Renewable Energy – Wind, Tidal, Geothermal, etc.

Engaging States in India’s Energy Transition: A Multi-Scale Approach


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: India's energy transition targets

Mains level: India's Energy Transition and the role os states

Energy Transition

Central Idea

  • In the forthcoming G20 forum, India intends to propose a diversified approach to energy pathways that considers the distinct contexts and development trajectories of countries. By bridging the gap between national ambitions and State-level implementation, India can effectively achieve its climate pledges and drive actions at the regional level.

Why States Matter in India’s energy transition?

  • Implementation and Realization of National Targets: While the central government sets goals and provides support, the actual realization of these targets depends on how they align with State priorities and capabilities. States serve as the spheres of implementation, and their active participation is essential for achieving national energy goals.
  • Addressing Legacy Issues: The electricity sector in India faces challenges such as high losses, unreliable supply, and poor service quality. These issues are deeply rooted in the State-level political economy and must be addressed at the regional level. States are responsible for tackling these legacy issues, which can be exacerbated during the energy transition if left unaddressed.
  • Laboratories of Policy Innovations: States in India have been instrumental in driving policy innovations, particularly in the renewable energy sector. Early initiatives taken by States like Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, and Tamil Nadu have significantly contributed to the uptake of renewable energy at the national level.
  • Roadblocks or Support for National Goals: States can either facilitate or hinder the achievement of national energy goals, depending on their perception of alignment with State priorities. If the national goals are perceived as misaligned or imposing undue burdens on certain States, they may become roadblocks to progress.
  • Regional Diversities and Opportunities: India is a vast and diverse country with significant regional variations in resources, economic development, and social priorities. States have unique contexts, capabilities, and opportunities that need to be taken into account during the energy transition. Recognizing and engaging with State-level diversities is essential for developing targeted and effective policies that consider regional nuances.

Insights from Achievements and Challenges of India’s energy transition

  • Partial Achievement of Targets: While India made significant progress towards its 2022 target of 175 GW renewable energy capacity, it was not fully achieved. This highlights the importance of understanding the factors that contribute to successful implementation at the State level.
  • Regional Disparities: Only a few States, such as Gujarat, Karnataka, and Rajasthan, were able to meet their individual renewable energy targets. The concentration of renewable energy capacity in certain regions, particularly in the west and south of India, highlights the need for a more balanced and inclusive distribution across States.
  • Implementation Challenges: The energy transition faces implementation challenges related to various factors such as land availability, infrastructure development, policy framework, and financial viability. These challenges vary from State to State and require tailored solutions to overcome barriers and ensure smooth implementation.
  • Importance of State-Level Support: State governments play a crucial role in driving the energy transition. States with supportive policies, favorable regulatory frameworks, and proactive engagement have demonstrated higher success rates in achieving renewable energy targets.
  • Learnings from State-Level Experiments: Successful State-level initiatives in renewable energy, such as Gujarat and Rajasthan’s early adoption of solar energy and Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu’s focus on wind energy, provide valuable lessons for scaling up renewable energy adoption at the national level.
  • Addressing Legacy Issues: Legacy issues in the electricity sector, such as high losses and unreliable supply, pose challenges to the energy transition. These issues are deeply ingrained in the State-level political economy and require targeted interventions and reforms to ensure a smooth transition to clean and sustainable energy sources.
  • Balancing National Goals and State Priorities: State priorities and goals may sometimes differ from national objectives, creating potential roadblocks. It is crucial to align national goals with State priorities and consider regional contexts to build consensus and ensure that the energy transition is inclusive and equitable.

Importance of State-Level Framework in the context of India’s energy transition

  • Understanding State Plans and Actions: A state-level framework helps in comprehending the specific plans, actions, and governance processes undertaken by individual states regarding the energy transition.
  • Broadening the Transition Discourse: By applying a state-level framework, the focus of the transition discourse expands beyond mere outcome-oriented discussions. It includes an analysis of the processes that shape the outcomes, such as transparency, accountability, affordability, and reliability of services.
  • Enhancing Transparency and Legitimacy: A state-level framework ensures that stakeholders are engaged and have the opportunity to participate, contribute, and provide inputs. This transparency fosters public legitimacy and buy-in for complex decisions related to the energy transition, enhancing public acceptance and support for sustainable energy initiatives.
  • Addressing State-Level Diversities: A state-level framework allows for a more nuanced understanding of these diversities and tailors energy transition strategies accordingly. It recognizes that what works in one state may not be directly applicable or effective in another state, leading to more context-specific and targeted policies and interventions.
  • Evidence-Based Policy Choices: A state-level framework facilitates evidence-based policy choices by providing a structured approach to assess state-level preparedness and requirements for the energy transition. It enables comprehensive analyses of factors such as targets, resources, cross-sectoral inter-linkages, and implications of policy decisions
  • Sensitizing National Policy Discourse: Viewing the energy transition through the lens of state-level preparedness brings greater sensitivity to state-level diversities, priorities, capacities, and opportunities.

Way ahead: A Multi-Scale Planning and Execution Strategy

  • National-Level Planning: National-level planning involves defining renewable energy goals, establishing regulatory frameworks, and providing financial incentives to promote renewable energy adoption. It also includes creating an enabling environment through supportive policies, such as feed-in tariffs, subsidies, and tax incentives.
  • State-Level Engagement: Engaging with States is vital as they have diverse contexts, priorities, and capabilities. State-level planning involves aligning national goals with State priorities and developing tailored strategies to address regional challenges and opportunities.
  • Regional and Local Implementation: Energy transition planning should extend to regional and local levels. This involves working closely with local communities, stakeholders, and authorities to ensure effective implementation of renewable energy projects.
  • Integration of Inter-Linkages: A multi-scale planning approach should consider inter-linkages between various sectors and dimensions of the energy transition. Identifying and leveraging these inter-linkages can enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the energy transition.
  • Capacity Building and Knowledge Exchange: A multi-scale strategy should prioritize capacity building and knowledge exchange across all levels. This includes providing training and support to State-level policymakers, energy officials, and local communities to enhance their understanding of renewable energy technologies, financing mechanisms, and implementation best practices.

Facts for prelims

THE PANCHAMRIT (The five-nectar-element commitments)

  • Indian Will take its non-fossil energy capacity to 500 GW by 2030.
  • Indian will meet 50 % of its energy requirements from renewable energy by 2030.
  • India will reduce the total projected carbon emissions by one billion tonnes from now till 2030.
  • By 2030, India will reduce the carbon intensity of its economy by less than 45 percent.
  • By the year 2070, India will achieve the target of net zero


  • Engaging with States is crucial for India’s energy transition as they act as key stakeholders in the implementation of national goals. A multi-scale approach that considers State-level contexts, priorities, and capabilities will pave the way for a successful transition. By establishing a State-level framework, analyzing inter-linkages, and understanding regional preparedness, India can expedite its energy transition, achieve its climate pledges, and create a more sustainable future

Also read:

[Burning Issue] Energy Security and Energy Transition

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments


Join us across Social Media platforms.

💥Mentorship New Batch Launch
💥Mentorship New Batch Launch