Context: NITI Aayog and Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) released Towards a Clean Energy Economy: Post-Covid-19 Opportunities for India’s Energy and Mobility Sectors report.

More on the news:

  • The report advocates for stimulus and recovery efforts that work towards building a clean, resilient, and least-cost energy future for India. 
  • New report highlights emerging challenges and opportunities for India’s transition to clean mobility and power systems in the context of Covid-19.
  • The recovery efforts include electric vehicles, energy storage, and renewable energy programs. 

About the report:

  • Economic situation of India and importance of clean energy:
    • The report highlights that India’s economy will recover following the containment of the Covid-19 pandemic.
    • India’s strong democratic institutions promote policy stability and ongoing economic reforms, if executed well, should keep the country's growth rate ahead of peers. 
    • Clean energy will be a major driver of India’s economic recovery and international competitiveness.
  • Influence of COVID-19:
    • The report identifies how Covid-19 is beginning to influence the clean energy transition in India, specifically for the transport and power sectors.
    • The report recommends principles and strategic opportunities for the country’s leaders to drive economic recovery and maintain momentum towards a clean energy economy. 
    • Covid-19 has presented significant demand and supply-side challenges for India’s transport and power sectors, from liquidity constraints and supply shortages to shifts in consumer demand and preferences. 
  • The report lays out four principles as a framework for policymakers and other key decision-makers considering programmes to support India’s clean energy future: 
    • Invest in least-cost-energy solutions. 
    • Support resilient and secure energy systems.
    • Prioritize efficiency and competitiveness, and 
    • Promote social and environmental equity
  • The principles and opportunities in the report can provide guidance to India’s public and private sector leaders on how to evaluate and prioritize stimulus and recovery options that continue to invest in a long-term clean energy future for India.

Why did the report focus mainly on two sectors: Transport & Power?

  • Can reduce carbon dioxide emissions: India’s transport sector can save 1.7 gigatonnes of cumulative carbon dioxide emissions and avoid about 600 million tonnes of oil equivalent in fuel demand by 2030.
    • This can be done through shared, electric, and connected passenger mobility and cost-effective, clean, and optimized freight transport. 
  • In the power sector: Significant savings are also achievable in the power sector through the adoption of renewable energy, energy storage, efficiency, and flexible generation and demand. 

Way ahead suggested by the report:

  • India needs to identify strategic opportunities for economic recovery in the short, medium, and long terms that can translate challenges posed by the pandemic into clean energy transition opportunities. 
  • Opportunities in the transport sector include 
    • Making public transport safe, 
    • Enhancing and expanding non-motorized transport infrastructure, 
    • Reducing vehicle kilometres travelled through work-from-home where possible, 
    • Supporting national strategies to adopt electric vehicles in the freight and passenger segments, and making India an automotive export hub. 
  • In the power sector, opportunities include 
    • Improving the electricity distribution business and its operations, 
    • Enabling renewables and distributed energy resources, and promoting energy resilience and 
    • Local manufacturing of renewable energy and energy storage technologies. 

India must leverage domestic innovation ecosystems to bring value to the country and industry in this new normal. The recommended specific actions in the report can revive two of India’s economic powerhouses—the transport and power sectors—and emerge stronger.

Image Source: ET