The International Energy Agency (IEA) has forecast India's energy demand to grow at the fastest pace globally over the next two decades in line with the country's economic expansion.
"India has made remarkable progress in recent years, bringing electricity connections to hundreds of millions of people and impressively scaling up the use of renewable energy, particularly solar," said Fatih Birol, executive director, IEA. India has an opportunity to meet its targets without following the high-carbon pathway that other economies have pursued in the past, he added.
In a report titled "The India Energy Outlook 2021", released on Tuesday, the IEA said rapid expansion of solar power combined with favourable policies is transforming India's electricity sector, allowing the country to offer clean, affordable and reliable power to a growing number of households and businesses.
"India's energy future depends on buildings and factories that are yet to be built... Based on India's current policy settings, 60% of its CO2 emissions in late 2030s will be coming from infrastructure that does not exist today. This represents a huge opening for policies to steer India onto a more secure and sustainable course," the report noted.
Additional funding of $1.4 trillion, or 70% more than the current estimates, will be needed in clean-energy technologies to place India on a sustainable path over the next two decades, the IEA said, adding that the country's combined import bill for fossil fuels is projected to triple during the period with crude oil as the largest component.
Domestic production of oil and gas continues to fall behind consumption trends and net dependence on imported oil may rise above 90% by 2040, up from 75% at present, the report noted.
"Government policies to accelerate India's clean energy transition can lay the foundation for lasting prosperity and greater energy security. The stakes could not be higher for India and for the world," said Birol.
"All roads to successful global clean energy transitions go via India," he added.
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