Senator Robert Byrd and the Possible Futures of Coal in India

Date
Mar 6, 2023, 12:15 pm1:15 pm
Location

Speaker

Sponsors
  • Center for Policy Research on Energy and the Environment
  • High Meadows Environmental Institute
  • Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment
Audience
In-person attendance for Princeton University ID holders and invited guests; Livestream open to the public on MediaCentral.
Event Description

India is in the middle of a historic energy transition. A big part of this is the expected reduction of coal in India's energy mix. Drawing on the economic and political history of the Indian coal industry over the last half century this talk will discuss some of the emerging trends in the industry, and discuss the possible futures of coal in India. While global climate change may be driving the macro narrative around India's energy transition, domestic political and economic considerations will have a much greater bearing on India's coal future for the foreseeable future. The nature of Indian state capitalism, the federalism of power and finance, alternative economic futures for the Indian coal belt and energy security are likely to be strong drivers of India's coal future in the medium term. Invoking the legacy of the late Senator Robert Byrd from West Virginia, this talk will discuss broader ideas of how compensatory policies like the recent JETP proposals may or may not play a role in accelerating coal transitions in India.

Speaker bio: Rohit Chandra is an Assistant Professor at the School of Public Policy at IIT-Delhi. He is a political scientist and economic historian working primarily on energy, infrastructure and state capitalism in India. His recent work has covered the coal and power industries. Over the last decade, he has worked in the policy space on coal sector reforms, the politics of state discoms (particularly in Jharkhand), and public finance decisions behind large infrastructure projects. His PhD covered the evolution of India's coal industry from 1960-present, considering financial, political and technical aspects of the evolution. He is currently a Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Policy Research. In addition to energy policy, he has recently started looking at the political economy of finance and banking in India, and is currently starting multiple projects in this direction. Of particular interest are infrastructure finance, the future of Indian PSUs, and how to enable a just transition as India's energy system undergoes historic changes.