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  • HSBC bank and ACPET discuss financing India’s just energy transition

    Published on February 21, 2024

     New Delhi : Ashoka Centre for People-centric Energy Transition (ACPET) and HSBC bank jointly organised a conference to deliberate upon India’s renewable energy policy, focusing on a ‘just transition,’ at the India Habitat Centre, New Delhi. The conference brought together leading organisations and experts in the field.

    The conference also focused on ideating ways to contribute to ‘Energy Transition Financing’, an HSBC funded project run by ACPET. The project is understanding financing issues, service challenges, and solutions of the clean energy transition at the rural household level in India, particularly GRID-based DISCOMS (at least 10 MW), to co-design solutions. It is focusing on studying 12 laggard and aspiring districts in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand.

    Some of the major issues discussed included – making energy transition sensitive to equity considerations; solving distribution problem across users from different socio-economic and geographic positions through domestic financing; and raising funds through green bonds, impact investing and crowd funding.

    ACPET was launched in March 2023 by Ashoka University with a vision to become a knowledge institution in support of economic growth, energy security and net-zero targets of India and the Global South.

    Delivering the keynote address, Dr Anil Kumar Jain, former IAS officer and the Chairperson of Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board, said, “When there is such a large overarching transition underway, the tendency is to go for the hyperbole. There can be all kinds of estimates that can be put forward in terms of financing and the ways to go about it but we have to look at the ground and stay firmly planted there. One has to engage with the context and whether on the demand or the supply side, come up with solutions that speak to that reality. I think the centre and its researchers are doing some insightful work in this regard and we hope to build that further”.

    Dr Jain has led multiple initiatives in the space of energy transition under various ministries and policy teams in the Government of India, such as stints as the Secretary in the Ministry of Coal and Ministry of Mines where he led reforms in sustainable mining and market development.

    Speaking on the importance of such deliberations, Ashok Kumar, Director, Transform Rural India Foundation (TRIF), states, “It was great for all these diverse voices from the sector to come together under one roof, whether it be demand, supply, policy or finance- it was great to interact and learn from each one of them. For example, some participants view energy as a commodity while others look at it as a development outcome so the interaction between these different lenses was interesting and wherever we are, we ultimately cannot ignore the perspective of the end-user.”

    Explaining the vision, Vaibhav Chaudhary, Director-in-Charge of ACPET, stated, “ACPET has the vision to be a world-class knowledge institution in support of sustainable economic growth, energy security, and net zero ambitions of India and the Global South. We aspire to bring people-centric focus into our work and financing energy transition could be a key driver.”

    The conference witnessed participation from Tata Power, TERI, CEEW, NTPC School of Business, Tata Power Delhi Distribution Limited, University of Delhi, WRI, HCL Foundation, UN WOMEN, Pradan, Mlinda Charitable Trust(MCT), Sambodhi, Institute for Energy Economics & Financial Analysis (IEEFA), Transform Rural India Foundation (TRIF), among others.

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