Renewable Energy – Wind, Tidal, Geothermal, etc.

What India needs for a just energy transition

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : IEA

Mains level : Paper 3- Ensuring smooth energy transition in India

Context

With an ever-growing list of countries announcing net-zero emissions targets, the global energy system is set to undergo a transformation in the coming decades. But India needs to ensure that this transition is smooth and people-centric.

Transition in India

  • According to an IEA analysis, 90 per cent of new electricity generation capacity around the world now comes from renewables.
  • In India, that energy transformation is well underway.
  • India is among the world’s top five countries in terms of renewable power capacity.
  • Ambitious target of 450 gigawatts: Its ambitious target to increase India’s renewable energy capacity to 450 gigawatts (GW) by 2030 would help move it closer to achieving the country’s broader climate goals and commitments made under the Paris Agreement.
  • Clean energy leadership by India: India is also showing global clean energy leadership through initiatives such as the International Solar Alliance, which has more than 70 member countries.
  • Transition in rural area: The energy transition in rural India can be driven by dedicated policies to promote renewables, incentivise investment in decentralised low-carbon power sources like rooftop solar, and train and build the capacity of clean energy entrepreneurs.
  • Incorporating energy efficiency in the Affordable Housing Mission: In the short term, stimulus spending in the labour-intensive construction sector could accelerate progress on the Affordable Housing Mission.
  • Incorporating energy efficiency and green construction methods into these projects could ensure millions of homes enjoy thermal comfort, and help make energy efficiency a core part of building designs.

Factors to consider in transition to clean energy

  • Ensure equity: It must be ensured that the opportunities of India’s transition are shared fairly throughout society — and workers and communities are not left to face the challenges alone.
  • Make it people-centric: To achieve the trifecta of jobs, growth and sustainability, India must strive to put people at the centre of its energy transformation.
  • Provisions for coal-dependent regions: New jobs would need to be found over time for the coal miners affected by the changes, as well as for people who work in the fossil fuel power plants that will close down.
  • Policymakers must earmark special “transition funds” to help coal-dependent regions, some of which are among India’s poorest.
  • Increase investment by rationalising energy subsidies: Energy subsidies must be rationalised and directed towards those who need them most.
  • Fiscal resources freed up through subsidy reform should then be invested in clean energy solutions, especially in underdeveloped regions and marginalised communities.
  • Support rural livelihood: A just transition should focus on how clean energy can support rural livelihoods and increase communities’ resilience in the aftermath of the pandemic shock.
  • Ensure women’s participation in the green workforce: While India’s energy transition will create many new jobs, the limited participation of women in the growing green workforce must be addressed.
  • A 2019 study by CEEW and the IEA suggests that women account for nearly 32 per cent of the renewables workforce globally but only around 11 per cent of the rooftop solar workforce in India.
  • Engage youth: Engaging the youth is critical to ensure that the energy transition is sustainable, inclusive and enduring.
  • Young entrepreneurs in India have already shown their impact by expanding the footprint of renewables and disrupting traditional energy models.
  • Some of these key themes are being explored by the 30 members of the Global Commission on People-Centred Clean Energy Transitions, which the IEA launched in January.

Conclusion

A people-centric approach, backed by good policy design, will not only help India build a clean and inclusive energy future, but could also provide a model for other countries and communities worldwide.

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