Just Energy Transition

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Source: Indian Express

Relevance: Achieving a clean energy transition for India, which is just and inclusive.

Synopsis: A people-centric approach will help India build a clean and inclusive energy future and also provide a model for other countries and communities worldwide.

Current scenario in India
  • It is among the world’s top five countries in terms of renewable power capacity.
  • 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.
  • India is also showing global clean energy leadership through initiatives such as the International Solar Alliance, which has more than 70 member countries.
Challenges
  • Adaptive strategy: Emerging and developing economies are starting from different baselines than advanced economies and they must adapt their pathways to ensure their transitions are inclusive.
  • Requirement of new jobs: New jobs would need to be found over time for people who work in the fossil fuel power plants that will close down.
  • We need a gender inclusive workforce: According to a 2019 study by Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW) and the International Energy Agency (IEA), women account for nearly 32% of the renewable’s workforce globally but only around 11% of the rooftop solar workforce in India.
How India can achieve a just energy transition?
  • Credible severance packages and insurance cushions would make the transition easier to navigate.
    • Policymakers must keep special “transition funds” to help coal-dependent regions and to remodel economies and develop new industries.
  • Engaging the youth is critical to ensure that the energy transition is sustainable, inclusive and enduring.
    • It is the emerging generation of innovators and entrepreneurs that will provide the technical and social solutions of the future.
  • Energy subsidies must be rationalized and directed towards those who need them most.
    • This would help sustain the gains of the Saubhagya and Ujjwala
    • Fiscal resources freed up through subsidy reform should then be invested in clean energy solutions, especially in underdeveloped regions and marginalized communities.
  • 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.
    • Green construction could ensure millions of homes enjoy thermal comfort, and help make energy efficiency a core part of building designs.
Way forward

To achieve jobs, growth and sustainability, India must try to put people at the centre of its energy transformation.

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