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Pradhan: Affordable sustainable energy top agenda for India

Published: Oct 03, 2019


NEW DELHI, OCT 03, 2019: MR Dharmendra Pradhan, the minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas & Steel has lauded the agenda to secure affordable and sustainable energy as the top most agenda for the nation. Speaking at the session on ‘Re-energizing India' at the India Economic Summit here today, the minister added that in the backdrop of a major oil and gas crisis, resulting from attacks on Saudi oil processing plants at Abqaiq and Khurais, the price volatility and concerns about sustained oil supplies have made consuming countries vulnerable. India, along with most South Asian countries, have a major dependency on crude oil & gas imports which makes securing affordable and sustainable energy figures as a top agenda for all these countries.

The Minister said that it is only natural that the global energy deliberations pay close attention to the developments in energy sector in India. This has a lot to do with the emergence of India as third-largest energy consumer in the world, and the fact that India is playing a leading role globally by implementing several transformative initiatives to reduce energy poverty in the country.

Mr Pradhan added thatr the Govt seek to transform India into a 5 trillion dollar economy and thus it is imperative to increase energy availability to 1.3 billion people, whose per capita energy consumption is lower than the global average. The energy demand, thus, is estimated to grow at 4.2 percent per annum up to 2035. Our approach to re-energize India will be guided by the Energy Vision of India, as enunciated by Hon'ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi, covering the four pillars of energy access, energy efficiency, energy sustainability and energy security. As part of our integrated approach towards energy planning, energy justice will also be a key objective in itself.

Referring to the Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi's address to the UN Climate Action Summit 2019 last week in New York, where he spelt out the elements of approach to meet energy demand keeping in view India's strong commitment to COP 21 and sustainable development, Mr Pradhan said that India will increase the share of non-fossil fuels, by increasing renewable energy capacity to much beyond 175 GW by 2022, and later upto 450 GW. He further added that the Government will make our transport sector green through e-mobility. The proportion of the biofuel blend in petrol and diesel will be increased. As we reorient energy policies, in this age of unprecedented energy transition, we will lay emphasis on advancing inclusive access, secure, affordable and sustainable energy services.

The minister expressed the Government's determination to end energy poverty in the country, which is evident from the outcomes of path-breaking policies and initiatives taken during the last five years, and also those set in motion since June this year. He said that in this pursuit, we are paying close attention to innovation and clean energy.

Mentioning about the Prime Minister's vision of Neighbourhood First, Mr Pradhan said that India has taken initiatives to develop mutually beneficial energy corridors with other South Asian countries. The commissioning of the India-Nepal Petroleum Products Pipeline last month marks a new era in this regard. India is also partnering with Maldives in changing over to energy efficient LED bulbs. He added that there is a definite need for integrating energy sources be it petroleum products, LPG or LNG in South Asia through regional electricity and gas grids. We are also working to reduce the carbon footprints by transfer of hydropower from Nepal and Bhutan to India, and to the countries in the region.

On the issue of moving towards the gas economy, Mr Pradhan said that over 16,000 km of gas pipeline has been built and an additional 11,000 km is under construction. With the tenth bid round for City Gas Distribution completed, it will cover over 400 districts and will extend coverage to 70 percent of our population. A Blue Flame Revolution is transforming India's energy landscape. LPG coverage has reached more than ninety percent from fifty-five percent five years ago. The eighty millionth LPG connection was handed over last month. “Our success in Ujjwala programme has attracted enormous global interest, including many developing countries keen to emulate this model of providing clean cooking fuel. Our immediate objective will be to enhance use of LPG in the South Asia region. We will, for the first time, be sourcing LPG from Bangladesh for our north-eastern states.”, he said. Just two days back, the National Capital Region moved into BS-VI grade fuel, equivalent to EURO VI standards, six months ahead of time. Cleaner fuels for transportation will continue to be an area of high priority. 

Mr Pradhan said that India is now leading the global movement in embracing renewable energy sources. India's energy diplomacy resulted in the establishment of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) . Mr Pradhan added that we are leading by example, with a rapid growth in installed solar generating capacity targeted to reach 100 GW by 2022. This is made possible with significant improvements in technology, price and performance. Moreover, creative business models have spurred investment in this sector. We are well on our way to achieve this target. India has more than doubled the renewable power installed in the country to 82 GW in 2019 during the last 5 years. To gear up for significant expansion of RE power, apart from MNRE, institutions such as IREDA, SECI, as well as state and central regulators would be promoting their relative roles.

Mr Pradhan also highlighted the Prime Minister Modi's vision of creating agri-entrepreneurs by transforming annadata to urjadata, which is another major transformative change taking shape in the country. Alternative fuels like ethanol, second-generation ethanol, compressed biogas and bio-diesel, will help in reducing country's crude oil import dependence. 

The Minister said that another testimony of success in major path-breaking initiatives is evident from the fact that India recorded the highest growth of foreign energy investments anywhere in the world, which touched 85 billion dollars. “ Our target to transform India to a 5 trillion dollars' economy by 2024 requires a gradual and a measured energy transition by deploying all sources of energy.We seek to provide energy justice to all in the country with wider supply of environmentally-compatible energy sources to its vast population.', Mr Pradhan said.