Powering ahead

An assessment of the socio-economic and environmental impacts of large-scale renewable energy projects and an examination of the existing regulatory context
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The energy transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy is a significant part of India’s climate response. As the country readies for the transition, a necessary shift to address the alarming climate emergency, questions on the design of future energy systems and their impacts have started surfacing as important issues. There have been recorded instances where large scale wind and solar projects have begun to face opposition from communities on the ground and environmental advocates. While there is wide spread acceptance that the energy transition is required and urgent, there is also a concern that renewable energy projects - especially large-scale projects - could have an adverse impact on the ground in terms of social and environmental parameters.
The scoping report "Powering Ahead" draws attention to the footprints of large scale renewable energy projects on environmental and social grounds. The report prepared by Asar Social Impact Advisors Pvt. Ltd with support from Heinrich Boll Stiftung, India was launched online on 3rd July, 2020 followed by a panel discussion between an array of experts from the renewable energy sector. The findings of the report and the discussions that ensued highlighted the need for decoupling the impacts of large scale solar and large scale wind power projects as the nature of impacts vary tremendously from solar to wind. The discussions also pointed towards the need for mandatory impact assessments, public consultation, water assessment (in water stressed regions) etc among other recommendations for a just and democratic energy transition in the country.
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Asar Social Impact Advisors Pvt. Ltd.
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Table of contents
  1. Introduction
    1.1 India’s Power Sector: State of Play
    1.2 Renewable Energy, Growth Story
    1.3 About Study
  2. Policies, Guidelines, and Regulatory Provisions
    2.1 Central Government Policies
    2.2 Legal Obligations
    2.3 State Government Policies
  3. Social and Environmental Issues
    3.1 Land Diversion
    3.2 Water Extraction
  4. Case Studies
    4.1 Andhra Lake Wind Farm, Maharashtra
    4.2 Pavagada Solar Park, Karnataka
  5. Recommendations and Conclusion
  6. List of Abbreviations
  7. Endnotes
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