M.V. Ramana, a physicist at Princeton University who has studied energy access in India, questioned the ethics of foisting an expensive solution on the poor, who’ve historically contributed so little to global warming.
“I strongly encourage [microgrids] for urban, upper classes of people who can afford it,” he said. “But [I would] not do it on the backs of people who are poor and who can’t afford these experiments.”
Christopher Field, director of the Carnegie Institution for Science’s Department of Global Ecology and an active participant in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said that rich nations have a moral responsibility to make renewables more affordable in the developing world.
Until that happens, coal plants will continue being built in India in the near future, Field said in an interview in August.
“Right now, if I were Prime Minister Modi, I’d be saying, ‘Gee, I can deliver coal-based electricity way cheaper than I can deliver renewables,” he said.