Challenges and policy implications of a low carbon pathway for Odisha

Recently, considerable research has been undertaken in India in policy circles to identify the pathway for achieving Net Zero Emission by the 2070s. However, as most of the studies focus on the overall national perspective, they do not take into account inter-State differences with respect to availability of the primary resources of land, mineral resources, capital, and labour, the production process, output, and socio-economic profiles. Thus, the policy choices drawn from the national model may not prove feasible at the State level due to economic or resource constraints faced by any particular State(s). Albeit, most the States have now drafted their individual climate action plans while a few of them have also devised their respective energy calculators. The climate action plans are qualitative in nature, focusing on the aspirations of the concerned States and do not explicitly explain the feasibility aspect of the same. The State energy calculators provide alternative energy pathways, taking into account the exogenous State growth pathways and do not incorporate the price impacts or socio-economic implications of the low-carbon pathways. In this context, this study attempts to understand feasible policy choices and financial implications for the transition towards a low-carbon pathway for a mineral-rich State like Odisha. It differs from similar studies by price, which we believe plays a crucial role in determining choices of the feasible technologies depending on the supply/demand situation. Coherent responses for transition energy systems can be built only by understanding the combined forces of behavioural realities, markets and prices, and technological innovation and infrastructure together.