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rapid switch: india

Rapid Switch India is pursuing a cross-disciplinary exploration of barriers and bottlenecks that stand in the way of decarbonization efforts in India involving engineering, economics, political science and other applied social and behavioral science. This effort aims to expand and deepen understanding of viable decarbonization pathways in India, focusing on the distinctive challenges that India faces as it pursues rapid economic development.

India projects

Social norms in energy and environmental decision-making in India

Given expectations of economic growth and prosperity in India, how might social norms around energy use and environmental decisions change?

Establishing plausible scenarios for mid-century energy demands in India

Given projections for economic growth and improved living standards, how will energy demand evolve in India’s industrial, commercial, transport and residential sectors?

Incentivizing distributed solar deployment in India

What technological, political, social, and economic factors inhibit or enable the deployment of distributed solar photovoltaics (PV) in India?

The political economy of coal in India

The coal industry plays an important economic role in India, providing 75% of the country’s electricity and contributing the majority of the revenue of the national railway company. What are the societal and economic implications of a potential transition away from coal in India?

Regional Challenges

POPULATION – India is projected to become the world’s most populous nation; it is also projected to eliminate poverty and grow its economy to the size of China’s by mid-century. Yet, in these very same models, India is projected to have world’s lowest energy intensity. How do we reconcile these differences? What bottlenecks might prevent India from keeping up with the projected pace of economic development and decarbonization?

ENERGY – India is projected to have the world’s highest fraction of variable renewable energy by mid-century and rely much more heavily on solar than wind relative to all other nations. What are the technical, infrastructure, and socio-economic barriers to realizing this projection? What are alternative pathways to decarbonization for India?

ECONOMY – China is projected to be the world’s largest economy by 2050, with economic growth remaining a priority as it strives to continue to increase its GDP per capita. What bottlenecks might prevent China from achieving its economic development and decarbonization agendas?

COAL – What role does China’s coal sector play in the low-carbon transition over time? What socio-economic consequences, including stranded assets, might emerge from any transition away from coal?