Reflections on contemporary issues in the electricity sector

The full-day event "Reflections on contemporary issues in the electricity sector" consisted of three sessions, with each session focusing on one recent publication from Prayas. The event was well attended with each session having between 20 and 30 participants from across a wide spectrum consisting of regulators, senior bureaucrats, utility representatives, trade union representatives, civil society organisations, consultants, energy and environment researchers and think tanks.

In the first session, PEG presented its report Price of plenty analysing the "surplus" power situation in the country, its causes, implications and possible solutions. The report presentation was followed by remarks from Mr. Anish De (KPMG) as a discussant. This was followed by a robust discussion among participants sharing their perspectives on the topic.

In the second session, discussion revolved around the PEG report In the name of competition which analyses the saga of retail electricity competition in Mumbai. The analysis looks at the history of evolution of retail competition in Mumbai, the roles of various players involved and lessons for future reforms in this direction. Daljit Singh (independent researcher) and Geeta Gouri (former Member, Competition Commission of India) shared their views as discussants, following which participants shared and discussed their ideas on this issue.

The last session was based on a recent book published by PEG reviewing India's electricity sector reforms over the last 25 years. PEG made a presentation on the book titled Many sparks but little light which covers thermal, hydro and renewable generation, electricity distribution and associated fuel sectors of coal and gas. After PEG presented the motivation for the book and its major conclusions, Srinivasa Murthy (former Chair, Karnataka ERC) and Mahesh Rangarajan (Professor, Ashoka University) complimented PEG for publishing the book and shared their thoughts on it. Participants in the session also shared their views on the book as well as the future of the sector.

Stakeholder Workshop on Renewable Energy onsite generation and use in Buildings

Worldwide, buildings use about 40% of energy and they emit approximately 1/3rd of GHG emissions. In India, residential and commercial buildings account for 31% of the electricity consumption2 and is increasing at a rate of 10-12% a year. Prayas Energy Group (PEG), Pune and Greentech Knowledge Solutions Pvt. Ltd. (GKSPL), New Delhi are collaboratively working on identifying the opportunities and avenues to overcome the challenges in realizing the potential of onsite renewable energy generation and use in buildings. In this regard, PEG and GKSPL organized a half-day stakeholder discussion on October 20, 2016 to share the initial findings of this study and to get inputs on understanding key challenges, opportunities and action points in further increasing the effective use of RE in buildings.

Pune-Maximum Solar City launch

Pune has been selected under the GoI’s Smart Cities Mission and one of the important areas of focus under this initiative is to substantially increase the use of solar power, especially Rooftop Solar PV (RTPV) within the city. To further accelerate the pace of solar deployment in the City, newly formed PSCDCL (P U N E Smart City Development Corporation Ltd.) launched the ‘Pune-Maximum Solar City’ initiative on 10th May 2016, as a first step towards facilitating Solar in Pune. PSCDCL in collaboration with city based national think tanks; PEG (Prayas Energy Group) and PIC (Pune International Centre) organised a citizens and media awareness programme. The event was attended by over 100 citizens and 30 rooftop solar developers from Pune.

Exploring options for the Indian coal sector-Roundtable organized by Prayas

The coal sector in India is about to undergo some significant changes. Prayas (Energy Group) organized a round-table discussion in New Delhi on December 1, 2014 on the possible future options for the Indian coal sector by bringing in various stakeholders such as representatives from the coal and power sectors, researchers on socio-environmental issues, trade union leaders and energy policy analysts. The event was attended by over 25 people and featured rich discussions on the various issues faced by the coal sector.

Making the Clean Available - New Framing of the Cooking Energy Access Problem

Prayas organized a lecture by Prof. Kirk R. Smith (University of California, Berkeley) on the issue of cooking energy access and related health impacts at Pune, India.

Prof. Smith reviewed the latest evidence on the health effects of cooking with solid fuels and discuss ideas for a new framing of this energy access problem to supplement past approaches to clean cooking by not only trying to make the "available (biomass) clean", but also doing much better to make the "clean (gas/electricity) available".  Both approaches can benefit greatly from the actions of community groups and NGOs, although in somewhat different roles. Advances in clean cooking fuels and an understanding of their full benefits make them more attractive than in the past.  There are some difficulties, such as cost, and policy options can be explored to overcome these.

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