Third Industrial Revolution and India’s Approach to Sustainable Energy Development

  • Ramprasad Sengupta


The productive forces of the first and the second industrial revolution were triggered essentially by the discovery and development of fossil fuel energy resources of coal followed by hydro carbons and their later transformation into electricity. The development of concerned new energy technologies converged upon newly emerging technology of transport and communication which had radically transformed human society by reducing spatial distance and effecting wide diffusion of knowledge, information and technology. However, fossil fuel based economic development has given rise to the alarmingly large accumulation of unabsorbed wastes and pollution in the ecosystems of the earth resulting in global climate change and many other adverse consequences. The need for transforming the global economy and society to control climate change and clean up the environment at local and global level has led to the development of the vision of a new era of Third Industrial Revolution. It is being envisaged that the third revolution would revolve around the development of renewables and hydrogen to replace fossil fuel in the electricity and the transport sector. The development of IT on the other hand would lead to the emergence of technology of both way flows of energy and information between the source of generation and consumption of energy, so that energy can be widely shared through an energy internet of smart grid of power and the efficiency of the energy system can be vastly enhanced. The paper outlines the vision of the third revolution and describes how this remains still an important but distant goal for G-20 countries particularly of India as of today. It focuses on the current energy scenario of India with reference to energy efficiency and fuel mix and discusses the potential of her renewable resources and the state of its cumulative realization as of now. It also gives in this context some long run projections of how far India’s economic growth can become low carbon by utilizing such opportunities in the time frame of 2031–32. Finally, the paper points out the major challenges that India and the global community will have to face in order to make the apparent distant goal of the Third Revolution realizable in a shorter time horizon and what kind of responsibilities would be involved upon G-20 forum to facilitate such transition to the new revolutionary era.


Smart Grid Industrial Revolution Knowledge Capital Energy Scenario Sustainable Energy Development 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Emeritus Professor of Economics, School of Social SciencesJawaharlal Nehru UniversityNew DelhiIndia

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