Jan 28, 2020 - World

Why India needs cheap batteries

Reproduced from IEA; Chart: Axios Visuals
Reproduced from IEA; Chart: Axios Visuals

A new International Energy Agency analysis highlights the importance of battery storage paired with renewables in helping to decarbonize power.

Why it matters: India, the focus of the analysis, is the world's third-largest greenhouse gas emitter (after China and the U.S.) and suffers from terrible air quality problems.

The big picture: "With ambitious plans to use renewables — particularly solar photovoltaics — to satisfy rapidly increasing electricity demand, India will be the country with the greatest need for additional flexibility in the coming decades," it states.

What they did: They looked at projected future coal-fired and renewable power capacity in India under two scenarios.

  1. Their "stated policies" case which models existing and announced plans.
  2. A "cheap batteries" case in which battery tech costs fall more quickly than recent declines.

What they found: The "cheap batteries" scenario enables much more renewables deployment, shows coal plateauing in roughly a decade, and projects India's power-related CO2 emissions start to decline just after 2030.

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