Headline: Improving health and reducing costs through renewable energy in India. Assessing the co-benefits of decarbonising the power sector

India has experienced a remarkable transition in reducing absolute poverty, improving standards of living and creating livelihood opportunities for the impoverished, and enhancing access to cleaner and affordable energy. Through the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC), the Indian Government recognised that India needs a directional shift in its economic growth pathway in order to achieve its developmental objectives while effectively addressing the threat of climate change. At the same time, ambient air pollution has emerged as the second leading health risk factor in India, contribute significantly to India’s burden of cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory diseases and lower respiratory tract infections. Since electricity generation in India is still largely coal-based, the power sector is an important contributor to ambient air pollution. In view of the above, India’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) aims to base 40 % of the total installed power generation capacity on non-fossil fuel resources by 2030 with international support on technology transfer and financing. This includes an ambitious target of achieving 175 GW of renewable energy by the year 2022 and reducing the emissions intensity of GDP by 33 to 35 % from 2005 levels by 2030. In early 2019, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) announced that this objective might be met earlier, by procuring 500 GW of additional RE capacity by 2028. In this context, this study assesses the impact of ambient air pollution on human health in India. This is carried out in the context of the COBENEFITS project with the aim of assessing the range of additional benefits1 resulting from a low-carbon energy transition in India. The report quantifies both the health and economic costs associated with PM2.5/PM10 exposure. The analysis first assesses the impacts of ambient air pollution from all sectors of the Indian economy. It then quantifies the specific impact of the Indian power sector, assessing the health benefits of increased share of renewables in the Indian energy and power sector.

RIFS Studies

The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) (Ed.). (2019). Improving health and reducing costs through renewable energy in India. Assessing the co-benefits of decarbonising the power sector. IASS Study, Oktober 2019.

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