Covid-19 Policy Note Series: Energy and Power
The Covid-19 pandemic has torn through the Indian economy and society. By early June 2021, over 28 million people were infected, with about 340000 deaths. At the peak of the national lockdown in the first quarter of FY 2020-21, the national GDP had contracted by 23.9%, with high unemployment rates and significant declines in wages, especially in the informal sector.
Covid-19 has strongly demonstrated the deep interlinkages between the economy, environment, and the society, and highlighted the importance of adopting development strategies that address these in an integrated manner. This series of WRI India expert notes outlines sector-specific recommendations through which the country can continue to develop its economy, while improving the environment and strengthening society.
The third note focuses on energy and the power sector. During the pandemic, electricity demand fell, consumption shifted away from commercial buildings towards residential ones, and discom finances were further affected. The increased adoption of digital education and greater need for healthcare services also demonstrated the importance of reliable and affordable electricity for all. This note offers recommendations – on rural access, capacity planning, and building demand – through which the energy sector can be further developed to benefit the economy, environment, and all sections of society.