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Tamil Nadu's Energy Transition Journey: Lessons and Opportunities

India has committed to achieving net-zero emissions by 2070 and securing 50% cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel-based energy resources by 2030, as detailed in the updated Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) submitted in 2022. Tamil Nadu has been an early frontrunner in renewable energy (RE) initiatives, boasting an impressive installed capacity of approximately ~55% derived from renewable sources as of November 2023. This achievement reflects the state's proactive approach, evidenced by various policies and programs, including the Tamil Nadu Solar Policy 2019, Tamil Nadu Industrial Policy 2021, and Tamil Nadu EV Policy 2023. The state has also embraced initiatives prioritizing RE sources and the adoption of cutting-edge technologies such as green hydrogen, energy storage technologies, and offshore wind.

Beyond the commendable installed RE capacity, the contribution of renewable energy to the total energy output currently stands at ~21%. Tamil Nadu has set an ambitious goal of increasing renewable energy generation to 50% by 2030. This target aligns with the state's broader focus on fostering a sustainable energy transformation, as evidenced by its recent announcement to implement measures, including establishing 20 GW solar with 10 GW storage capacity and the introduction of Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO) regulations 2023 aligning with national targets.

Tamil Nadu holds a strategic advantage with an abundant solar insolation and wind potential, estimated at an impressive 141 GW. While the state has made commendable progress in integrating renewable energy into its grid, a recent surge in power demand, peaking at 19,387 MW on April 20, 2023, signals a critical juncture. This surge, driven by urbanization and industrialization, underscores the necessity for a comprehensive and strategic plan. It is imperative to simultaneously sustain economic progress and address the escalating energy demands. In this context, the workshop will serve as a crucial platform for experts to collaboratively formulate strategies, addressing the current surge and paving the way for Tamil Nadu's Clean energy transition.

WRI India is organizing this state-level event to facilitate a multi-stakeholder session that brings together government, private sector, researchers, civil society organizations, and energy sector experts. The workshop aims to reflect upon Tamil Nadu's energy transition, while gathering insights on potential opportunities to propel the state towards a sustainable energy future.

This event is part of a broader initiative - the Sustainable Energy Transformation – Tamil Nadu (SET-TN), which is a collaboration between Auroville Consulting, Citizen Consumer and Civic Action Group (CAG), and WRI India. SET aims to facilitate higher clean energy deployment in Tamil Nadu by working with stakeholders to find sustainable and equitable solutions.

WRI India will also launch and share two research reports — one sharing a revenue and tariff analysis of higher RE scenarios for Tamil Nadu’s electricity utility, and the second exploring the status of electricity markets in India, identifying barriers, and suggesting suitable market mechanisms from international best practices to support clean energy transition at the state level.

Special Address – Session 1: Reflections on Tamil Nadu’s Journey in Energy Transition

Vikram Kapur, IAS, Additional Chief Secretary, Government of Tamil Nadu, Director, Anna Administrative Staff College and Director General of Training

Panel Session 1: Reflections on Tamil Nadu’s Journey in Energy Transition

  • P. Muthusamy, Former Director, Engineering, Tamil Nadu Electricity Regulatory Commission (TNERC)
  • Sankara Narayanan, Former General Manager, Tamil Nadu Energy Development Agency (TEDA)
  • Rahul Balaji, Advocate, Madras High Court
  • Venkatachalam, Advisor, MCCi Sustainable Chennai Forum
  • Toine Van Megen, Co-Founder, Auroville Consulting
  • Rajeswari, Chief Financial Controller, Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Company (TANGEDCO)
  • Sandhya Sundararagavan, Lead - Energy Transitions, Energy Program

Session 2: Charting Tamil Nadu's Roadmap to a Sustainable Energy Future

  • Sudha Ramen, I.F.S, Member Secretary, State Planning Commission
  • G. Sundarrajan, Poovulagin Nanbargal
  • Prof. Kurian Joseph, Director, Centre for Climate Change and Disaster Management (CCCDM), Anna University
  • Aarti Khosla, Director, Climate Trends
  • Martin Scherfler, Co-Founder, Auroville Consulting
  • Deepak Sriram Krishnan, Energy Program
  • Umesh Ramamoorthi, Senior Research Associate


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