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EDITORIAL ANALYSIS : India’s just energy transition is more than a coal story


Source: The Hindu

Prelims: Current events of national importance, Environmental pollution and degradation(Solar energy, Paris Agreement), PM2.5 etc

  • Mains GS Paper III: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation,Solar energy and its use in different sectors particularly agriculture etc.


  • Just Energy Transition Partnership (JET-P) is emerging as the key mechanism for multilateral financing by developed countries to support an energy transition in developing countries.




Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP)

  • JETP, an initiative of the rich nations to accelerate phasing out of coal and reducing emissions.
  • The JETP initiative is modeled for South Africa, to support South Africa’s decarbonisation efforts.
  • It aims to reduce emissions in the energy sector and accelerate the coal phase-out process.
  • Funding is made available for this purpose in identified developing countries.
  • The JETP was launched at the COP26 in Glasgow with the support of the United Kingdom (UK), the United States (US), France, Germany, and the European Union (EU)
  • G7 has announced a similar partnership in India, Indonesia, Senegal, and Vietnam.


Issues that concern transitions:

  • Energy transitions could give rise to intra-generational, intergenerational, and spatial equity concerns.
  • Transitions affect near-term fossil-dependent jobs
  • It disrupts forms of future energy access,
  • It shrinks the state’s capacity to spend on welfare programmes
  • It exacerbates existing economic inequities between coal and other regions.


Existing JET-P deals:

  • It pays limited attention to intra-generational inequity, such as job losses resulting from a coal phase-down.
  • South Africa’s deal: It mentions a ‘just’ component — funding reskilling and alternative employment opportunities in the coal mining regions.
    • Financed as part of the initial $5(eight point five)billion mobilization.
  • Other JET-Ps ( Indonesia and Vietnam) are focused on mitigation finance for sector-specific transitions.



  • The emphasis by developed countries’ on coal phase-down without adequate attention to country context.
    • It disregards the crucial difference in energy transition between industrialized and emerging economies
  • Energy transition in the industrialized world involves a natural tapering of energy consumption alongside fuel switching to clean energy sources


Challenges for India:

  • India’s transition requires significant simultaneous growth in energy demand.
    • The Central Electricity Authority projects a near doubling of electricity demand by 2030
  • Achieving cost competitiveness: Indian components are 20% costlier than Chinese components.
  • Giving preference to domestic components without addressing cost competitiveness may slow down the pace of deployment.


India’s targets:

  • India has signaled a commitment to clean energy with ambitious targets like:
    • 500GW of non-fossil, including 450 GW renewable energy (RE) capacity addition
    • 43% REpurchase obligation by 2030.
  • The targets are supported through:
    • complementary policy and legislative mandates (Energy Conservation (Amendment) Act)
    • missions (National Green Hydrogen Mission)
    • Fiscal incentives (production-linked incentives)
    • Market mechanisms (upcoming national carbon market).


Paths to accelerate Renewable energy(RE) deployment:

  • Shifting energy demand patterns in ways that enable faster RE capacity addition:
  • Solarisation of agricultural electricity demand
  • Electrification of diesel-powered Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs)
  • Decentralised RE for residential cooking and heating.
  • Domestic manufacturing of clean energy as it will;
    • sustain a JET
    • build energy self-sufficiency
    • tap the green jobs promise of 21st century energy.



  • Stimulation of energy demand through rural productivity enhancement will further aid RE acceleration
  • It will help to address the rural-urban economic divide
  • Create rural jobs
  • Address inter-generational and spatial inequities.

Coal use:

  • There is a case for re-aligning the current use of coal resources to enhance efficiencies until the period of phase-down.
  • Optimize use of coal-fired power plants closer to where coal is mined rather than based on energy demand in States.


Impact of optimizing coal-fired power plants:

  • It would enable coal to be used more efficiently because transportation of coal is more energy-intensive than transmission of electrons.
  • It would also lead to cheaper power, as transportation accounts for one-third of the cost of coal for power plants
  • The resultant savings could also help finance much needed emission control retrofits
  • It would indirectly reduce emissions due to more efficient use of coal.


Initiatives by India to shift to renewable energy:

  • National Solar Mission (NSM): The 100 GW solar ambition at the heart of the world’s largest renewable energy expansion programme
  • The Wind Energy Revolution: Leveraging India’s robust wind energy sector to boost clean energy manufacturing and the rural economy
  • National Biofuels Policy and SATAT: Building value chains to reduce fuel imports, increase clean energy, manage waste, and create jobs
  • Small Hydro Power (SHP): Harnessing the power of water to integrate remote communities into the economic mainstream.
  • National Hydrogen Energy Mission (NHEM): Exploring the commercial viability of a versatile clean fuel
  • Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme: Integrating India into the global clean energy value chains
  • National Biofuels Policy and SAYAY: Building value chains to reduce fuel imports, increase clean energy, manage waste and create jobs.


Way Forward

  • JET-P has significance following the insertion of the phrase ‘phase-down’ of coal in the Glasgow Pact.
    • After South Africa, Indonesia, and Vietnam, India is considered the next candidate for a JET-Partnership.
  • The interventions by India show India’s serious efforts at energy transition, but additional supplementary measures are needed for a coherent JET strategy.
  • Negotiate access to markets outside India as part of a JET-Partnership, to reduce the cost gap through economies of scale.
  • By using coal more efficiently, this policy shift opens the door to India considering a future cap on coal-powered generation capacity.
  • Current generation capacity plus plants in the pipeline are adequate to meet India’s projected requirement in 2030.
  • By leading to cheaper and more efficient power, the coal re-alignment proposed helps address energy security concerns, making it possible to  consider a future coal-based power capacity cap.
  • Any future JET-P deal must consider the broader framework for financing and supporting an energy transition.
  • With India holding the G-20 presidency, it has an opportunity at hand to negotiate a deal for itself while also shaping international cooperation on just energy transitions.



Q. Do you think India will meet 50 percent of its energy needs from renewable energy by 2030 ? Justify your answer. How will the shift of subsidies from fossil fuels to renewables help achieve the above objective ? Explain.(UPSC 2022) (200 WORDS, 10 MARKS)