How the goal of energy security can be achieved in India?
India is a developing country, with 70% of its population living in rural areas and approximately 60% of people employed in agriculture sector. Being the second largest populous country after China with 2.4% of the earth's geographical area and constituting 17.7% of the population of the world.
Talking about the energy needs of our country, we still produce 70% of electricity using thermal sources like coal, oil etc. Besides, domestic coal constitutes only 60% of the energy needs, the rest being imported. India also imports oil from gulf countries, the largest partners being Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq among others. Among energy distribution, nuclear as well as renewable also constitute a portion whose share is expected to increase in future. The largest contributions are from solar, wind, biomass, hydel in decreasing order. The nuclear power here constitutes 6GW approximately.
Energy security is important both in the electricity sector as well as transportation sector. To start with the electricity sector, our government has come out with the energy policy, in which it talks about increasing the share of renewable in generation of electricity, and at the same time it also talks about increasing the domestic production of coal in the country. To increase transparency, the Supreme Court cancelled the coal mining auctions around 2009, such that participation of honest bidders can be seen. The companies have also exploring for options of coal mining in other countries like the Adani Company in Australia. Talking of the renewable share, India has come out with intended nationally determined contributions in the conference of parties in Paris. It has increased the production of renewable energy to 175GW by 2022. It has also pledged to increase the electric vehicle by 2030.
If we talk about the transportation sector, oil forms an important port of the economy. To secure this, India also maintains the strategic oil reserves of up to 10 days. We import crude from the Gulf, therefore any instability in this region is a matter of concern for India. Like, imposition of sanctions on Iran has affected the imports of crude from Iran. Even, other countries like US have taken steps to secure oil from this region. The attack on Iraq in the past by the US, can be seen as a step to secure energy imports. Now, with the shale oil discovery the tensions of US have eased. In case of India also, we should focus on other sources like Liquefied Natural Gas which is already in great use in Japan. India should take steps to deregulate the prices of LNG as it has done with petrol and diesel.
To secure the energy, thus India should take steps like increasing the share of renewable, promoting green energy, implementing the energy policy effectively.
Even today, many rural households do not have electricity connection. The government came up with the Rajiv Gandhi Vidyutikaran Yojana, Deendayal Upadhyay Gram Jyoti Yojana, and now Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana (SAUBHAGYA). The target has been to provide electricity by 2018 to all rural households. Here, the definition of electrified village has been changed in SAUBHAGYA scheme. People should focus on green energy in rural areas, which would also not require the laying down of electricity lines in remote areas and would improve the health sector also.
Progress should also be made in case of CNG and LPG. The TAPI (Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India) pipeline should proceed so that natural gas could be imported. The electric vehicles should be promoted as we have seen the first electric charging station in Nagpur. Such charging points should be provided as network all over the country. We also should increase the energy efficiency as it also forms important part of national action plan on climate change of the government of India. The aggregate technical and commercial losses should also be reduced. The Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana(UDAY) is working in the same direction.
The policies of the government as well as the awareness on the part of citizens will ultimately play an important role in future energy security of our country.
- Akriti Singh