On September 20, the Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center and the Sierra Club, hosted a panel discussion on “India’s Energy Future: Consequences of India’s Coal Rush and Alternative Energy Scenarios”.

India’s economic growth has significantly increased its demands for energy. The country now sits at an important crossroad where it must decide how best to address its energy needs. Coal has traditionally been seen as the best method to ensure continued economic development and deliver energy to the Indian population. India now has new coal-fired power plants in the pipeline that are equivalent to six times its current installed capacity. However, this dependence has created a number of consequences ranging from energy security threats to adverse social and environmental impacts, especially for marginalized communities. As India works to scale up clean energy systems, it must now weigh the positive and negative impacts of coal against these emerging clean energy options to determine how best to meet the country’s long-term energy demands.

The panelists discussed India’s reliance on coal, rural electrification needs, the costs and benefits of an aggressive coal power expansion, and the possibilities for driving India’s low carbon growth path.


Sarah Alexander
Manager, Innovation Department

Soumya Dutta
National Convener
India People’s Science Forum, New Delhi

Ron Somers
US-India Business Council

Introduced by

Shikha Bhatnagar
Associate Director, South Asia Center
Atlantic Council

Moderated by

Steve Kretzman
Oil Change International

This event was generously co-hosted by the Sierra Club and co-sponsored by the Bank Information Center and Vasudha Foundation.