Consortium of Key Industry Leaders Call for Responsible Renewable Energy System in India

The members of the Responsible Energy Initiative (REI) India have gathered in Delhi and released their ambitious ‘vision and principles’ for the renewable energy (RE) sector in India.

May 30, 2022. By Manu Tayal

The members of the Responsible Energy Initiative (REI) India have gathered in Delhi and released their ambitious ‘vision and principles’ for the renewable energy (RE) sector in India.

REI India is a multi-year programme working to ensure renewable energy in Asia achieves its full potential and creates value in a way that is ecologically safe, rights-respecting and socially just. It is a consortium of core and expert partners, alongside participants from across the RE value chain. Core partners for the India inquiry are WRI India, TERI, and Forum for the Future. The expert partners are WWF-India, Business and Human Rights Resource Centre (BHRRC) and Landesa.

The ‘vision and principles’ have been contributed to by a group of 26 global and Indian leaders from across the renewable energy sector and leading international think tanks.

Releasing REI India’s vision and principles, Dr. Ajay Mathur, Director General, International Solar Alliance (ISA), said, “as the renewables sector grows exponentially, fuelled by an urgent need to meet peoples’ energy needs cost-effectively and address the planet’s climate emergency, it is essential that the RE sector and its allied industries act responsibly. We all need to act in ways that address energy equity, participatory governance, protect the livelihoods and ecosystems of places where RE is sited, and ensure that the full lifecycle of the RE system is safe and secure.”

The announcement comes as recent incidents of conflicts in India between communities and RE generators, from Rajasthan and Gujarat to Karnataka and West Bengal, continue to concern those within the RE sector.

The launch of ‘vision and principles’ follows the Initiative’s earlier inquiry findings, released in March 2021, which highlighted the challenges the sector must overcome together if they are to systemically change the RE sector.

The initiative is run as geographically-based inquiries to identify problems, leading to action that can be taken to redress them, culminating in rule-making to attempt systemic change, which would allow the RE sector in the focus country to be a force for good.

By encouraging collaboration across wide-ranging stakeholders, REI seeks to urgently galvanize action to address concerns over: the loss of traditional livelihoods; threats to community wellbeing; long-term ecological impacts on altering land-use patterns; and complaints over energy equity.

“It is a matter of pride that the historic transition away from fossil fuels is gathering momentum in India. It is essential that the concerns and interests of all stakeholders who would be affected are well understood and discussed. A consensus on the way to address these must be reached transparently. We must have a fair and just transition for all,” commented Ajay Shankar, Distinguished Fellow, TERI.
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