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Kolkata would recoup low-carbon investment, report says

Kolkata, India would quickly recoup investments in renewable energy, according to a new study. (Radiokafka /

Two billion American dollars is a hefty sum for impoverished Kolkata. But if India’s most densely populated city could muster that amount to invest in renewable fuels, it would recover its costs in just four years.

That’s the conclusion of a new scientific report on “low-carbon infrastructure,” Madhukara Putty writes for SciDev.Net.

The authors project that Kolkata would save more than US$520 million per year in energy costs as a result of the initial investment. It also would reduce fossil-fuel emissions 21 percent by 2025. Although a third of the city’s residents live in slums, demand for electricity — now mostly derived from coal — is rising sharply, the report says.

The other cities featured in the report are Johor Bahru (Malaysia), Leeds (UK), Lima (Peru) and Palembang (Indonesia). They were selected for their geographic and economic diversity. The research team draws from the University of Leeds, University of York and Universiti Teknologi Malaysia. The study, published in the November edition of Global Environmental Change, is available here. 


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