Delhi's draft climate action plan aims to reduce dependence on hydropower from other states
Hydropower output can be severely affected by changes in temperature and precipitation. Since Delhi doesn't have its own hydropower generation capability, it relies on other states for this power
As Delhi prepares for the impact of climate change, the city government's draft action plan proposes a reduction in the national capital's reliance on hydropower from other states, taking into account potential future challenges to generation capacity due to changes in temperature and precipitation.
According to the Delhi Economic Survey 2022-23, the total electricity procured by Delhi in 2021-22 stood at 37,460 million units. Of this, about 16.65 per cent came from power plants owned by the Delhi government. The rest was bought from the central government and other states.
With climate projections indicating rising temperatures and intensified periods of heavy rainfall, the energy and power sector in Delhi faces a slew of challenges. Extreme weather events, rising temperatures and altered precipitation patterns pose threats to both infrastructure and supply security.
Hydropower output can be severely affected by changes in temperature and precipitation. Since Delhi doesn't have its own hydropower generation capability, it relies on other states for this power.
Climate change can impact water flow, affecting hydropower capacity. It is important to reduce dependence on hydropower and focus more on other renewable and clean energy sources, the report states.
To encourage the use of clean solar energy in Delhi, the city government launched the Delhi Solar Policy in September 2016. The goal of the policy is to set up 2,000 MW of solar power installations by 2025.
According to this policy, all government buildings with rooftops larger than 500 square metres must have solar panels installed.
To make solar power more popular in homes, a Generation Based Incentive was offered for three years. This means people were rewarded for using solar power in their homes.
Data available till September 2022 shows there are solar power systems installed across 6,864 places in Delhi and together they can produce 244 MW of electricity.
The draft plan recommends improving specifications for new structures to help those withstand extreme conditions such as higher wind speeds and safely handle higher temperatures. In some cases, retrofitting or moving vulnerable existing infrastructure might be necessary.
The draft State Action Plan on Climate Change (SAPCC) has highlighted that underground distribution can protect against wind, high temperatures, corrosion and flooding. Similarly, higher design standards for distribution poles can guard against strong winds and floods. Additionally, better cooling systems for substations and transformers will help manage rising temperatures.
For solar photovoltaic systems, it says designs that improve airflow under mounting structures can reduce panel temperature and boost power output. Using heat resistant cells, modules and components is also a good idea.
The plan recommends setting up quick-response repair teams to handle damages from extreme weather and disasters. This will speed up recovery during emergencies.
According to the plan, Delhi is projected to suffer a staggering loss of Rs 2.75 lakh crore by 2050 due to the impact of climate change, with changes in precipitation and temperature patterns posing significant threats to the lives of the most vulnerable populations.
Pending approval, the draft plan highlights "heat waves/higher temperature and heavy precipitation events over fewer number of days" as major challenges that the city will confront in the upcoming years.
India introduced its National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) in 2008, following which state governments were instructed to create their own action plan, in alignment with the strategies laid out in the NAPCC.
In January 2018, the central government requested the states to revise and strengthen their SAPCCs, taking into account the evolving national and international climate action, science and policy landscape.
Delhi's previous climate action plan was finalised only in 2019, after a lengthy seven-year consultation with stakeholders, rendering it obsolete.
During the formulation of the new plan, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Sixth Assessment Report (IPCC AR6) was examined, analysing the impacts of different climate scenarios on annual maximum and minimum temperatures and precipitation, an expert who contributed to the plan said.
The projections show a rise in summer maximum temperatures in Delhi by 1.5-degree Celsius based on the RCP 4.5 scenario, and a 2.1-degree Celsius increase based on the RCP 8.5 scenario by mid-century.
Four Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs) span a range of future global warming scenarios. RCPs quantify future greenhouse gas concentrations and the radiative forcing -- the difference between the incoming and outgoing radiation at the top of the atmosphere -- due to increases in climate change pollution.
At the Paris climate talks in 2015, countries agreed to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius as compared to the pre-industrial levels to avoid extreme, destructive and likely irreversible effects of climate change.
The Earth's global surface temperature has risen by around 1.15 degrees Celsius and the CO2 spewed into the atmosphere since the start of the industrial revolution is closely tied to it. In the business-as-usual scenario, the world is heading for a temperature rise of around 3 degrees Celsius by the end of the century.
Published: 07 Aug 2023, 3:18 PM