India’s energy needs

The planet is warming. India is rapidly growing. Western world wants lower emissions. Warm times ahead.

Energy for an energetic nation

India has a tremendous diversity in the availability of various natural resources, mineral wealth and geographical features. Our problem so far has been to skillfully exploit these resources to our advantage. As a result, we have been heavily dependent on
fossil fuel imports for our energy requirements, and in the process, we have created for ourselves more problems than solutions! The more our economy grows, the more we become dependent on others.

India is projected to be the third largest energy consumer in the world after the US and China by the year 2020. Being poised for a period of rapid and sustained growth in energy demand, we need  to assess how this could re-shape the global energy scenario. There are multiple challenges and opportunities as India develops the infrastructure and resources to meet its energy requirements.

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The growth of Indian economy is calling for adequate clean energy sources in tandem. All the new policy initiatives like ‘24x7 power for all’ and ‘Make in India’ campaign will affect India’s energy outlook. Finance and technology are major issues as clean energy generation will require huge investment and technical expertise to ensure secure and affordable energy supply. Global technology linkages are crucial. The creation of the International Solar Alliance by France and India for cooperation among sun-rich countries (lying fully or partially between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn) to ramp up solar energy generation is a solid move forward. [See Bodhi Link later]

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Though refusing initially, India also agreed to ratify the Paris Agreement on Oct. 2, 2016 coinciding with the birth anniversary of Mohandas K Gandhi, the Mahatma, who believed in a minimum carbon footprint. India accounts for around 4.5 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Ex-U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon then said that 60 countries accounting for about 48 percent of emissions had already joined the agreement. The Paris Agreement asks both rich and poor countries to take action to curb the rise in global temperatures that is melting glaciers, raising sea levels and shifting rainfall patterns. It requires governments to present national plans to reduce emissions to limit global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit).

In this growth scenario, renewables like wind and solar obviously will play a central role. How India adapts to these will be crucial. This cannot mean that we give up the use of fossil fuels like coal (cheap, abundant, easy), but it needs to be ensured that the use of fossil fuels for energy generation should have lesser pollution and health hazards. Ensuring this is in itself an onerous task.

So the way forward is to create an energy sector which will be distinct, more sustainable, secure,  affordable and more innovative. The world is looking at India in view of its climate pledge wherein India has stated its intentions of following a cleaner path than followed by others at a corresponding level of development. As Mahatma Gandhi had said, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world”.

The path ahead is not easy and straightforward. India already has deep ties with international energy system, which we need to further deepen so that India’s influence and dependence on international markets through trade, investment, clean energy technology cooperation further intensifies. However, the Trump administration in US may take a direction different from the previous, refusing to stick to the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) as part of the Paris Agreement. That will affect the climate change debate in unpredictable ways.

We will necessarily require to have international partnerships to deliver clean, sustainable, reliable and affordable energy, which we need to develop further.

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    • Bodhi Links (for deeper study; Caution: some may be external links, some large PDFs)
      •  ##chevron-right## International Solar Alliance and India here ##chevron-right##  Ministry of New and Renewable energy – Policy here ##chevron-right## India at Paris  here

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Bodhi Booster: India’s energy needs
India’s energy needs
The planet is warming. India is rapidly growing. Western world wants lower emissions. Warm times ahead.
Bodhi Booster
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