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Less Smoke, More Mirrors: Where India Really Stands on Solar Power and Other Renewables

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  • David Wheeler
  • Saurabh Shome

Abstract

Until recently, India’s intransigent negotiating posture has conveyed the impression that it will not accept any carbon emissions limits without full compensation and more stringent carbon limitation from rich countries. However, our assessment of India’s proposed renewable energy standard (RES) indicates that this impression is simply wrong. India is seriously considering a goal of 15 percent renewable energy in its power mix by 2020, despite the absence of any meaningful international pressure to cut emissions, no guarantees of compensatory financing, and a continuing American failure to adopt stringent emissions limits. If India moves ahead with this plan, it will promote a massive shift of new power capacity toward renewables within a decade. The estimated cost of this change from coal-fired to renewable power to be about $50 billion—an enormous sum for a society that must still cope with widespread extreme poverty. If India moves ahead with its current plan, it should give serious pause to those who have resisted U.S. carbon regulation on the grounds on that it will confer a cost advantage on “intransigent†countries such as India.

Suggested Citation

  • David Wheeler & Saurabh Shome, 2010. "Less Smoke, More Mirrors: Where India Really Stands on Solar Power and Other Renewables," Working Papers id:2492, eSocialSciences.
  • Handle: RePEc:ess:wpaper:id:2492
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Pillai, Indu R. & Banerjee, Rangan, 2009. "Renewable energy in India: Status and potential," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 34(8), pages 970-980.
    2. Kevin Ummel & David Wheeler, 2008. "Desert Power: The Economics of Solar Thermal Electricity for Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East," Working Papers 156, Center for Global Development.
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    Keywords

    India; American; climate change; carbon emissions; poverty; US; regulation;

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