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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

  • 14 January, 2023

  • 7 Min Read

ENERGY SECURITY IN INDIA

ENERGY SECURITY IN INDIA

  • Increasing the variety of energy sources, expanding India's footprint in exploration and production, India is concentrating on alternative energy sources and tackling the energy transition through a gas-based economy, green hydrogen, and electric vehicles (EVs) .
  • By adding new suppliers including Columbia, Russia, Libya, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, etc., India increased the number of its crude oil suppliers from 27 nations in 2006–07 to 39 in 2021–22.
  • India will provide 25% of the world’s energy demand by 2040 and would blend 20% ethanol into gasoline by 2025.

Energy security: What is it?

  • The goal of energy security is to reduce the vulnerability of crucial energy systems. It involves lowering the dangers of exposure to an outside element and so securing our energy demands. Energy security is also the continuous availability of energy sources at a reasonable cost.
  • Recently, the prime minister has also asked for the implementation of "Energy Atmanirbharta" by 2040, which addresses our "strategic autonomy" while focusing on "energy security".
  • The continuous and inexpensive availability of energy sources is referred to as energy security.
  • Energy security is defined as accessibility, affordability, and availability.
  • Long-term energy security involves making timely investments to meet energy needs while also keeping up with the needs of the environment and the economy.
  • The ability of the energy system to react quickly to unexpected changes in the supply-demand balance is the key component of short-term energy security.

How can we achieve "strategic autonomy" in the energy sector?

  • Prioritize the Availability of fossil fuels: the shift to a green energy system will be lengthy notwithstanding the benefits of renewable energy due to the slower rate of development of renewable energy infrastructures.
  • Therefore, we must keep emphasizing the need for safe and cheap access to oil and gas. By stepping up domestic exploration, this might be accomplished.
  • Nuclear Power: Radioactive fuels, such as uranium, are used to generate nuclear power. However, the country's uranium reserves are extremely small. India needs to have better partners who can help in achieving uranium needs along with, the membership of the Nuclear Supplier Group.
  • Blending ethanol is a step in the right direction for energy security and self-sufficiency measures. The Indian government has moved forward the deadline for mixing 20% ethanol (commonly known as E20) into gasoline from 2030 to 2025.
  • Taking down the barriers to domestic mining: Although India has some resources, like cobalt, nickel, copper, and heavy rare earth metals, we haven't done anything to hasten their extraction and processing. They are necessary building blocks for EVs, solar panels, wind turbines, and batteries.

What difficulties does India face in terms of its energy security?

Economic Difficulties:

  • The three most significant sources of primary energy in India are coal, oil, and natural gas. Due to insufficient indigenous supplies of these hydrocarbons, the nation must now import more goods.
  • The current account deficit (CAD) and rising fuel subsidies make the economy vulnerable.

Issues with Infrastructure and Skill:

  • Infrastructure needs improvement as well as a lack of competent labor for conventional and unconventional energy development.
  • India lacks the necessary transportation infrastructure to make energy accessible; for instance, pipelines could be a good approach to increase the nation's overall gas supply. Because it can be used efficiently in a number of demand sectors, gas will play a significant role in India's energy mix.
  • Due to its increasing reliance on imported oil, regulatory uncertainties, global monopolies, and opaque natural gas pricing practices, India's already precarious energy security is under enormous strain.
  • Through a variety of partners, such as the Indo-US nuclear agreement and oil imports from the Middle East, India aims to attain energy security.
  • Large multinational energy corporations showed no interest in the New Development Licensing Policy (NELP), which was an attempt to encourage foreign investment in domestic hydrocarbon exploration.
  • Hydrocarbon reserves abroad will need to be purchased with significant investments.
  • Due to delays in receiving regulatory and environmental approvals, coal mining is delayed in India.

What steps are being made to strengthen energy security?

  • By 2022, India has already committed to providing power to every home. The provision of electricity to all houses on a round-the-clock basis would be an even more ambitious objective.
  • The Pradhan Mantri Ujjawala Yojana should be supplemented with the installation of biomass pelletizing facilities and the distribution of "efficient biomass challahs" to deliver clean fuel to rural areas.
  • On the agricultural front, the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development's (NABARD) lending support and government subsidies are needed to finance the distribution objective for solar irrigation pumps.
  • To make potential non-conventional energy sources like geothermal energy, tidal energy, etc. economically and technologically feasible, they must be investigated and researched.
  • In order to encourage growth in the oil and gas sector in India, the Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy (HELP) aims to minimize the government's discretion in decision-making, eliminate conflicts, reduce administrative delays, and promote the notion of revenue sharing and marketing freedom.
  • In order to increase the economy's competitiveness, the tax system for the import and sale of energy on a thermal value basis needs to be rationalised.
  • Increase oil and gas delivery and refining. India should build new refineries to maintain its ability to export of refined goods.
  • In 21 states, 31 businesses are currently building City Gas Distribution (CGD) networks for the transportation or distribution of natural gas to users in the home, commercial, or industrial, and transportation sectors through a network of pipelines.

Way forward

  • Everyone in India is aware of the energy and environmental issues the country faces. In order to move toward becoming self-sufficient, India must develop an autonomous energy policy that takes into account every part of the industry.
  • At the Glasgow conference, India established a goal to achieve net zero emissions by 2070. Without first guaranteeing our energy requirements, it would be difficult to attain this goal. In terms of energy security, only then will we be able to claim to be a "strategically autonomous" nation and get one step closer to "Energy Atmanirbharta."
  • In order to fulfill its obligation under the Paris Agreement and ensure sustainable and inclusive growth, India must assure long-term planning.

Source: PIB


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