Evaluation of investment projects for low carbon infrastructure in pilot cities in India

Rapid and large-scale urbanisation is shaping cities today, especially in developing and emerging economies. Apart from the benefits that urbanisation and economic growth bring to the economy as a whole, cities also face increasingly complex challenges. In India, almost 600 million people will reside in urban areas by 2030. Such an increase is expected to create enormous pressures on the already strained infrastructural capacity, further reducing urban resilience.

In this context, the Sustainable Cities: Integrated Approach Pilot (SCIAP) programme, created by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the World Bank, aims to build a strong network of cities that will act as global ambassadors for urban sustainability planning, with tangible benefits at both local and global levels. The SCIAP programme currently engages 28 cities in 11 developing nations.

The United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) implements the SCIAP programme in India along with the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA). The core objective is to build resilience in five pilot cities – Jaipur, Bhopal, Mysore, Vijayawada and Guntur – by integrating sustainability concepts into urban planning and management strategies. One key component is the identification of investment projects and technology demonstrations that encourage the development of low carbon urban infrastructure and help reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Out of pre-selected projects in the design stage of the programme, the most suitable investment projects were identified based on evaluation criteria (including GHG mitigation potential, innovativeness of technology, investment and operating costs, contribution to urban sustainability, etc.) as well as stakeholder consultations and site investigations.

adelphi supported PricewaterhouseCoopers Pvt. Ltd. India (PwC) in updating the evaluation methodology and criteria for the appraisal and selection of city investment pilot projects. Moreover, the climate finance and GHG components of the project pipeline were determined and contrasted using the evaluation framework. These activities should result in relevant and viable investment pipelines in all the five cities, with at least three potential pilot projects identified in each pipeline.