Solar Energy Development Initiatives in India by Ishan Khokar (F’19)

by bgates
Oct 29

This past summer,as part of my Empower fellowship, I worked on a combination of energy policy advisory and energy project development initiatives. While the internship was focused more on understanding processes and developing operational and commercial frameworks for pipelineprojects, I was fortunate to be exposed to various initiatives taken by The World Bank Group in supporting the Government of India in developing flexible policy frameworks.

Apart from the various assignments such as (1) Developing the institutional mapping for Indian electricity sector, (2) Studying the co-relation of electricity consumed for irrigation vs the financial health of the State distribution utility and (3) Developing a comprehensive presentation on the ‘Open Access’ concept and practice in India, I was also exposed to thevarious initiatives taken to supportInternational Solar Alliance,a relatively young international organization developing their manpower, expertise, financial strength and outreach.

Having worked in the private power sector in India before Fletcher and having a bird’seye view of the growth experienced in the sector, I was keen to work for an organization with International impact and advanced practices for financing the development of infrastructure projects. In addition to the above, I witnessed thedevelopment of frameworks fora regional,electricity trade development engagement strategyfor South Asia, where near term opportunities for scaled up electricity market development exist. In general,as one ofthe least integrated regions in the world, South Asia lags behind other world regions that have established cross-border interconnections and regional power exchanges. Hence,there are significant potential economic benefits of cross-border electricity cooperation and trade in South Asia over the long term. Incorporating more renewables in the grid,especially solar energy projects,willattract greater funding than conventional energy projects.

Through this time spent learning about international energy policy, I have a better understanding of the global energy sector and how various financing instruments foster development of energy projects while keeping the goals of the Paris Accords in mind. I was also exposedto the safeguard and management practices used by multilateral development banks like The World Bank Group, the Asian Development Bank,and other international organizations, such as UNDP,etc. and their application of similar practices to drive development in developing and lesser developed countries.

I now have a clearer idea of the various development agendas in the global energy sector and the key factors affecting the progression of those agendas in eradicating poverty and helping economies togrow. I shall be connecting with more alumni and associates from multilateral organizations to keep myself current with upcoming projects in the energy sector through which I can continue working on the technology or policy side.