India to reduce energy import dependence at optimal levels
India's import dependence on the energy front can be lowered to 21 per cent by 2047 at its most optimal level, from the current level of 31 percent, provided it takes corrective steps on pricing that supports energy efficiency and establishes appropriate regulatory mechanisms.
Speaking at the launch of the India Energy Security Scenario (IESS) 2047, a tool that is aimed at giving a choice to consumers and suppliers to adopt the most optimal and suitable option to meet their energy needs and goals, Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission, said, "We will need to put in place the instruments, including pricing and regulatory measures that support the shift in energy efficiency that we aim to achieve on the demand side." However, this would require an integrated approach to energy that has "remained a constant battle."
The tool (IESS) 2047 was launched at an event organized by the Planning Commission in partnership with the Confederation of Indian Industry in New Delhi on Friday. It was developed by the Planning Commission in consultation with key stakeholders including the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change, TERI, C-Step and Prayas Energy. It shows various combinations of energy demand and possible energy supply pathways available to the country ranging from the least effort to the heroic effort. On the supply side, stressing on the role of renewable energy, BK Chaturvedi, Member Energy Planning Commission, outlined how solar and wind capacity in India will need to expand to 600 Giga Watts each to achieve optimal energy security, even as other new fuels like bio-fuel take a major share in the country's energy basket. He said, "Land and water are two important variables that will have to be kept in mind while evolving policies to reach this goal over the next three decades."
Dr Farooq Abdullah, Union Minister for New and Renewable Energy, said that the ambitious targets of increasing the share of renewables in the Indian energy basket would need an integrated approach and uniform policies that support these initiatives at its nascent stage. "The banks will need to come forward and reduce interest rates even as the industry needs to innovate and develop better products," he said. Highlighting how the policies often fall through, the minister said that the state governments and the Centre need to work together and jointly evolve targets and policies that can be achieved. This would require the conventional energy producers to relook at their strategies. Echoing a similar thought, Ahluwalia said that the global debate has now moved on to sustainable solutions and that would need redrawing the energy maps. "Almost 30 per cent of the fossil fuel reserves should never be utilized if sustainable energy scenarios are to be evolved," he said while cautioning that this will require fossil fuel producers to look beyond bottonlines. Stressing on the need to strengthen collaborations between India and the UK, James David Bevan KCMG, High Commissioner of UK said "Both India and the UK share similar challenges in the energy domain. There is a need to work together to make both our countries energy secure and prosperous. " Ajay Shriram, President Designate, Confederation of Indian Industry said, "This mechanism is going to be very useful in planning for the future, given the scale of action required to equip our energy economy in the 21st Centur.y" Reiterating the importance of the tool, Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, Confederation of Indian Industry said, "This energy planning tool could not have come at a more appropriate time given that India is facing the twin challenges of energy security and climate change."
(Posted on 01-03-2014)