While the world moves away from coal and other fossil fuels and explores recyclable sources of energy like wind and solar, climate change may slow down the potential of these too in the coming years.
A new study Analysis of future wind and solar potential over India using climate models that researched and analyzed India’s solar and wind potential on a regional basis has revealed that climate change may slow down India's solar and wind potential in the coming years.
The new study by the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology and Center for Prototype Climate Modelling, New York University found that the seasonal and annual wind speed is likely to decrease over North India and increase along South India.
The southern coast of India’s southern states show promising potential for wind energy in the climate change scenario the study said.
The researchers used state-of-the-art climate models devised by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to analyze the wind and solar projections for the renewable energy sector over the Indian subcontinent. The study was published in a recent issue of the peer-reviewed journal Current Science.
The present research has shown that the renewable energy fields of solar and wind potential in India are likely to face a negative trend in the future.
The forecasts are important since India has updated its Nationally Determined Contributions to fight climate change, incorporating reduction of emissions intensity of GDP by 45% by 2030, from 2005 level, and achieving about 50% cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel-based energy resources by 2030.
"Solar projections for the future indicate that solar radiation will decrease during all seasons over most of the Indian landmass. For future investments in the solar power sector, central and south-central India must be considered during pre-monsoon months, as the potential loss is minimal in these regions."
This decrease in solar radiation can be attributed to the increase in total cloud cover. This can be overcome by including more farms and using highly efficient power generators than those available at present.
Regional analysis of wind potential indicates that the frequency of high energy producing wind speeds will decrease, whereas low energy producing wind speeds are likely to increase in the future.
"The present study shows that the renewable energy fields of solar and wind potential in India are likely to face a negative trend in the future. Expanded and more efficient networks of wind and solar farms are needed to increase renewable energy production," the report said.
Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology researcher and a member of the research team Parthasarathi Mukhopadhyay told a press briefing, "Our industry must adapt to the changing climate, and our technologies must keep pace. Such predictions should not be taken as facts, but as possibilities.
He said, "The efficiency of renewable energy may be impacted by climate change in the Indo-Gangetic plains. The study emphasizes the importance of being prepared for scenarios of this kind and addressing it."