Labor Impacts of Clean Energy Transitions in India

Authors: Anjali Sharma*, University of Maryland, College Park
Topics: Energy, Economic Geography, Human-Environment Geography
Keywords: energy transitions, labor, climate change, just transitions
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/3/2019
Start / End Time: 12:40 PM / 2:20 PM
Room: Directors Room, Omni, West
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

This paper analyzes the impact of renewable energy deployment on employment generation in India. Though considered a fast-growing economy, India still lags behind on multiple development indicators such as poverty eradication, and employment generation. The inevitability of climate action means that India needs to rapidly transition to a low-carbon economy while working towards its development goals. In this paper, I specifically look at the challenge of employment generation. The Indian government has announced ambitious plans for renewable energy deployment in the country– notably the addition of 175 GW of renewable capacity by 2022. Data on current levels of employment in renewable energy sector remains scarce and scattered. I review the current and future projections of employment in renewable energy sector using secondary sources of data such as government & international agency reports, and industry surveys. My findings suggest that the estimated job gains are modest and there is a huge variation in numbers presented in different studies. Moreover, it is important to highlight how the clean energy transition will shift the location of resource extraction and energy production in the country. Currently, India’s power grid is heavily dependent on coal which is located in the eastern part of the country. However, majority of the solar and wind plans are coming up in the southern and western part of the country. This implies that though new jobs will be created in the southern & western India, there will be large scale job loss in coal-mining in eastern India.

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