a renewable energy policy in 2009 to harness renewable energy sources. Its renewable energy policies have been revised from time to time and the latest draft “Karnataka Renewable Energy Policy 2021-2026” proposes to install additional 10 GW of renewable energy generation capacity by 2026 , including 1 GW of rooftop solar capacity.

In 2020, approximately 37,330 million units (MU) of the state’s total energy requirements of 66,718 (MU) were met by non-fossil fuel-based generation, or nearly 56% of total energy demand. state (the national average for the same year was 37%). Karnataka’s experience demonstrates the impact of renewable energy integration on a state’s transmission grid and can guide other states in this transition.

On the electric vehicle front, in 2017 Karnataka became the first state to introduce electric vehicle and energy storage policy to attract investment, create job opportunities and promote R&D in mobility electric.

ER and EV potential of Karnataka to reduce carbon emissions

In April this year, the number of EVs in Karnataka passed the one lakh milestone, with over 1,00,432 EVs registered. generation capacity of 30.72 GW, as of May 2022.

A recent study by the Center for Study of Science, Technology and Policy (CSTEP) estimates that the electricity generated by the proposed solar and wind power plants in Karnataka would reduce CO2 emissions by about an additional 4.32 million tons/year, in plus the reduction (of about 23.58 million tonnes/year) caused by existing power plants – if the same amount of electricity is allowed to be produced from thermal power plants. The study also predicts that with the current trend in EV registration, the number of EVs that can be deployed in Bengaluru, the state’s EV capital, by the financial year 2026- 27 will be around 4.3 million. These electric vehicles can save fuel consumption by around 101 million litres/year, which in turn can reduce CO2 emissions by around 0.23 million tonnes/year.

The bottom line

With a proven ability to reduce carbon emissions, renewable energy and electric vehicles are clearly frontrunners in this field. Together, electric vehicles, which offer a cleaner transport alternative, in addition to better energy efficiency and reduced noise pollution, and the production of electricity based on renewable energies, which reduces dependence to fossil fuels, can accelerate the journey to zero emissions.

In the case of Karnataka, projections quantifying the impact of the deployment of renewable energy and electric vehicles clearly indicate their potential for reducing carbon emissions. A good start has been made in this direction by the state through targeted initiatives and policies. In the future, the electric vehicle charging schedule may be adapted to solar and wind power generation models, depending on their availability. This will enable increased use of green energy in the transport sector. Additionally, in an electrified transportation sector, EV batteries can help balance the grid by sending excess electricity back to the grid to meet the required power demand.

[This piece was authored exclusively for ETEnergyworld by Krishnendu Roy Chowdhury and Harikrishna KV who work in the area of transmission and grid planning in the Energy and Power Sector at the Center for Study of Science, Technology and Policy (CSTEP), a research-based think tank.]

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