In a bid to catalyse sustainable energy practices and bolster the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) in the eastern states, the Centre for Policy Research (CPR), affiliated with the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at NISER, Bhubaneswar, issued key recommendations during a policy dialogue on ‘Energy Transition in Eastern India: Issues and Challenges.’
Promoting Solar Energy Producer Organisations:
CPR proposed the establishment of solar energy producer organisations in every panchayat and urban local body across eastern states, including Odisha. These organisations are envisioned to operate in a public-private partnership mode, fostering the generation of solar energy at the grassroots level. The move aligns with the broader objective of decentralising energy production and promoting sustainable practices.
Accelerating Electric Vehicle Adoption:
Addressing the lower adoption rates of electric vehicles in the eastern states compared to the rest of India, CPR emphasised the need for the states, particularly Odisha, to facilitate the creation of more charging stations. The policy briefs released during the dialogue underscored the importance of awareness campaigns to educate the public about the benefits of EVs and to encourage their widespread adoption.
Environmental Concerns in Eastern States:
The discussions highlighted environmental challenges in the eastern region, with Odisha recording the second-highest per capita carbon emissions, according to estimates by the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW). The carbon emissions are predominantly attributed to the mining and metal-based industries prevalent in the area. Despite this, the distribution of benefits from the mining industry remains low due to limited employment opportunities, while pollution distribution remains high.
The Link Between Economic Disparities and Carbon Emissions:
A notable observation was made regarding the economic disparities and carbon emissions in states like Odisha. Gujarat, with the seventh-highest per capita income, has almost double the per capita income of Odisha, despite having a lower carbon emission rate. The disparity highlights the need for a balanced approach to economic growth that considers environmental sustainability.
Insights from Key Speakers:
During the inaugural session, key figures such as Prof RB Grover from the Atomic Energy Council, Prof Akhilesh Gupta from the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB), Prof HN Ghosh, Director of NISER, Pranay Kumar Swain, Chairperson of SHSS, and Satya Priya Rath, Director-Budget, shared valuable insights into the pivotal role of sustainable energy practices in the region.
The recommendations put forth by CPR aim to steer the eastern states towards a greener, more sustainable future by embracing solar energy initiatives and promoting the widespread adoption of electric vehicles. As the dialogue progresses, stakeholders anticipate collaborative efforts to transform these recommendations into actionable policies, marking a significant step towards a more environmentally conscious and technologically advanced Eastern India.