The Climate Futures Project

TERI-Shell 2021

Unpacking ‘India: Transforming to a Net-Zero Emissions Energy System’

Unpacking ‘India: Transforming to a Net-Zero Emissions Energy System’

Key Highlights

Stated purpose of the study Key merits Scope for improvement
To assess whether adequate solutions theoretically exist to fully decarbonise the energy sector
Offers a comprehensive ensemble of mitigation technologies and approaches across the energy sector
Limited transparency in model data and structure constrains the credibility of ensuing policy recommendations

Provides little insight on the extent to which uncertainties may influence recommendations. These limitations are crucial particularly with respect to technological breakthroughs, and potential alternative socio-economic —GDP and urbanisation —pathways

Does not quantify financial, equity, or energy security implications of the energy transition, or the trade-offs between developmental and mitigation choices

Model Assessment


Model Assessment


Transparency and credibility of inputs Appropriateness of model choice to research objective Assessment of scenario construction process Approach to uncertainty Transparency and validation of outputs


Data and data sources are not transparently stated and based on multiple corroborating sources
Model structure is not transparent
Rationale for alternative scenario ‘storylines’ appropriate to study purpose, and adequately discussed and explained
Uncertainties in the input assumptions and results are not analysed and presented transparently
Outputs not presented in a manner that facilitates consideration of how they are shaped by input assumptions, model mechanics, and scenarios
Data up-to-date, with the bounds of data availability constraints
Inadequate discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of the model structure, with respect to its fitness for purpose
Process through which these storylines were developed is not explained
Uncertainties associated with the model’s causal mechanisms (through which inputs are translated into key outputs) are not analysed and presented transparently
Implications of uncertainties in inputs and model structure not considered in reporting of results and consequent policy implications
Inputs insufficiently justified through clear reasoning, particularly when based on projections
Inputs insufficiently justified through clear reasoning, particularly when based on projections

Scenarios account for the limitations and implications of uncertainties, and discuss them qualitatively

Model results do not analyse/represent how uncertainty may change with time
Results not validated, or efforts at validation are not clearly presented

Key Findings
Scenario: Net-zero emissions (NZE)


Annual GDP Growth (%)

Unclear, approximately 5%

Job Growth Outcome

Data not listed, but job increases expected in renewables


Peaking Year

2025 (Energy sector)

Emissions in Peaking Year (GtCO₂e)

3 (GtCO₂e)

Net-Zero Year

2050 (Energy sector)

Energy Emissions in Net-Zero Year (GtCO₂e)

Residual emissions of 1.3 GtCO₂e


RE Share in Electricity Generation (%)


RE Share in Primary Energy (%)

Data not listed


Energy Investment Required

Data not listed

Interpretation of Model Results


The study assumes single estimates for select development indicators such as sector shares of GDP or consumption patterns, and thus doesn’t consider alternative development pathways. Further, these singular estimates aren’t detailed, thereby making it difficult to assess their feasibility or implications for India’s development.


Energy demand is assumed to be driven by growth and urbanisation, but the study doesn’t discuss its likelihood or variability, its distribution across sectors, and the role of efficiency gains. Shares of generation capacity and utilisation factors aren’t clear, and uncertainties in technological breakthroughs aren’t discussed. It is thus difficult to fully understand the energy transition pathway implicit in the study


The scenario is a back-calculation exercise to assess policy needs, and thus isn’t designed to discuss likelihoods of emissions estimated. Non-energy emissions aren’t included, and the study doesn’t discuss sources of emissions and emissions reductions, or the impacts of alternative patterns of energy demand and supply.


The study does not quantify domestic investment needs, either cumulative or annual, and does not explicate technological cost assumptions.


The study notes India’s development challenges, but does not detail co-benefits or resource impacts, discuss distributive impacts, or capture discussions on resilience and the informal economy.


The study acknowledges greater resultant self-sufficiency and macroeconomic stability, but does not quantify reductions in energy imports, potential import dependence for natural gas and solar PV components, or impacts of potential supply shocks.

Explore Other Model Factsheets

Explore Other Model Factsheets

Explore Other Model Factsheets

Switcher Content One
Switcher Content Two