Over the past year, India has already seen weakened demand for thermal power due to declining demand and competition from renewable energy, the researchers said.
However, the locking measures introduced to curb the spread of the coronavirus caused a larger and more marked “drop” in March, pushing the growth of thermal energy production below zero for the first time in three decades. Carbon emissions fell about 15% in March and probably 30% in April, analysts said.
By studying oil, gas and coal consumption, researchers estimate that CO2 emissions fell 30 million tonnes in the fiscal year ending in March, which could be the first annual decline of this type. in four decades.
Analysts from the Center for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) noted that demand for coal was already declining in the country, as coal deliveries fell by 2% during the year ended in March, a first in two decades. However, this trend was accentuated in March, with coal sales falling by 10% and imports by 27.5%.
India imposed a national ban on March 25 to stop the spread of the coronavirus, shut down factories, markets, shops and places of worship and suspend most public transport and construction.
Looking at data from India’s national grid and the major coal producer, analysts said the coronavirus disruptions have reduced India’s demand for electricity, which has reduced appetite for coal.
By studying daily data from the Indian national grid, analysts found that coal-fired electricity production fell 15% in March and 31% in the first three weeks of April, while energy production renewable energy increased 6.4% in March and decreased 1.4% in April.
Oil consumption has also slowed since the start of 2019, researchers found, but noted that the Covid-19 foreclosure measures had a “dramatic impact” on transportation oil consumption, which fell 18 % in March 2020 compared to the previous year.
Although oil consumption increased 0.2% during the year, it was the slowest growth in at least 22 years due to the coronavirus, the researchers said, adding that there had already had slower demand in the sector earlier in the year.
At the same time, consumption of natural gas, which increased 5.5% in the first 11 months of the fiscal year, is expected to drop to 20% during the lockout, analysts said.
Although they note that the coronavirus pandemic affects only short-term emissions from India, analysts have said that the disruption caused by the coronavirus could “catalyze, reinforce or accelerate the factors that have already motivated the Indian policy making in this area. ”