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  • Author: Ankit Bhardwaj, Federico De Lorenzo, Marie-Hélène Zérah
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: Despite the potential of cities to foster a low-carbon energy transition, the governance of energy in India broadly remains within the purview of central and state governments. However, the Smart Cities Mission, a new urban scheme launched in 2015, gives Indian cities new powers to govern energy, a surprising departure from previous urban and energy policies. We argue that this shift is significant and we therefore raise three questions: 1) what kind of energy projects are planned and what does it reveal about the cities’ vision towards energy? 2) does the Smart Cities Mission foster a low-carbon energy transition and if so, how is this transition envisaged? 3) and finally, what are the rationale and the drivers behind this apparent shift? To address these questions, we build on a database of projects and financing plans submitted by the first 60 cities selected in the Smart Cities Mission. We find that cities have earmarked an immense 13,161 INR crore (~1.4 billion GBP) for energy projects, with most funds dedicated to basic infrastructure, primarily focused on enhancing the grid and supply. Cities also proposed projects in solar energy, electric vehicles, waste to energy and LED lighting, indicating their appetite for low-carbon projects. While cities were given institutional space to prioritise certain technologies, their interventions were conditioned by centrally sources of financing which were limited to certain mandated technologies. A focus on technology, rather than planning, undermined the role of cities as strategic decision-makers. What emerges is a dual faced reading of the Smart Cities Mission, indicating the potential and pitfalls of contemporary decentralized energy governance in the Global South.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Social Policy, Urban
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia
  • Author: Ankit Bhardwaj, Radhika Khosla
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: Indian cities routinely make decisions on land use, housing, water, transport, economic growth and waste management that have implications for climate change mitigation and adaptation. Aligning these sectoral actions with climate goals involves understanding how infrastructural systems interact and how these choices address both development and climate objectives. City governments, as managers of these various infrastructure systems, can co-ordinate such decision-making. However, so far, this is largely ad hoc. We show how cities can use a ‘multiple objective’ approach to systematically examine, and make explicit, the linkages between local objectives, climate change mitigation and adaptation across their planning portfolio.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, Water, Economic Growth, Urban, Sanitation
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia
  • Author: Radhika Khosla
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: India is poised at the edge of an energy transformation. This shift is shaped in large part by the country’s ongoing economic, social, and technological transitions. Indian cities will host an influx of 200 million more people by 2030. Most of these people will come from a low base of development, and will demand modern fuels, appliances, and vehicles for improved quality of life. Demographically, at least 10 million people are expected to enter the Indian job market annually for the next two decades (India’s Half-A-Billion Jobs Conundrum 2017). In addition, two-thirds of India’s buildings that will exist in 2030 remain to be built (McKinsey Global Institute 2010). Managing these transitions is a significant challenge in itself, further complicated by the need to address their immense energy and climate implications. This policy piece examines an important driver of India’s energy future—electricity demand in households—and argues for why a broader consideration of energy consumption is central to Indian energy and climate debates.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Demographics, Development, Energy Policy, Science and Technology, Electricity
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia