How Can India’s Energy Sector Recover Sustainably from COVID-19?

The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) and the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW) published the second part of a commentary series about the recovery of India’s energy sector. The series takes a detailed look at how India’s energy sector is coping with the impacts of COVID-19 and what this means for the country’s clean energy transition. The commentaries analyze three key themes:

  • Part 1 – Financial Sustainability: Bailing out India’s electricity sector
  • Part 2 – Environmental Sustainability: Tracking COVID-19 support for fossil fuels and renewables in India
  • Part 3 – Social sustainability: Energy affordability and pricing reform in India.

The second piece, published on August 19, 2020, takes a closer look at India’s stimulus packages. Based on the work by, the authors find that major parts of the support went to fossil fuels, while measures fostering clean energy remained behind. The commentary then suggests four policy measures to support the clean energy sector:

  • “A clearer strategy on manufacturing,” including a comprehensive green industrial policy on manufacturing.
  • “Avoiding mixed signals”: The government should avoid signalling policy support to non-viable coal investments in order to send a clear signal to investors.
  • “Innovation”: The authors suggest boosting innovative financial instruments like green bonds to attract investors.
  • “Supporting investments to enable variable renewable energy demand”: According to the commentary, existing measures on improving energy transmission and developing battery storage should be complemented with efforts to foster the flexibility of coal and hydropower.