|Title||Technology, Energy and Pollution in India|
|Collaborators||V.S. Arunachalam (CMU), Rahul Tongia (CMU), Milind Kandlikar (CMU), Anand Patwardhan (IIT-Bombay)|
|Keywords||India, technology, energy, pollution|
The harnessing of technology for public welfare has been a central theme of India's Nehruvian development model for the majority of the past fifty years. In more recent times, as economic growth has emerged as the (perceived) primary determinant of success -- a result of liberalization of the economy forced by international pressures -- the locus of technology push has shifted from public to the private sector. Now it is assumed by many that the market will bring in technology (& capital) to propel India's long term development.
The recent economic growth, however, is coming up against technological and infrastructural difficulties. There are fears that the growth might come unstuck as India teeters the brink of an energy crisis (some say famine) of unprecedented proportions. Many analysts believe that current levels of economic growth (~7%) cannot be sustained unless the increasing demand for energy that such growth places can be met. While the most commonly quoted numbers for excess demand are 10% (mean) to 30% (peak), nobody is sure what the numbers really are. In the coming years, India is looking to make heavy investments in energy generation technologies.
For the past few years Arunachalam and others at CMU have been involved in several different projects analyzing issues related to India's energy supply options. These activities are not explicitly a part of CMU-HDGC, but several of them involve center personnel. Tongia and Arunachalam have performed a technical assessment of India's fast breeder reactors and call into question the apparent ability of India's nuclear program in meeting long term energy needs. Banerjee (IIT Bombay) and Tongia have performed an analysis of pricing policy for power and found that existing guidelines allow Independent Power Producers (IPPs) to reap rates of return that are far higher than the nominal (16%).
At a broader level, Arunachalam, Morgan and others have embarked on a three year project for the comprehensive assessment of India's energy options, which will involve panels of experts from India and the US, supported by analysts from CMU and other collaborating institutions. This work on India's energy options and interlocking security concerns is a timely effort to address one crucial set of development goals.