“The path to the sustainable energy sources will be long but the world cannot resist the transition”, said Barack Obama in his interview on sustainable development. The National Law University of India has had the privilege to host Prof. Ashok Sreenivas Senior Research Fellow at Prayas (Energy Group), Kothrud, Pune, to deliver a guest lecture on Energy Policy Research and Advocacy in India.
Prof. Ashok has covered extensively on the cause of geopolitical conflicts, the importance of coal industry and the correlation between per capita energy consumption and HDI during the lecture. With heavy investments, long lead times and Social & Environmental implications, it is evident that the energy sector is picking up its momentum across the globe.
What is interesting to know is that while 1/4th of the country’s population uses modern energy, 18 crore households still use natural resources for their livelihood. Thus, he emphasised on the dire need of policy innovation and intervention to understand and solve this energy poverty and demystify the sector.
“The new challenges for policy makers is combining crafts and skills that are tangible and involves multidisciplinary approach”, said Prof. Ashok. As interesting and challenging as the sector is, one of the toughest questions facing traditional energy companies is that the world is moving towards a low-carbon economy while India, as a developing nation, depends heavily on the coal industry for its commercial energy. With loud and clear signals from climate agreements, the focus is on renewable energy and building alternate energy storage capacity and investments in smart power grids. If the coal industry is a harbinger, to survive in the coming decades, is it essential that energy sector re-invents itself or shift away from fossil fuel industry to adapt to a low-carbon world?
(Nanditha Kalidoss is pursuing Master’s Programme in Public Policy at the National Law School of India University. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)