Sixteenth Darbari Seth Memorial Lecture 2017

Sixteenth Darbari Seth Memorial Lecture 2017

New Delhi, August 17, 2017: "Coal and renewables must be the joint focus of policy; they must be jointly decided not separately," said Dr Arvind Subramanian, Chief Economic Adviser to Government of India.

Dr Arvind delivered the Sixteenth Darbari Seth Memorial Lecture on 17 August 2017 on the topic 'Renewables versus Fossil Fuels: An Indian reassessment of electricity generation'. He went on to examine the social costs of thermal and renewable sources of energy and evaluated that India needs coal in the short-medium term - renewables are part of the energy answer but they also come with hidden costs which must not be overlooked in the "headlong embrace of renewables".

Furthermore, he emphasised that discussions around renewables and coal must take account of India's regional, development realities. "Coal is located predominantly in the poor, eastern hinterland of India, while the potential of renewables is, with the exception of Rajasthan, in the richer, peninsular parts of India. Coal is both the source of livelihoods for millions and the locus of many communities as well as an important source of fiscal revenues for many states. The rise of renewables poses both a threat to those livelihoods and communities but it may also afford an opportunity to escape from the attendant pathologies," he said.

Cautioning against the "carbon imperialism" of advanced countries which risks biasing India's judgments about energy, he enunciated that India should not allow this narrative to come in the way of rational, realistic planning for the future.

Mr Ashok Chawla, Chairman, TERI, made the opening remark and highlighted the huge variation in per capita energy consumption between the developed world and the developing countries.

Mr Suresh Prabhu, Hon'ble Minister of Railways delivered the presidential address and pointed out that energy storage will change the entire dynamics of renewable energy.

Dr Ajay Mathur, Director-General, TERI, in his welcome address said that the new and future investment in power sector is largely to be in renewables.

The Darbari Seth Memorial Lecture which marks the foundation day of TERI, was held at The Stein Auditorium, India Habitat Centre, New Delhi. The audience at the function was an impressive mix of dignitaries, NGOs, academicians, scientists and researchers, all remembering the great visionary - Mr Darbari Seth. In the past, the lecture has been delivered by great entrepreneurs and scientific luminaries, including Dr Abdul Kalam, Mr N R Narayanamurthy, and Mr K Kasturirangan among other notable personages.

Presentation and Lecture Documents

"Renewables may be the Future, but are they the Present? Coal, Energy and Development of India" - The Sixteenth Darbari Seth Memorial Lecture by Dr Arvind Subramanian, Chief Economic Advisor, Ministry of Finance

Press Release

Rapid growth in demand, technological progress will help minimize tensions between coal and renewables: Arvind Subramanian at TERI foundation day lecture.

17 August 2017