The India Energy Hour podcast features in-depth conversations with leading energy, development and climate experts from academia, civil society, and the government. Through these interviews, we explore Indian energy transitions’ most pressing hurdles and promising opportunities. We look at the role that government, financial markets, social movements, and science plays in transition. Over time, we will examine energy issues in other Global South countries as well. The podcast is co-hosted by Shreya Jai, a leading energy and climate change reporter, and Sandeep Pai, an energy transitions researcher, and author. The show is produced by Tejas Dayananda Sagar, a multimedia journalist with 101Reporters.
Episode 19 - Climate Resilience: Role of Water-Energy-Food Nexus
In the history of the global climate change conferences, it was in the recent COP26 that for the first time there was a separate Water pavilion. Water economy management has faced negligence on the climate discussion table till yet but it is time that water is given the centerstage. Water forms the key bridge in the energy-food supply chain. Water resource management will be crucial to the energy transition planning of India – where till two years back, there was no separate department to focus on water scarcity.
In this episode, we are joined by Dr Aditi Mukherji, principal researcher, International Water Management Institute. We will discuss the water-energy-food nexus, how clean energy and water conservation go hand in hand and the role water will play in climate adaptation. Dr Mukherji has close to two decades of experience working in the water resource management space. She is considered an authority on groundwater governance, energy-irrigation nexus and community management of water resources.
1. Profile of Aditi - https://www.iwmi.cgiar.org/about/staff-list/aditi-mukherji/
2. Solar irrigation for agriculture resilience – ongoing project by IWMI https://www.iwmi.cgiar.org/about/staff-list/aditi-mukherji/show-projects?C=1084
3. Role of groundwater in agrarian change in West Bengal and Bangladesh: A comparative analysis - https://www.iwmi.cgiar.org/what-we-do/projects/show-projects/?C=1143
Episode 18 - COP26: Key highlights & implications
CoP26 concluded on November 13 with the Glasgow Climate Pact, signed by leaders from nearly 200 countries. The pact aims to limit global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Throughout the two weeks of the conference there were numerous pledges and declarations. Many experts have hailed the Glasgow Climate Pact and the various climate pledges as a success, while others are not satisfied with these agreements.
To understand the nuances of what unfolded at CoP26, Sandeep interviewed Dr. Simon Evans, Deputy Editor of Carbon Brief, a UK-based website specializing in the science and policy of climate change. Simon is a leading climate and energy journalist who reported extensively on CoP26.
Episode 17 - COP26: Negotiations, Targets and Realities (Part-II)
COP26, the world’s biggest climate change conference, is now only a week away.
After traversing through the history and functioning of climate negotiations in the first part of our COP special series, in this second part, we delve into key negotiation points at COP26, India’s role in the current negotiations, and what could be the bottlenecks and common grounds between developed and developing world.
For this episode, we interviewed RR Rashmi, Distinguished Fellow and Programme Director, Earth Science and Climate Change at The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI).
Mr. Rashmi was India’s former principal negotiator for climate change negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
0:00 - Podcast intro
1:20 - About RR Rashmi and his professional journey
11:52: How has India’s climate negotiation powers changed on the global stage?
28:09: Key issues that policymakers around the world are going to discuss and what will be India’s position?
38:36 - Will India benefit from climate finance? Is there a need to declare Net Zero
46:35: Are we not committing to phase out coal because we lack the data of how much would be our energy demand?
50:21: India's own plan to reduce coal usage keeps changing. Can we take aggressive steps on coal and gas like the USA and UK?
53:09: What would be the bare minimum that needs to happen to make this COP a success and the maximum? And ideal outcome for a country like India?
59:42 - Podcast outro
Episode 16 - COP26: Negotiations, Targets and Realities (Part-I)
COP26, which is the world’s biggest climate change conference, is only two weeks away. Policymakers from over 200 countries will gather at Glasgow to discuss how to move forward with a more ambitious climate agenda. We at the India Energy Hour are really excited to publish two episodes focusing on COP26. We have interviewed two eminent guests who know the ins and outs of COP meetings. This is the first of two episodes.
As we look ahead to COP26, we need to look back at the past climate conferences to understand how climate negotiations work, how they have changed over the years and how India's position evolved over time. The upcoming climate conference or COP26 in Glasgow, could turn out to be like nothing before or just as same as earlier COPs. There are expectations that developing countries will take center stage and seek more climate finance. India has made its stance stronger around its ambitious green energy plans along with fossil fuel growth, while it asks the developed world to fund its climate action.
In the first of two special episodes on COP26, we interviewed senior journalist Nitin Sethi who has attended and closely followed climate negotiations and COP conferences for close to two decades. Nitin is a member of reporters collective and a partner at Land Conflict Watch.
Special Episode - Digging into the Coal Crisis: What, How & Why?
As India goes into the festive season with a rebound in the economy post Covid second wave, the country is facing a power crisis with over 80% of thermal power plants in the country facing a coal shortage. Many states have warned their customers of power shortage and there is considerable panic anticipating these power cuts. But how did the crisis start, who is responsible for it but more importantly, how should the countries’ planners resolve the issue and avoid a repeat?
To understand these issues, we are publishing a special episode exclusively focusing on the power and coal crisis in India. In this episode, Sandeep is interviewing Anupam Chatterjee, energy journalist at Financial Express newspaper along with India Energy Hour co-host Shreya Jai, energy journalist with Business Standard. Both Anupam and Shreya have been reporting on this power and coal crisis, and are considered experienced writers on the subject/energy sector.
Episode 15 - Financing India’s Green Leap
There is a sudden upsurge of green sector financing in the world - from direct climate financing, ESG goals, to green bonds. India, one of the fastest growing energy markets with ambitious renewable energy plans is looking at these modes to fuel its green targets. How successful though we have been? And as the country and key investors in the green energy space look outward, does India have a robust domestic financing model or agencies to support its green dreams?
In this episode, we interviewed Kanika Chawla to understand how climate and green energy financing works. We also explored whether the latest green financing trends are sustainable. Kanika is the program manager for the United Nations Inter-agency Mechanism on Energy where she is working on Sustainable energy for all. She has earlier worked with Centre for Energy Environment & Water in India.
0:00 - Podcast intro
1:22 - Intro of guest
2:17 - Kanika’s journey, key projects by her
9:54 - Challenge or Reward of being a woman professional in a male-dominated energy sector
13:59 - Prevalent financing models in the clean energy sector
22:28 - Financing options for a renewable company who wants to start projects in India
27:56 - Has financing fallen behind the growth of solar and wind in India?
33:11 - Is renewable manufacturing the stepson of financing?
37:43 - Lack and need of proper financing ecosystem for the renewable sector in India
44:04 - Financing support to state owned power distribution companies
51:17 - Are ESG (Environment, Social and Governance) funds a fad or are sustainable?
56:41 - Role and importance of this COP26 in accelerating green energy transition
01:05:43 - Podcast outro
Fills much needed gaps
Despite the proliferation of energy podcasts, there is a need to go deep in certain countries, especially in the global south and absolutely for a country as important to the energy transition as India. Western audiences might need to stick India-specific phrases and context. I’d strongly recommend that energy aficionados stick with it. The hosts are pros in this space.