The Importance of Federalism in Decarbonizing India’s Electricity System

Encina Commons archway
Tue May 17th 2022, 4:00 - 5:00pm

Decarbonizing India and Africa Workshop Series

India is the world’s third largest economy and power producer with growing electricity demand from low per capita electricity consumption. Despite growth of renewable energy, coal-heavy electricity generation means greenhouse gas and air pollutant emissions from the power sector are and will remain an important focus of public policies in India. Electricity demand and generation mixes, and their accompanying social costs from air pollution vary by state. Both central and state governments share jurisdiction over the power sector. Consequently, the differences and interactions between states matter when evaluating and designing policies to decarbonize India’s electricity system. This talk will give an overview of these differences and interactions. It will also contextualize them within current policy efforts and targets as well as future challenges. Policies that have modest or negligible impacts at the aggregate, national level nonetheless have disparate, state-level impacts. This has implications for India’s decarbonization efforts as it aims to increase renewable energy by 2030, meet net-zero emissions by 2070, while ensuring a just energy transition.

About the Speaker: Shayak Sengupta

Shayak Sengupta is a Fellow at Observer Research Foundation America (ORF America) where he leads research on energy and climate. ORF America is an independent, non-partisan, and nonprofit organization in Washington DC dedicated to addressing policy challenges facing the United States, India, and their partners in a rapidly changing world. Established in 2020, ORF America is an overseas affiliate of the Observer Research Foundation (ORF), India’s premier non-government think tank. Shayak's expertise is interdisciplinary spanning technology and policy related to energy, climate change, and air quality. Previously, he served as a Visiting Researcher at the Center for Social and Economic Progress (formerly Brookings India) in New Delhi. His work there with collaborators in the United States and India better quantified the climate impacts of India’s electricity system. His interests in India’s energy and climate future began when he served as a Fulbright-Nehru scholar at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur where he studied air pollution control policies at India’s power stations. He received a Ph.D. and M.S. in engineering and public policy from Carnegie Mellon University. He earned his B.S. magna cum laude in civil and environmental engineering from Rice University. In addition to his Fulbright-Nehru award, he is the recipient of a Boren Fellowship and a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship for his graduate studies.