At a time when air pollution has become a leading environmental threat to public health, The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) chief Ajay Mathur said India’s dependence on thermal power would end by 2050. Mathur in an inteview with Samreen Ahmad said solar batteries would become cheaper than coal by the mid 2020s and nuclear power is not economically viable for the country now. Edited excerpts:
What is TERI doing to promote renewable energy?
The key challenge today is producing electricity when the sun is not shining. We have made a huge economic transition, as the cost of solar power produced during the day has become much lower that of thermal electricity. But the peak power demand in India occurs at around 11 pm, when we go to bed and switch on air-conditioners. And only 6 per cent of the population have ACs. Consequently, we are looking at integration of solar energy into the grid on the one hand and adequate availability of storage options on the other hand.
In six or seven years, we hope the price of solar batteries will be such that it will start costing less than thermal power. Solar-plus batteries in the Philippines have already touched about 6 cents per kWh. We are looking at a goal of Rs 5 per kWh five years from now. We are working with utilities and manufacturers of solar cells and batteries to test these out. Read More