Challenges for Sustainable Energy Development in India
The scope of environmental concerns of energy cycles (from extraction to use to disposal) has become increasingly broader. The first concerns pertained to the visible pollutants of the outdoor environment with localized effects. These have broadened to include inter alia social concerns in sustainable development and environmental problems increasing both spatially (indoor, regional, and global impacts) and temporally (from immediate to delayed and long-term effects). In India, successes have been modest in addressing environmental consequences of the energy sector. When the affected parties include the elites and the urban middle classes, the problem is more likely to be addressed than when it affects the poor and unorganized. Visible pollution has frequently been curtailed; invisible pollutants continue to be emitted. Air pollution has sometimes been controlled; controlling water pollution is less than exemplary. While the world is on its way to addressing stratospheric ozone depletion, climate change continues to defy an acceptable solution. Based on my personal professional experience of the past three decades, I attempt in this paper to provide a historical perspective of the successes, challenges, and unresolved implementation issues in the energy environment arena in India.
KeywordsEnergy Sector Renewable Energy Technology Stratospheric Ozone Depletion Social Audit Visible Pollutant
Helpful discussions with my colleagues Gautam Narasimhan and Ila Gupta are gratefully acknowledged. The usual caveat applies. Ms. Gupta also assisted with the graphics.
- Boulding K (1966) The economics of coming spaceship earth. In: Jarrett H (ed) Environmental quality in a growing economy. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, pp 3–14Google Scholar
- Centre for Science and Environment (2012) India’s Minamata. In: Down to earth, pp 29–33, 16–31 Oct 2012Google Scholar
- Chu S, Majumdar A (2012) Opportunities and challenges for a sustainable energy future. Nature 488:294–303Google Scholar
- Nathan HSK, SenGupta DP, Ahuja DR (2012) Assessment of electrification projects in India’s remote villages where grid-extension is infeasible. Presented at 3rd National Research Conference on Climate Change, IISc, Bangalore, 3–4 Nov 2012Google Scholar
- Ramesh J (2010) The two cultures revisited: some reflections on the environment-development debate in India. 11th ISRO-JNCASR Satish Dhawan Memorial Lecture, 28 Sept 2010Google Scholar
- Reddy A (2009) An autobiography. In: Ravi Rajan S (ed) Amulya Reddy: citizen scientist. Orient Blackswan, Hyderabad, pp 1–56Google Scholar