CSIS Releases Landmark Report on State-Level Barriers to Meeting India’s Ambitious Climate Goals

WASHINGTON, DC – APRIL 19, 2023 – The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Chair in U.S.-India Policy Studies today released a landmark report with actionable policy recommendations to help India meet its goal of installing 450 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy by 2030.

The report, Accelerate: 175—A Plan for Targeted Renewable Energy Cooperation with Key Indian States, offers one of the most comprehensive examinations to date of the unique state-level challenges facing Indian policymakers as they work to realize the country’s climate objectives.

As the now most populous nation in the world and one of the globe’s largest economies, India’s growing renewable energy generation capacity will be critical to supporting global efforts to combat climate change. The Indian government undertook several initiatives towards achieving a goal of installing 175 GW of renewable energy generation by the end of 2022. While the country fell short of its original target by 30 percent—or 54 GW—India installed an impressive 119.6 GW of wind and solar energy by the end of 2022.  

In 2019, the government renewed its target, now aiming to achieve installation of 450 GW of renewable energy generation by 2030. To meet the government’s target, India’s states will need to address systemic, evolving challenges.

This report finds that approximately three-quarters of the shortfall in India’s 2022 renewable energy generation target can be traced back to six states—Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal. The authors conducted in-depth qualitative interviews with state-level energy officials from these states to understand unique challenges faced by each state and to explore potential partnership areas from which the states can benefit. The authors identified several challenges, including slow-moving distributed renewable energy, poor financial health of distribution companies (discoms), limited infrastructure, and lack of technical expertise. The authors also looked at two states that exceeded their original renewable energy generation targets—Gujarat and Rajasthan—to analyze their success and understand their unique challenges.

The financial health of discoms was identified as the largest problem, with seven states reporting this as a barrier. This was closely followed by adoption of net metering, which was reported as a challenge by six states; and by power purchase contract negotiations and power grid flexibility, which were each reported as a barrier by five states.

Through extensive research and analysis, Accelerate: 175 offers a blueprint for stakeholders, including state-level governments, foundations, and technical partners, to clearly identify existing challenges and enable partnerships that can accelerate India’s renewable energy generation capacity. The report’s proposed solutions include standardizing power purchase agreements to address the weak finances of discoms; enhancing demand/response regulations and implementing state-level battery storage systems to address grid flexibility; implementing innovative rooftop solar models to improve net metering; and leveraging technology to ease contract negotiations. 

Accelerate 175 is co-authored by CSIS India Chair Richard Rossow and Deputy Director Neelima Jain. Ground-level survey work was conducted by the Mumbai-based MP Ensystems, led by Dr. Mahesh Patankar, who also serves as an adjunct fellow (non-resident) with CSIS.

Read the full report here: csis.org/analysis/accelerate-175.

The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) is a bipartisan, nonprofit policy research organization dedicated to advancing practical ideas to address the world’s greatest challenges.

Neelima Jain
Deputy Director and Senior Fellow, Chair in U.S.-India Policy Studies