On October 19, 2018, the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy at the University of Pennsylvania School of Design will award its fourth annual Carnot Prize to the Honorable Piyush Goyal, India’s former minister of power and renewables and current minister of railways and coal. During his tenure, Goyal directed a fast-track effort to electrify 18,000 villages in remote parts of India—helping bridge the country’s vast energy divide.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) reports that in the year 2000, less than half of India’s population had access to electricity. Now, more than 80 percent of the population has access to electricity. If this pace continues, India will have universal electrification by 2020, “one of the largest successes in the history of electrification.”
“Minister Goyal’s efforts demonstrate what it takes to create a just energy transition—courage amidst complexity,” said Mark Alan Hughes, founding faculty director of the Kleinman Center. “Providing power to the world’s energy poor turns on the lights—and also empowers education, sanitation, and health care. It closes the gap between the haves and have nots.”
Goyal has also been instrumental in reforming India’s power markets and expanding renewable energy, in an effort to meet the country’s Paris Agreement targets. While India has relied heavily on coal to power up the country—like China in recent years and the United States decades ago—India’s coal expansion appears to have peaked and the permanent transition to cleaner energy is underway.
Goyal has successfully retired outdated coal plants while launching an ambitious renewable energy expansion program. Although India is the world’s fourth top CO2 emitter, the country is currently at 20% renewables and is on solid footing to reach a 40% renewable mix by 2030.
“We applaud the Honorable Minister Goyal for his courageous work in crafting policy capable of meeting the biggest challenges in energy,” said Frederick Steiner, Dean and Paley Professor at PennDesign.
Speaking from his ministerial offices in New Delhi, Goyal said, “It is both a personal honor as well as a tribute to the efforts of all involved in this great work throughout India to be recognized with the Carnot Prize by the University of Pennsylvania.”
The award ceremony will kick off with a lecture in honor of the recipient by a Penn faculty member. Following the lecture, Goyal will receive this year’s Carnot Prize. While at Penn, Goyal will also have a recorded podcast conversation with Energy Policy Now host Andy Stone, meet with Penn students with interests in energy and India, and be a featured guest on the radio talk show Knowledge@Wharton
ABOUT THE CARNOT PRIZE: The Carnot Prize is named in memory of French scientist Sadi Carnot, who in 1824 published Reflections on the Motive Power of Fire, which is recognized as the first statement of what is now known as the second law of thermodynamics. Carnot recognized that the power of the steam engine would produce a great revolution in human development. The Carnot Prize is intended to honor those leading revolutions in energy policy to further progress and prosperity.