Need to Think Constructive and Capitalise on Huge Potential of Renewable Energy: Rohit Gupta, MD, RUVNL

Rajasthan is emerging as a leader in the renewable energy sector and there is a need to think of constructive ways to go forward and capitalise on the huge potential of renewable energy while addressing some of the crucial concerns of livelihoods, ecology and techno-economic well-being of the power sector, said Rohit Gupta, MD, RUVNL.

June 25, 2021. By Manu Tayal

Rajasthan is emerging as a leader in the renewable energy sector and there is a need to think of constructive ways to go forward and capitalise on the huge potential of renewable energy while addressing some of the crucial concerns of livelihoods, ecology and techno-economic well-being of the power sector, said Rohit Gupta, Managing Director of Rajasthan Urja Vikas Nigam Ltd (RUVNL).

Gupta said while discussing the emerging trends and energy transition of Rajasthan, in a webinar jointly hosted by CUTS International and Climate Trends.

The webinar moderated by Aarti Khosla, Director Climate Trends brought a wide spectrum of relevant issues on the intersection of climate change, energy sector, economy, society and ecology.

While addressing Rajasthan's bright prospects of clean energy generation, Amol Kulkarni, Director-Research, CUTS International, highlighted some critical issues including sustainable financing, inclusive outcomes, social costs, environmental footprint and cost-economics of the power utilities.

The webinar discussed multiple aspects of transitioning from financing to social and environmental costs of transition, challenges faced by the power sector utilities and the opportunities.

One such prominent topic of the discussion includes the Supreme Courts ruling of under-grounding the power lines to save the Great Indian Bustard, the panel was unanimous in placing the ecological needs of the planet above the infrastructural development that directly hinders it. 

The panel collectively stressed on the need to build local capacities in order to enable the communities to become a stakeholder and not merely recipients of the outcomes of energy transition.

Rajasthan can play a key leadership role in the country's transition to a low-cost, low-emission, profitable electricity system.

Kartikeya Singh, Director – Programmes, Stichting SED Fund, said “Rajasthan has a bounty of resources and has the capability to lead the energy transition by balancing the interests of consumers, coal economy stakeholders, lives and livelihoods, and the environment. And in doing so, the private sector is taking leaps by committing and announcing a shift from conventional polluting sources of energy.”

“There has to be a changed approach towards addressing the woes of the Discoms, which are at the centre-stage of this transition. The purpose and aims of infrastructure development also needs to be accounted for in the energy transition debate. For instance, it would be unfair to blame the agricultural consumers for the excess subsidies they have because basic economic sense requires them to only pay for the marginal cost of power, as the power generation was initially set to serve the needs of industrialisation and energy access,” commented Simran Grover, CEO, Bask Research Foundation.

Swati Dsouza, Research Lead – Climate Action, National Foundation for India, said “the changed mindsets, behaviours and perceptions of stakeholders to be the key bone of contention in the prospects of a ‘just’ energy transition. The socio-economic indicators of people engaged in it should become the basis of identifying the elements of energy transition, including its timeline, framework of action and subsequently the nature of financing.” 

“The social and environmental aspects of transition should not be merely measured through the cost-lenses, but also through the macro-level objectives of energy access and energy poverty. And in doing so, the clean energy transition should be pursued as a national goal with aligned and collective efforts from all the stakeholders,” commented Amit Kumar, Senior Director, Social Transformation, TERI.

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