Professor Subhes C Bhattacharyya

Job: Professor of Energy Economics and Policy

Faculty: Technology

School/department: School of Engineering and Sustainable Development

Research group(s): Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development (IESD)

Address: De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester, LE1 9BH UK

T: +44 (0)116 257 7975

E: subhesb@dmu.ac.uk

W: www.iesd.dmu.ac.uk/

 

Personal profile

An internationally renowned specialist of energy for international development with more than 30 years of experience in  global energy-environment issues, Professor Subhes specialises in energy, regulatory and environmental studies with a focus on developing country energy systems. He has extensively investigated energy access issues in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa since 2002 and has led award-winning research in this area through funded projects. He has also extensively worked on energy sector management issues such as energy sector regulation and restructuring in developing countries, and policy issues related to  energy security, climate change, natural resource utilisation and sustainable development. Subhes mainly focuses on applied, multi-disciplinary research that combines engineering, economics, and regulatory and environmental analysis. His research benefits from his past industry experience and his personal knowledge of working with developing country situations. Subhes’ research is supported by various modelling efforts, including end-use type long-range energy-environment system modelling, operations research and other decision support systems as well as regulatory and investment analysis tools. He provides advice on energy related issues on a regular basis.

He is the author of the best-selling book: Energy Economics: Concepts, Issues, Markets and Governance (Springer, 2011). He has also edited a number of other books particularly on rural electrification, mini-grids and energy in Asia. His research project OASYS South Asia received Green Gown Award for Community Innovation at the national and international categories in 2015.

Publications and outputs 

  • Proceedings of the International Conference on Energising the SDGs through Appropriate Technology and Governance
    Proceedings of the International Conference on Energising the SDGs through Appropriate Technology and Governance Bhattacharyya, Subhes This volume presents the papers presented at the international conference on Energising the SDGs through appropriate technology and governance. Papers were presented in eight sessions. In addition, there was a keynote speech, a panel discussion, a workshop on Sustainability Compass and a lunch-time poster session. This compendium provides a summary of the event and includes original papers and posters delivered at the conference. These covered various themes, including climate action plan in UK and Japanese cities and their alignment with the SDGs; sustainable energy access; contribution of renewable energies, urban design and sustainable development goals, tools for evaluation and monitoring of progress with the SDGs, and innovations and business models for various services.
  • Marginalisation of Off-grid Energy Sector in Sri Lanka: What Lessons could be Learnt?
    Marginalisation of Off-grid Energy Sector in Sri Lanka: What Lessons could be Learnt? Sarangi, Gopal K; Pugazenthi, Pugazenthi; Mishra, A; Palit, D; Bhattacharyya, Subhes Renewable energy based off-grid projects have played a crucial role in Sri Lanka’s universal electrification effort. The paper in this context unravels two crucial and quite interrelated aspects of decentralised off-grid energy development in the country; i) to critically analyse the off-grid electricity sector development and assess its contribution to the universal electrification in the country, and ii) to examine the current challenges associated with the off-grid sector in the larger context of massive grid expansion. A mix of quantitative and qualitative research methods is employed as an analytical tool. The paper brings out several policy relevant findings. Strategic policy interventions coupled with targeted policy goals, robust community centric interventions, well designed credit systems, and well-structured capacity building initiatives are identified to be key leveraging points for success of off-grid micro-hydro projects. The techno-economic analysis of existing micro-hydro project reveals there exist opportunity for more productive use of such projects. Grid interconnection of off-grid energy projects is a major emerging challenge involving a whole gamut of technical, legal, regulatory, financial and social issues. Interestingly, the intensity of these challenges differs across ownership types. The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.
  • Analysing climate action plans of selected UK cities for their SDG alignment
    Analysing climate action plans of selected UK cities for their SDG alignment Ozawa-Meida, Leticia; Painter, Birgit; Bhattacharyya, Subhes In UK, the Climate change Act of 2008 has placed a binding target of reducing the net carbon emission in 2050 by at least 80% compared to the 1990 baseline. With a high share of urban population, the contribution of cities and urban areas towards climate change mitigation and adaptation becomes crucial. UK being a signatory to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) in 2016, there is a new emphasis on the sustainability of cities as well. In this paper, a preliminary analysis of climate action initiatives of three UK cities (Bristol, Leicester and Milton Keynes) and their alignment with the SDG is presented. We used a text mining approach to analyse the climate action plans and then use this to map the alignment with the SDGs. We find that climate action plans have not focused on the sustainable development goals or the SDGs and their focus remains limited mainly to mitigation activities through promotion of renewable energies at homes and in buildings and actions on transport. However, climate action plans could influence a significant number of SDGs and an integrated approach could be beneficial for the cities and their residents.
  • Implementation of analytic hierarchy process in evaluation of vulnerable critical oil and gas infrastructures to climate change impacts
    Implementation of analytic hierarchy process in evaluation of vulnerable critical oil and gas infrastructures to climate change impacts Udie, Justin; Bhattacharyya, Subhes; Ozawa-Meida, Leticia; Bhattacharyya, Subhes The Niger Delta oil and gas infrastructures are under severe threat of climate change impacts exacerbated by frequent flood activities, rising temperature, surging Atlantic tides, persistent heavy rainfall, and windstorms. This requires sustainable adaptation mechanisms to cope with vulnerabilities, but experts are challenged with the scale of vulnerability and ability to prioritise adaptation responses according to system criticality. Through a systematic review and synthesise of criticality assessment criteria, this paper applied multiple input analytic hierarchy process (Mi-AHP) in prioritising the criticality of seven stratified vulnerable infrastructures to ease adaptation planning. The result indicates that oil terminals, flow stations and roads/bridges are most critical infrastructures with an EV value = 0.27, 0.19, and 0.15 respectively. The result further indicated that transformers/high voltage cables are the fourth most critical systems obtaining EV = 0.14 while Pipelines, loading bays and wellheads were ranked fifth, sixth, and seventh with EV = 0.11, 0.09 and 0.05. Accordingly, the study emphasised the need for sustainable and pragmatic adaptation planning leveraging the outcome of the study to effectively manage and reduce the vulnerability of climate change impacts on oil and gas infrastructures in the Niger Delta.
  • Sustainability of community-owned mini-grids: Evidence from India
    Sustainability of community-owned mini-grids: Evidence from India Katre, A.; Tozzi, A.; Bhattacharyya, Subhes Background: Community-owned Solar Mini-Grids (SMGs) are increasingly promoted to provide communities access to reliable electricity, empowering local actors as they become active stakeholders in projects. However, early failures and difficulties in building local capacity have raised questions regarding their long-term sustainability and ability to be replicated to provide socio-economic benefits to the communities. This study assesses the sustainability of 24 community-owned SMGs in India operating over extensive periods of time using a novel scoring framework using mixed methods to derive its conclusions. Results: The study found that institutional, financial and technical capacities, central for the SMG’s long-term sustainability, could be achieved through community engagement from early stages, if communities are allowed freedom to develop governance procedures while at the same time clarifying roles and responsibilities. This creates strong sense of ownership that is key for effective and inclusive governance. User satisfaction, ensured through provision of usable supply in line with users’ expectations, motivates actors to make regular payments, thus leading to economic sustenance. While social and environmental benefits were observed, energy consumption and engagement in productive activities remained marginal. Conclusions: The study reports an example of community-owned SMG model that has been replicated sustainably over many cases, overcoming key challenges related to appropriate financial and technical management and producing positive social impact. Low engagement in productive activities was more a factor of the local socio-cultural contexts, rather than limited paying capacities of the users. To increase energy utilization and create environments for sustainable rural living the study recommends implementation of systems that link energy with other rural development needs such as agriculture or water provision. The study also recommends more use of qualitative and quantitative data for impact analysis to ensure that conclusions are generalizable and provide rich contextual explanations for the observed phenomena. open access journal
  • Solar PV mini-grids versus large-scale embedded PV generation: A case study of Uttar Pradesh (India)
    Solar PV mini-grids versus large-scale embedded PV generation: A case study of Uttar Pradesh (India) Bhattacharyya, Subhes; Palit, D.; Sarangi, G. K.; Srivastava, Vivek; Sharma, Prerna Despite significant grid expansion during the last decade, globally India has the highest number of people lacking access to electricity. Mini-grid has been suggested as a possible electrification option and the new mini-grid policy of the state of Uttar Pradesh has attracted global attention. Relatedly, the drive for grid extension restricts off-grid areas to very remote locations and enhances the risks for mini-grid projects. Simultaneously, the pledge for increasing renewable energy share in the power supply mix opens the possibility of large-scale embedded renewable energy generation in the rural areas. This paper investigates the viability of solar PV-based mini-grids using a discounted cash flow analysis and considers the UP-policy prescriptions to explore the case of a megawatt (MW)-scale grid-connected solar PV under a power purchase agreement. It identifies the viability support requirements for both cases under different business conditions. It finds that mini-grids are not a viable proposition if the tariff prescribed in UP is used and that other cost minimising support (such as capital subsidy or low interest debt or an output-based subsidy) would be required to attract private investments. Large-scale solar projects, on the other hand, are more viable and can be an attractive proposition for rural electrification in the Indian context. The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.
  • Vulnerability Assessment of Climate Change Impact on Critical Oil/Gas Infrastructure: A Decision-Maker’s Perception in the Niger Delta
    Vulnerability Assessment of Climate Change Impact on Critical Oil/Gas Infrastructure: A Decision-Maker’s Perception in the Niger Delta Bhattacharyya, Subhes; Ozawa-Meida, L.; Udie, J. The impacts of climate change arising from flooding, the intrusion of high saline tidewater, rising temperature, wind storms, and rising Atlantic level are exacerbating significant threats to oil and gas critical installations in the Niger Delta. Understanding the hierarchies of vulnerable critical infrastructure could help assets managers in the industry to adopt sustainable adaptation measures against the looming impacts of climate change–induced stress on systems. In this article, the analytic hierarchy process (AHP) is implemented in prioritising vulnerable critical oil and gas infrastructure in the Niger Delta for effective and sustainable adaptation planning and response. A mix of an exploratory investigation involving interdisciplinary participants’ engagement in focus groups were conducted in four multinational oil companies in the Niger Delta to elicit data for analysis. Participants in the study compared seven selected critical installations using an AHP questionnaire. A Mi-AHP spreadsheet analysis of stakeholders’ perceptions revealed infrastructure vulnerability in hierarchical form: pipelines, terminals, roads/bridges, flow stations, loading bays, transformers/high voltage cables, and wellheads. The study shows that the vulnerability in the region is influenced by exposure, the presence of climate burdens, and proximity to inundated coastal areas below 4.5 meters above sea level. It also shows that critical systems are vulnerable due to interdependence and level of linkages that exist between directly vulnerable and non-directly vulnerable assets. Results also show that vulnerability in the region is due to critical perception, age and obsolescence, and weak adaptive capacity. This study furnished decision-makers in the oil and gas sector with information on which infrastructure is to be protected in terms of adaptation planning, investment, and implementation with particular attention on climate change. The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.
  • Mini-grids for the bottom billion for a sustainable rural living: What does the Gram Oorja experience suggest?
    Mini-grids for the bottom billion for a sustainable rural living: What does the Gram Oorja experience suggest? Bhattacharyya, Subhes; Tozzi, A.; Katre, A. Clean energy access is the golden thread that runs through economic prosperity, social development and living within environmental limits. For the bottom billion, however, lack of access to clean energy sources creates a vicious circle of poverty, poor health, limited human capital and the degraded environment. Electricity provision through local renewable-based mini-grids has been suggested by international organisations and researchers as a possible solution to turn this into a virtuous circle. In recent years, many mini-grids have been set up around the world but there has been limited evidence demonstrating whether these services are sustainable over extended periods of time and whether they are able to catalyse improved rural living in support of the Sustainable Development Goals. Using data collected from 24 solar mini-grid interventions by Gram Oorja, an Indian social enterprise, we analyse whether these systems are able to offer clean and long-lasting sustainable electricity solutions for the bottom billion, and whether access to electricity really transforms rural living conditions. We use a multi- dimensional sustainability analysis framework that captures both qualitative and quantitative information across many areas. We then identify enabling conditions, barriers and possible interventions to support sustainable rural communities. We find that good quality and durable electricity provision through mini-grids generates positive socio-economic externalities but that electricity supply on its own is not a sufficient condition for delivering the rural transformation agenda. This requires embedding electricity access interventions in an integrated rural development programme, that offers opportunities for livelihood generation, linkages for delivering other basic amenities and strengthening of niche areas (such as circular economy) to support sustainable living. Lack of proper vision, weak institutional arrangements, poor coordination, limited experience at the local level and inadequate handholding are some of the factors affecting the transformative change. A judicious balance between top-down and bottom-up interventions will be required to bring about this change. The study has wider relevance for billions of people at the base of the pyramid. Mini-grids offer them an opportunity to move up the development ladder but it requires developing locally relevant linkages through co-creation.
  • Comparing European CO2 emission trends before and after the 2008 economic crisis: A case study of four European countries
    Comparing European CO2 emission trends before and after the 2008 economic crisis: A case study of four European countries Sanoussi, H.; Bhattacharyya, Subhes The paper investigates and compares the evolution in carbon dioxide emissions in 4 major economies of the European Union (Germany, France, United Kingdom, and Spain) between the period of economic growth (2004 – 2008) and the period of economic crisis (2008 – 2012). Decomposing the Kaya identity of five inter-related factors, namely energy intensity, mix energy, carbon emission coefficient, production and population, this study shows that the CO2 emission decreased most importantly between 2008 and 2012. The decline in energy intensity is the major source of CO2 emission reduction in both periods, but energy intensity deteriorated in times of economic crisis. The population effect on the other hand contributed to an increase in carbon emissions. Different scenarios to analyse the emissions reduction opportunity through successful experiences of selected countries show that the overall carbon dioxide emission in the sample could be reduced by 293 MtCO2 or 16% compared to the 2012 level through more improvements in carbon emission coefficient, energy mix and energy intensity. Germany would reduce 20% of CO2 emission. Spain and United Kingdom would gain 19% and 15%, respectively. The saving would be less important in France, accounting for about 6% of CO2 emission compared to 2012 value. The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version.
  • Evaluation of Oil/Gas Infrastructure Exposure to Climate Change Burdens in the Niger Delta
    Evaluation of Oil/Gas Infrastructure Exposure to Climate Change Burdens in the Niger Delta Udie, J.; Bhattacharyya, Subhes; Ozawa-Meida, L. Climate change extreme weather events such as flood, rising temperature and windstorms pose significant threats to oil and gas infrastructure in the Niger. Due to a gap in evaluation of assets exposure in the region, little is known about their level of exposure hierarchies. In this paper, analytic hierarchy process (AHP) is used to evaluate the exposure of selected oil and gas infrastructure to prevailing climate burdens for sustainable adaptation planning. A combination of observational and interdisciplinary stakeholder decision-making process in four (4) multinational oil companies was used to elicit data through focus group and face-to-face interviews. Participants pairwise compared selected infrastructure using AHP questionnaire for pairwise comparison of infrastructure in a matrix system. Multiple-input (Mi-AHP) analysis revealed assets exposure to climate burdens in the following order; pipelines, terminals, roads/bridges, flow stations, loading bay, transformers/HVC and oil well-heads. Exposure is forces vulnerability of infrastructure to flood and direct heatwaves while the presence of climate burdens and proximity to areas below 4.5 m above sea level further exacerbate exposure. The research also found that interdependence, criticality, obsolescence, and adaptive capacity are other factors responsible for exposure and vulnerability of infrastructure in the Niger Delta. The result further revealed that infrastructure with weak adaptive capacities and significant obsolescence are more vulnerable if exposed to severe climate burdens. The outcome of this investigation provide hands-on data for responsible stakeholders and policymakers in the oil and gas industry for effective and sustainable planning and prioritisation of adaptation investment strategies.

Click here to view a full listing of Subhes C Bhattacharyya's publications and outputs.

Key research outputs

  • Rural Electrification through Decentralised Off-grid Systems in Developing Countries, (Ed.) S.C. Bhattacharyya, Springer, ISBN 978-1-4471-4673-5, 297p, 2013
  • Energy access programmes and sustainable development: A critical review and analysis, Energy for Sustainable Development, 16(3):260-71
  • Integration of wind power into the British system in 2020, Energy – the International Journal, (with Ngoc Anh Le), 36(10): 5975-83, 2011
  • Changes in the GHG emission intensity in EU-15: Lessons from a decomposition analysis, Energy – International Journal, 35(8), pp. 3315-22, 2010 (with W. Matsumura)
  • <start_e>Electricity capacity expansion in Thailand: An analysis of gas dependence and fuel import reliance, Energy, 33(5), pp. 712-23, 2008 (with Thanawat Nakawiro and Bundit Limmeechokchai).

Research interests/expertise

Subhes’ interest in energy research includes the following:

<start_a> a)   Energy Access and Sustainable living in developing countries

  • Research to identify ways of supplying energy to the bottom billion and supporting sustainable living in developing countries. 
  • Strategies and enabling conditions for the provision of clean and affordable energy for the poor.
  • Sustainability analysis and development impacts of energy interventions for rural development.
  • Vulnerability and mitigation of climate and security of energy supply in developing countries and their impact on sustainable development. 

<start_b> b)   Policy issues

  • Low carbon energy pathways in developing countries - covering resource-rich and resource poor countries.
  • Energy pricing, taxation and subsidies in developing countries for supporting sustainable energy in developing countries
  • Policies for fossil fuels and renewable energies.

 c)   Energy modelling

  • Modelling energy demand in developing countries: Energy Demand analysis and demand management - in industry, transport and residential sectors.
  • Extension of the index decomposition methodology – This is an area of was applied to an analysis of climate change analysis
  • Electricity system expansion studies for conventional studies and to capture vulnerability and energy security aspects.

Areas of teaching

  • Energy and Sustainable Development
  • Energy Economics
  • Energy Regulation
  • Oil and gas economics

Qualifications

Subhes holds a PhD and an Advanced Masters degree in Applied Economics with specialisation in Energy Economics from the University Pierre Mendes France, Grenoble II, Grenoble, France. He also holds a Master of Engineering in Energy Planning and Policy from the Asian Institute of Technology, Bangkok, Thailand and a Bachelor of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering from Bengal Engineering College, University of Calcutta, India.

Courses taught

Subhes teaches a course on Sustainable Development at the graduate level and a course in Energy Economics for the undergraduate students.

He has taught the following courses as part of his earlier employments:

Energy Economics – the tools, Energy Economics – the Issues, Energy, Environment and Sustainable Development, Economics of regulation and restructuring of energy industries, Petroleum Policy and Economics (for distance learning), Energy Data Analysis, Energy Demand Analysis and Forecasting, Oil and Gas Economics, and Economics of Energy Projects.

Honours and awards

1. Green Gown Award International 2015 - for Community Innovation for OASYS South Asia Project given by Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges, UK.

2. Green Gown Award National 2015 - for Community Innovation for OASYS South Asia Project given by Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges, UK.

 

Membership of external committees

Member of EPSRC Peer Review Panel – since 2009.

Member of Energy Institute College - since 2015.

Membership of professional associations and societies

  1. Fellow, Royal Society of Arts (FRSA)
  2. Fellow, Energy Institute (FEI)
  3. Senior Fellow, Higher Education Academy (SrF HEA)
  4. Institute of Engineers (India) life member.

Projects

Project details

Funding agency

Period

Role

Assessing opportunities and challenges for supporting   mini-grids in India to reduce Energy poverty

DFID

6 months, January to June 2016

Research Leader

Global Innovation Initiative – Consortium for Rapid Smart   Grid Impact

US Department of State

2014-2016

Co-Principal Investigator

Nexus Network Think Piece

Nexus Network (ESRC funded)

2013

Principal Investigator

Agent-based Modelling of Electricity Networks

EPSRC

20013-2016

Co-Investigator

Energy Brief

World Health Organisation

2012-2013

Principal Investigator

OASYS South Asia – Business Models for off-grid   electrification in South Asia

EPSRC and DFID

2009-2015

Principal Investigator

Review of Energy Demand Forecasting models

The World Bank

2009-2010

Consultant

Restructuring of Thai Electricity Industry

EGAT, Thailand

2002-2003

Co-Investigator

GNESD Energy Access Study

Global Network on Energy for Sustainable Development

2002-2003

Co-Principal Investigator

CD4CDM – Capacity building for CDM in Asian region

UNEP-Risoe

2002-2003

Co-Principal Investigator

Consultancy work

Subhes’ areas of expertise for consulting purposes include energy pricing, energy regulation, energy access, off-grid electrification, renewable energy policies, etc.

Subhes has worked with consulting firms like PricewaterhouseCoopers (India), National Economic Research Associates (NERA) and Development Consultants Limited (India). He has also worked as a short-term consultant for the World Bank.

Current research students

Subhes is supervising a number of students first supervisor and a few others as second supervisors. The following are a list of projects being investigated by these students:

1) Vulnerability assessment of oil and gas infrastructure to climate change impact in the Niger Delta;

2) Managing the structure, regulation and infrastructure investment decisions in the natural gas industry in Ghana;

3) Monetisation of natural gas resources in Nigeria

4) Analysis of agricultural practices for environmental protection and management of the rural Red River Delta region of Vietnam;

5) Impact of human activity on protected areas: Case of Nech Sar National Park in Ethiopia

6) Impact of climate change on the youth of small island communities

7) Low carbon retrofitting of residential buildings in Nigeria;

8) Smart demand-side and supply-side solutions to manage peak electricity demand from the residential sector of Saudi Arabia       

Externally funded research grants information

Decentralised off-grid electricity generation in developing countries: Business

models for off-grid electricity supply – RCUK (EPSRC – DfID), Research, Start date: 21/10/2009, end date 20/10/2014; PI of the project; Collaborators – School of Environment and Development, Manchester University, Edinburgh Napier University, University of Dundee, The Energy and Resources Institute and TERI University (India).

 

Agent-based Modelling of Electricity Networks, Co-Investigator, EPSRC, 2013-2016.

 

Global Innovation Initiative – Consortium for Rapid Smart Grid Impact, Co-PI, US Department of State, 2014-2018.

Professional esteem indicators

Subhes was the Co-Editor of International Journal of Energy Sector Management since its inception in 2007 until end of 2012.

He is now an Associate Editor of Energy for Sustainable Development – since 2012. He is also in the Editorial Board of Environmental Research Letters and AIMS Energy.

He is a member of EPSRC Peer Review College and Energy Institute College. He reviews grant applications, application for promotion to academic positions, and book proposals for publishers on a regular basis.

He was an external examiner of MSc Taught Programmes in the Business School of the University of Aberdeen (and CASS Business School, City University London.

 

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