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Varun Sivaram, TED


6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Science, Social Studies, Economics, Engineering

Resource Type

  • Videos, 10 minutes, 57 seconds, CC, Subtitles

Regional Focus



Downloadable MP4/M4V

How India Could Pull Off the World's Most Ambitious Energy Transition

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  • In this TED video, clean energy executive Varun Sivaram talks about India's potential to industrialize and grow its economy with renewable energies. 
  • Sivaram shares his vision for how India can develop and sustain a growing population without depending on coal and burning fossil fuels. 
Teaching Tips


  • This video shares three goals for India's development and clean energy transition: building thousands of gigawatts of solar and wind power, using renewable energy across all sectors of the economy, and improving energy efficiency.
  • Students will learn that renewable energies are now cheaper than coal power.
  • A time-stamped transcript is available in 11 languages.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students should understand the benefits of renewable energies.
  • Students should understand why developed nations burn more fossil fuels and why developing countries are in a position to industrialize with renewable energy sources.


  • Students in geography classes could map out the different cities and regions mentioned in the video and determine where solar or wind farms could be built.
  • Students could create educational campaigns for Indian citizens to encourage industrialization using clean energy sources.
  • Students could research and analyze the obstacles and economic interests that might deter India from transitioning to renewable energies.
  • Other resources related to this topic include this lesson on the benefits of solar power transition for China and Zambia and this video on global clean energy goals for net-zero emissions by 2050.
Scientist Notes
This 11-minute TED talk discusses the challenges and possibilities for an energy transition away from coal within India. This resource is a good look at the impact of coal on the Indian population and challenges with pollution, poverty, and environmental justice within India. Three clean energy goals are presented and described. This resource is recommended for teaching.
  • Science
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • HS.ESS3.4 Evaluate or refine a technological solution that reduces impacts of human activities on natural systems.
    • ETS1: Engineering Design
      • MS.ETS1.1 Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions.
      • HS.ETS1.3 Evaluate a solution to a complex real-world problem based on prioritized criteria and trade-offs that account for a range of constraints, including cost, safety, reliability, and aesthetics, as well as possible social, cultural, and environmental impacts.
  • Social Sciences
    • Economics (K-8)
      • 7.8 Examine how economic decisions affect the well-being of individuals, businesses, and society.
    • Economics: Global Economy (9-12)
      • HS.26 Explain why advancements in technology and investments in capital goods and human capital increase economic growth and standards of living.
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