While highlighting the salient features of National Electricity Policy, critically discuss if the policy has been able to maintain a balance between renewable energy and thermal energy. Give policy suggestions.

Electricity is very critical infrastructure and plays a key role in socio-economic development of the nation. National electricity policy is a framework guideline for the development of the power sector. The broad objective of National electricity policy 2005 was:  

  1. Access to electricity for all the households by 2010
  2. Availability: demand to be fully met by 2012 overcoming the shortages. Efficient, reliable and quality power supply at reasonable rates.
  3. By 2012 to increase per capita availability of electricity over 1000 kWh/capita
  4. To turn around the financial and commercial viability of electricity sector, and To protect the consumer’s interest.

However, the performance of power sector was not satisfactory. So keeping the climate change & current energy requirement NITI Aayog released draft National Energy Policy (NEP).  NEP focuses on four areas: 

  1. To ensure affordable energy access for all; 
  2. To reduce dependence on fossil-fuel imports; 
  3. To be low carbon economy through growth in renewable energy
  4. To Sustain economic growth.

The issue, however, is that over dependence on the private sector to achieve a target of renewable power and restrictions on thermal energy are not good for the nation in general and power sector in particular. Though the focus on renewable is need of the hour, however overemphasis on renewable energy will render part of coal based thermal plants idle. Return on investments in thermal plants will not be possible if they are sidelined. So the national electricity policy should be reviewed to maintain a balance between renewable energy and thermal energy. Appropriate policy along with people participation in renewable energy should be emphasized.

Question for UPSC Mains:
While highlighting the salient features of National Electricity Policy, critically discuss if the policy has been able to maintain a balance between renewable energy and thermal energy. Give policy suggestions. TOI

Published: September 8, 2017 | Modified:June 27, 2019

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