High-Resolution, Stochastic Electricity System Models are Key to Driving Low Carbon Policies in India.
Wind and solar generation sources have the potential to significantly replace fossil fuel-based generation in electricity grids and mitigate anthropogenic climate change. Their rapidly decreasing costs, along with policy incentives, have made them the world’s fastest growing generation sources. With the support of the Link Foundation Fellowship, I focused on the first topic of my dissertation – Multicriteria Analysis for Planning Renewable Energy. Under this topic, I conducted two studies in collaboration with colleagues at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, University of California at Berkeley, and the International Renewable Energy Agency. One focused on 20 countries in the Eastern and Southern African Power Pools (Wu et al. 2017) and the other on India (Deshmukh et al. 2017). Both study regions are expected to double or triple their electricity demand by 2030 from present levels. Policymakers and planners have the option to meet this demand through conventional generation sources such as coal and large hydro, or via much more environment and climate-friendly sources of wind and solar. Our studies show that strategic site selection can help identify “no-regrets” siting options – or those that are low cost, low impact, and highly accessible and thus can be justified from multiple-stakeholder perspectives of risk – and make wind and solar viable alternatives for large-scale development.