IEA and NITI Aayog hold India launch of IEA Special Report on Sustainable Recovery

In collaboration with NITI Aayog, the International Energy Agency held the India launch of the Special Report on Sustainable Recovery from the IEA’s flagship World Energy Outlook series on 18 September.

To help countries rebuild better from the Covid-19 crisis, the report sets out a series of actions that can be taken over the next three years to revitalise economies and boost employment while making energy systems cleaner and more resilient.

The launch took place as an online webinar introduced by Dr Fatih Birol, the Executive Director of the IEA, and Shri Amitabh Kant, the CEO of NITI Aayog, in the presence of Shri Piyush Goyal, Minister of Railways and Minister of Commerce & Industry. The launch also included Ms Laura Cozzi, the IEA’s Chief Energy Modeller, who presented the key findings of the report, as well as Dr Krishnamurthy V. Subramanian, the Government of India’s Chief Economic Advisor. 

NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant welcomed and commended the work by the IEA, saying: "After the 2008-09 financial crisis, green measures accounted for around 16% of total stimulus measures. To recover from Covid-19-inflicted impact, we have to be even more ambitious and decisive towards clean investments. Given that need, the IEA’s Sustainable Recovery Plan has a very useful role in guiding governments, businesses, technologists and other key decision makers across the globe. NITI Aayog has been championing sustainable initiatives since its inception. SDG Index, Electric Mobility Mission, ACC Battery scheme and our leadership in methanol economy initiatives stand testament to NITI Aayog’s commitment to sustainable causes.”

Dr Fatih Birol, the IEA Executive Director, commented: “Even though Covid-19 has made 2020 such a grim year, I see increasing grounds for optimism for clean energy transitions globally. This is in part due to solar becoming even more competitive thanks to efforts of countries like India. Our Sustainable Recovery Plan shows governments how to tackle today’s major economic, energy and climate challenges simultaneously. The key opportunities for India include increasing support for electric vehicles, continued investment in the power sector, and improving energy access in rural areas through improvements to the clean cooking programme.”

Congratulating the IEA on the report, Minister of Railways and Commerce & Industry, Hon’ble Minister Piyush Goyal complimented the IEA and said that the report comes at a very crucial juncture when India and other countries are in the recovery phase from the Covid-19 crisis, and this is the right time to move forward and prepare for a resilient and sustainable future as highlighted in the IEA’s report. He noted that this crisis could be used as an opportunity for energy transitions to be smoother, faster, more resilient and more affordable. He also mentioned that Indian Railways is committed to and confident in achieving 100% electrification by December 2023 and becoming a net-zero emitter by 2030.

In his special address, the Chief Economic Advisor discussed India’s economic situation and recovery pathway. Dr K V Subramanian said: “The World Economic Forum pointed out that if we look at the number of countries whose GDP per capita is going to shrink this year, this will be the highest in the last 150 years. The last time this happened was in 1870 – this is indeed an unprecedented crisis and we are living through a once-in-a-one-and-a-half-century kind of event.” Based on the evidence that the recovery is clearly on, Dr Subramanian mentioned that the crisis has highlighted the role for economic development to happen in a sustained manner and India is in the forefront of this effort.

As governments around the world respond to Covid-19, the IEA’s report, which was prepared in cooperation with the International Monetary Fund, details which energy-focused policies and investments could help boost economic growth, create jobs and put emissions into structural decline while making energy systems more cost-effective, secure and resilient.

The report brings out key areas for creating jobs in the sectors like electricity, transportation, buildings, industry and sustainable biofuels and innovations. A combination of policy actions and targeted investments will offer huge benefits to the economy and lead to job creation. However, the measures highlighted in the report remain the sovereign choice of the country.