Growing demand of energy and India’s energy Security

The new government lost the opportunity to permeate the reasons for the soft oil prices, which helped taming the inflation and bringing down the CPI to below 5%. The government best utilized the opportunity by deregulating the diesel prices. The move would hit back the government as the oil prices in the global market surges once again. Though, is uncertain that it would bounce back to the original prices.

The area of concern is the vulnerable position of India’s energy security, as 35% of India’s energy need is met by oil and gas which costs 40% to India’s import bill. Energy remains crucial to fuel the engine of economic growth and hence its dependency draws the attention. It is high time that the government should start taking concrete measures to ensure self-sufficiency and kick start the process to revive the available resources including renewable resources.

 What needs to be done?

The hydroelectric power sector is still underutilized and power production is well below the total potential. The country has vast potential of hydro power because of the geographical diversity and the natural assets in the form of big and small rivers. The capital intensive sector needs to be exploited with the active participation of private sector through PPP mode.

The country has significant amount of coal bed methane discovered in the coal beds. The government should come up with a concrete policy for exploration and production of CBD. High end technology should be used to harness this source of energy economically. China’s CBD exploration could be taken as example in this regard.

The government must scale up the technology to produce energy from waste. It would handle problem of energy as well would make the environment clean. Many researches done in this area, but nothing substantial could be scaled up to make it cost effective. Policy framework need to comply with the negotiations with the industries at the time when it is setup, in order to make compulsory for the industries to build infrastructure to manage the waste and prevent it from further pollution.

Transmission losses are still very high in India compared to developed world. It needs to be standardized and automated to prevent the losses. It needs a critical infrastructure to modernize the power sector to save it from the brink of financial sickness.

The power purchase agreement (PPA) need to be expedited in order to utilize the capacity of the private producer which otherwise remained unutilized. The stalled projects in the country and delays in clearance make the private investor hesitant, as is evident from no new establishment in the last few years. The process need to be made smoothened which would restore the faith in the system and would create conducive atmosphere for businesses.

Separate electricity feeder for the agriculture purposes would better target the beneficiary and make efficient utilization of energy in the place most needed.

India is source of vast natural resources including the renewable energy. Its wind, solar energy programmes under various head, needs to be expedited along with better technology and innovations, to bring down the capital required and per unit cost of electricity. The renewable source would help compliment the power generation capacity of country. India’s pace of the power production is well beyond the anticipated demand of power over the next 15 years.

Hence it is time to act urgently to address the problem and create energy security architecture which makes the country power surplus and self-reliable.

Question for UPSC Mains:
Why it is imperative to have self-sufficient energy infrastructure with the growing demand of energy? What are the measures India should take to utilize its vast natural resources?

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