India’s push for transitioning from fossil fuels to more sustainable forms of renewable energy will not lead results until reforms are done in power distribution and transmission companies. Elucidate.

India has an energy mix that is heavily tilted towards fossil fuels. Owing to the threat of climate change and international obligations, India is moving towards renewable energy.

India is adopting renewable energy in order to:

  • Meet commitments made under the Paris Agreement.
  • Fulfil obligations made at UNFCCC Glasgow, e.g. 50% of installed energy capacity will be from renewables by 2030. 500GW of renewable energy capacity by 2030.
  • Reduce global warming and climate change, that are adversely impacting Indian population.
  • Removing burden of coal import and associated risk of high Current Account deficit.
  • Addressing negative externalities of fossil fuel use like air pollution.

Reforms needed in power companies and electrical grids are:

  • Research and Development (R&D) to develop storage capacity for intermittent sources of energy (solar and wind).
  • Technological upgradation of grids to address stability issues. Further integration of renewable with thermal power is needed.
  • Integration of all five regional grids to address scarcity of power in any region.
  • DISCOMs must implement net metering (to tap renewable energy generated by consumers).
  • Increasing financial viability of DISCOMs through installation of smart meters and adhering to financial discipline.
  • Privatisation of DISCOMS can be tried as a pilot measure to ensure increased efficiency and professionalism.
  • DISCOMS should be incentivized to invest in strengthening distribution infrastructure to reduce losses.

Access to electricity is a prerequisite for human development. SDG-7 seeks universal access to affordable and sustainable energy. Reforming DISOM and power grids will help significantly.

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