Bending the emission curve ― The role of renewables and nuclear power in achieving a net-zero power system in India

Subhadip Bhattacharya, Rangan Banerjee, Venkatasailanathan Ramadesigan, Ariel Liebman, Roger Dargaville

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


As India is on the cusp of a significant energy transition, this study explores the future pathways towards a decarbonised Indian power sector by using various plausible options such as variable renewable energy technologies, nuclear power, energy storage and green H2. The TIMES-based optimisation model with an hourly temporal resolution has been run for fifty years, from 2020 to 2070, to determine the optimal planning and operation of the Indian power sector. The model includes not only the long-term planning of the Indian power sector but also considers the short-term operational flexibility constraints of the thermal generators, grid-scale storage as balancing units, and the demand for green H2 derived from renewable energy sources (RES). Base-case model results indicate that the average coal capacity and CO2 emissions would continue to rise in the short term, reaching a peak by 2040 before gradually declining. However, the overall cost of transition is relatively independent of the technology choice, where the rise in fuel cost in the high nuclear scenario would be offset by the increased capital investment in a renewable-dominated scenario. The average annual investment required to achieve a zero-emission power sector is approximately USD 550 billion. The average ex-bus cost of electricity would increase from USD 36 per MWh in 2020 to about USD 50 per MWh in 2070. This analysis will provide valuable insights to all the relevant stakeholders in emerging and developing economies such as India to explore future cost-effective decarbonisation pathways of the power sector.

Original languageEnglish
Article number113954
Number of pages26
JournalRenewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
Issue numberPart A
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024


  • Decarbonisation
  • Indian power sector
  • Long-term planning
  • Net-zero transition
  • Nuclear energy
  • Renewable integration
  • TIMES model

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