Lok Sabha TV- Public Forum: Energy Needs and Challenges

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Lok Sabha TV- Public Forum: Energy Needs and Challenges


 

India’s energy infrastructure since independence has grown multiple times. The primary energy consumption in India comes fourth after China, USA and Russia. In the total primary energy consumption approximately 70% of India’s electricity generation capacity comes from fossil fuels. Due to rapid economic expansion, India has one of the world’s fastest growing energy markets and it is expected to be the second largest contributor to the increase in global energy demand by 2035 accounting for 18% rise in global energy consumption. Although India is the 4th largest energy consumer in the world, it continues to remain energy poor. In 2013, the population of India living without access to electricity was about 19% of the total population. Saur Sujala Yojana has been launched recently by the Government that aims to target 51,000 beneficiaries in Chattisgarh. The project aims to provide pollution free and liability free electricity throughout the year in the state.

Features of Saur Sujala Yojana:

  1. Solar powered irrigation pumps of 3HP and 5HP capacity will be distributed to the farmers.
  2. The beneficiaries would get the pumps at subsidized price of Rs.7000 to Rs.18000. It is mainly aimed to give priority to those areas where electricity has not reached i.e. farmers can utilize them in irrigation and agriculture.
  3. Around 51,000 farmers would be benefitted in the state with the launch of the scheme by 2018.

Takeaways:

  1. India aims to achieve its target of 100 GW solar power by end of 2017.
  2. Government has recently approved installation of 15 GW new solar power plants mainly in the form of solar parks.
  3. Currently about 300 MW of solar power generated comes in from roof top installations.
  4. Electricity production in India stood at 1048.7 BU in FY15, 8.4% over previous years.
  5. India is 62nd country to ratify Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
  6. Government to increase renewable energy capacity to 175 GW by 2022 with nearly 58% to be generated from solar energy.
  7. Out of 100 GW of solar energy, 40 GW is expected to come from rooftop installations, 30 GW form solar parks and 30 GW from other private or State Government schemes.
  8. As of December 2015, India’s total installed capacity based on renewable energy was 37,415 MW which is about 13% of the total installed capacity. By June 2016, this was 48,850 MW.
  9. Capacity of renewable energy surpassed that of hydel power for the first time.

Government Initiatives:

  1. 7,779 remote villages already electrified.
  2. Over 9 crore LED bulbs distributed through UJALA in 2015-16.
  3. Unparalleled transparency adopted in e-auction of coal blocks.
  4. Mobile Apps: GARV, UJALA and VIDYUT to empower citizens.

Conclusion:

There is a lot of focus on green energy and primarily the push has come from the Central Government for solar projects. There has also been growth in wind energy sector but at present, more emphasis is being laid on solar energy with an initiative from State Governments as well where they are doing different parallel programmes along with Central Government. There is a more focused and consolidated approach from both the sides.

Though the targets set are very ambitious of which large chunk comes from solar energy. There are also proposals for solar parks which are large scale solar energy generation projects apart from roof top solar energy generation. How achievable these targets are depends on viability of a particular programme. As long as any economic activity is viable and sustain itself in the long run, it would be successful in attracting private investments and bidding low tariffs as well. The entire equity would also come in the renewable energy sector. India’s commitment at Paris is directly related to this target. India and China are also under pressure to cut down their carbon emissions. Emission from coal based power generation needs to be reduced which is still dominant. As far as nuclear energy is concerned, there are issues like fear among people and land acquisition for projects plus it takes time to materialize.

At this stage of development in India, where a large part of population is without access to energy, it cannot afford to cut down its energy consumption. At the same time, it needs to promote all forms of renewable energy for the best of its people and environment.