Mr Gopal Krishna Sarangi is a doctoral student at TERI University, India. His research focus is on the environmental issues in electricity industry in India. At FFU, he is participating in ‘Indo-German Climate Change Dialogue’ working on the project “Regulatory response to climate change: a comparative analysis of the role of electricity regulators in India and European Union (EU)”.
Encouraging energy efficiency and developing renewable/cleaner source of energy are hailed as thrust areas where effective regulatory measures can make a difference. These measures are more pronounced in a context where climate change threats are perceived to be more imminent and require immediate actions. Being the largest contributor to the green house gas emissions and simultaneously having the tremendous emission reduction potential, electricity sector is considered as a key leverage sector to deal with the climate change menace. Definitive regulatory frameworks mainstreaming renewable energy sources coupled with both effective supply side and demand side energy efficient interventions are vital to chart the future trajectory of sustainable development and contribute positively to the climate change menace. The pathways of implementation of such climate change measures and climate policy instruments involve an array of changes in the power sector starting from the formulation of policies and regulations till the implementation level having favorable impact on climate. But the problem here is basically to choose a set of measures and instruments, technically feasible and financially viable in a particular country context. While the need is to institute mechanisms fitting into the locale conditions, the challenge is to bring a singular approach to this plurality nature of the measures and instruments. Electricity regulators are armed with various legal and regulatory weapons to contribute effectively in a great deal in meeting the broader national goals of climate change. While it is true that these regulators operate within the framework of central rules and policy directions, but most of the operational aspects of implementing various rules and regulations and introducing tools and instruments depend on the regulators at sub-national levels. Of late, efforts are being pooled to resolve some of the plurality issues in the regulatory operations through a central agency known as forum of regulators (FOR), still lot of discrepancies exist in the modes of regulation and use of different mechanisms across states. Regulatory functional domains of electricity regulators in promulgating appropriate regulations for procuring energy from renewable sources as well as devising ways of dispatching, pricing of renewable energy and bringing necessary mechanisms and tools for efficient use of the energy differ across regions. Setting this as a context, the current project proposes to investigate the role played by the state electricity regulatory commissions (SERCs) in India in meeting the overarching goals of climate change and to examine how the mechanisms employed by regulators to meet these goals differ across states. The project also makes attempts to explore the similar pattern, if any, exists in European Union (EU) and what India can learn best from such a pattern.