Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that there are huge renewable energy deployment plans for India for the next decade which are likely to generate business prospects of around $20 billion per year. In his address after inaugurating the 3rd Global Renewable Energy Investment Meeting and Expo (RE-Invest 2020), through video conferencing, he invited investors, developers and businesses to join India’s renewable energy journey. He said that after the success of Performance Linked Incentives (PLI) in electronics manufacturing, the government has decided to give similar incentives to high efficiency solar modules. Stressing that ensuring ‘ease of doing business’ is their utmost priority and dedicated Project Development Cells have been established to facilitate investors, he said that in the last 6 years, India has travelled on an “unparalleled journey”. The Prime Minister noted that India’s renewable power capacity is the fourth largest in the world and is growing at the fastest speed among all major countries. The renewable energy capacity in India is currently 136 Giga Watts, which is about 36 per cent of its total capacity. The summit is organised by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy. The theme for RE-Invest 2020 is ‘Innovations for Sustainable Energy Transition’.
Increasing accessibility to clean energy:
- India has already committed to bring electricity to every household by 2022. An even more ambitious goal would be to provide electricity to all households on 24×7 basis.
- To bring clean fuel in rural areas the Pradhan Mantri Ujjawala Yojana, should be complemented by: Setting up of biomass pelletising units; and distribution of ‘efficient biomass chullahs’.
- On the agricultural front, solar irrigation pump distribution target must be stepped up and financed through credit support from NABARD and government subsidy.
- The potential non-conventional energy sources must be explored and researched to make them technologically economical and accessible, like geothermal energy, tidal energy etc.
- The National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency (NMEEE) should conduct a thorough cost-benefit analysis of the available energy-efficient technologies and products across all sectors, especially agriculture, housing and transportation.
- At the institutional level, the national and state designated agencies working in the area of energy efficiency should be strengthened.
- To enhance vehicle fuel efficiency gains, the auto fuel quality should be upgraded to BS VI norms.
- Around three-quarters of our power comes from coal powered plants. It is important that India increases its domestic coal to reduce its dependence on imports.
- There is need to fast track the regulatory clearances, improve labour productivity, increase coal production and enhance efficiency of distribution.
- Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy (HELP) intends to minimize government’s discretion in decision making, reduce disputes, reduce administrative delays and introduce concept of revenue sharing, freedom of marketing to stimulate growth in the oil and gas sector in India.
- The tax structure should be rationalized in import and sale of energy on thermal value basis with a view to enhance the competitiveness of the economy.
- The India energy security scenarios, 2047(IESS) has been developed as an energy scenario building tool. The guiding ambition of this is to develop energy pathways leading up to the year 2047, comprising of likely energy demand and supply scenarios.
- NITI Aayog launched the India Energy Security Scenarios 2047 calculator (IESS 2047), as an open source web based tool.
- The tool aims to explore a range of potential future energy scenarios for India, for diverse energy demand and supply sectors leading up to 2047.
- Refining and distribution of oil and gas needs augmentation. Thus, India should sustain its export capacity of refined products by setting up new refineries.
- At present, 31 companies are developing City Gas Distribution (CGD) networks in 21 states for transportation or distribution of natural gas to consumers in domestic, commercial or industrial and transport sectors through a network of pipelines.
- For the hydro projects, the government will need to make efforts to expedite progress on capacity under construction through satisfactory Rehabilitation & Resettlement implementation.
- India has also built its strategic petroleum reserves in order to meet any supply shocks due to any external exigencies like wars, natural disasters etc. Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserves Ltd, a special purpose vehicle under the Oil and Gas Ministry, has constructed three strategic petroleum reserves in huge underground rock caverns at Visakhapatnam on the East Coast, and at Mangaluru and Padur on the West Coast.
- These facilities, with total capacity of 5.33 million tonnes, can meet about 10 days of India’s crude oil requirements. India now plans to build another 6.5 million tonnes of storage at Padur and Chandikhole in Odisha which will augment its supply to 22 days.
India’s Energy diplomacy:
- India is setting up a web of energy relationships in the extended neighborhood covering Myanmar, Vietnam in the east, with Central Asian countries like Kazakhstan and Gulf countries in the west.
- Indo-US Nuclear deal opened new vistas for India in field of Nuclear energy facilitating cutting edge technology and nuclear fuel. India has started to engage with China, Kazakhstan and Australia for nuclear fuel.
- India’s SCO membership could now play a bigger role in ensuring greater energy cooperation between energy producers and consumers by linking Central Asia and South Asia.
Promotion of Renewable Energy:
- A renewable energy capacity of 100 GW should be achieved by 2019-20 so as to contribute to achievement of 175 GW target by 2022.
- Solar Energy Corporation of India Limited (SECI) should develop storage solutions within next three years to help bring down prices through demand aggregation of both household and grid scale batteries.
- A large programme should be launched to tap at least 50% of the bio-gas potential in the country by supporting technology and credit support through NABARD by 2020.
Major transformations are underway in global energy sector, from growing electrification to the expansion of renewable energy, upheavals in oil production and globalization of natural gas markets. India needs to build its capacity in research and skills building to deal with these transformations in energy sector. India needs to ensure long term planning to ensure universal energy access and meeting its commitment under Paris Agreement to ensure sustainable and inclusive growth.