News: Ivan Allen Researchers to Collaborate on Energy Project in India
Posted June 28, 2018
By Michael Pearson
Two Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts researchers are working to understand more about consumer demand and attitudes towards innovations in the power industry in India as the South Asian nation strives to increase green power production for its nearly 1.3 billion residents.
Usha Nair-Reichert from the School of Economics and Anjali Thomas Bohlken from the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs, both at the Georgia Institute of Technology, will study behavioral and societal factors influencing consumer responsiveness to energy-sector initiatives, attitudes about paying for electricity, and strategies such as time-of-day pricing, and perceptions about renewable energy and related technologies.
In future work, they hope to explore collaborations with the government in the Indian state of Maharashtra, a leader in clean-energy efforts, as well as industry and community groups in India to generate further policy-relevant insights on the dynamics of energy adoption and expansion in India, said Bohlken, an assistant professor who focuses on the political economy of development.
“We see our research as falling into two broad phases,” she said. “We are in the initial stage of the first phase, which includes a survey of electricity consumers in Mumbai. The second phase would build on the insights from this survey and focus on both the supply and demand side dynamics of the energy sector in India, including renewable energy adoption and expansion. During this second phase, we are seeking to partner with the Maharashtra government as well as with industry and community groups in India.”
The work is part of the professors’ larger research agenda to understand the energy transition taking place in India.
The Indian government has set a goal of producing 175 Gigawatts of electricity from renewable sources by 2022, and Maharashtra — the state where Nair-Reichert and Bohlken will focus their efforts — is considered one of the leaders in the country’s effort to ramp up power production from renewable sources.
“This systematic research into the consumer side of energy demand will yield valuable insights about optimal demand management techniques, and strategies to enhance efficiency, innovation and technology adoption in this sector,” said Nair-Reichert, an associate professor who studies a broad range of issues involving innovation, sustainability and environmental regulation, and economic development.
The study is being conducted in collaboration with the Center for Strategic and International Studies as part of that organization’s U.S.-India State and Urban Initiative.
The project, including the Georgia Tech component, has attracted significant attention in the Indian and Indian-American press, including articles in The Hindu, Business Standard, Free Press Journal, India America Today, The Asian Age, and Deccan Chronicle.
The project is funded by the Strategic Energy Institute at Georgia Tech.
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