Most of India's current electricity demand is met by combustion of fossil fuels, particularly coal. But the country has embarked on a major expansion of renewable energy and aims for half of its electricity needs to be met by renewable sources by 2030. As climate change-driven temperature increases continue to threaten India's population and drive increased demand for air conditioning, there is a need to estimate the local benefits of policies that increase renewable energy capacity and reduce cooling demand in buildings. We investigate the impacts of climate change-driven temperature increases, along with population and economic growth, on demand for electricity to cool buildings in the Indian city of Ahmedabad between 2018 and 2030. We estimate the share of energy demand met by coal-fired power plants versus renewable energy in 2030, and the cooling energy demand effects of expanded cool roof adaptation in the city. We find renewable energy capacity could increase from meeting 9% of cooling energy demand in 2018 to 45% in 2030. Our modeling indicates a near doubling in total electricity supply and a nearly threefold growth in cooling demand by 2030. Expansion of cool roofs to 20% of total roof area (associated with a 0.21 TWh reduction in cooling demand between 2018 and 2030) could more than offset the city's climate change-driven 2030 increase in cooling demand (0.17 TWh/year). This study establishes a framework for linking climate, land cover, and energy models to help policymakers better prepare for growing cooling energy demand under a changing climate.
Keywords: Adaptation; Air conditioning; Climate change; Cool roofs; Electricity; Energy demand; India; Renewable energy.
© The Author(s) 2022.