Draft National Energy Policy

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Why in news?

The draft energy policy fails to consider several critical issues involved in the ongoing energy transition. The NITI Aayog’s Draft National Energy Policy (DNEP) predicts that between now and 2040, there will be a quantum leap in the uptake of renewable energy together with a drastic reduction in fossil fuel energy intensity.

Build Ur Basics

The draft National energy policy

The draft National Energy Policy (NEP) aims to chart the way forward to meet the Government’s recent bold announcements in the energy domain. All the Census villages are planned to be electrified by 2018 with the government investing $2.5 billion, and universal electrification is to be achieved, with 24×7 electricity by 2022.

Drafted by NITI Aayog in July,2017 and is out for discussion with different stakeholders.

Four key objectives of our energy policy:

  •  Access at affordable prices.
  • Improved security and Independence.
  • Greater Sustainability.
  •  Economic Growth.

Significance  OF THE POLICY

It foresees India’s power demand shooting up over four-fold.

The draft policy  has made a case for higher tax on big cars, SUVs and promotion of mass transport system like metro rail to improve air quality.

The renewable energy mix by 2022 is targeted at 175 GW.

There has been a mention on phasing out IC engine vehicles but not much emphasis has been given.

Analysis ( for Mains)

THE NATIONAL ENERGY POLICY

The National Energy Policy (NEP) aims to chart the way forward to meet the Government’s bold announcements in the energy domain

[i] ACCESS AT AFFORDABLE PRICES

  • Considering poverty and deprivation in India, access to energy for all at affordable prices is of utmost importance. We are yet to provide electricity to nearly 304 million people.
  •  The policy aims to ensure that electricity reaches every household by 2022 as promised in the Budget 2015-16 and proposes to provide clean cooking fuel to all within a reasonable time.  Competitive prices will drive affordability to meet the four objectives of the policy.

[ii] IMPROVED ENERGY SECURITY

India is heavily dependent on oil and gas imports while also importing coal. In so far as imports may be disrupted, they undermine energy security of the country. Energy security may be enhanced through both diversification of the sources of imports and increased domestic production and reduced requirement of energy. Given the availability of domestic reserves of oil, coal and gas and the prospects of their exploitation at competitive prices, there is a strong case for reduced dependence on imports. In due course, we may also consider building strategic reserves as insurance against imported supplies.

[iii] SUSTAINABILITY

It added importance and urgency in view of the threat of catastrophic effects of climate change as well as the detrimental effects of fossil fuel usage on local air quality. In India, sustainability is also closely linked with energy security. Our fossil fuel requirements, which comprise nearly 90% of our commercial primary energy supply, are increasingly being met by imports. This means that cutting fossil fuel consumption would promote the twin goals of sustainability and security. Hence the policy lays heavy emphasis on de-carbonisation through the twin interventions of energy efficiency and renewable energy.

A cut in oil imports

The share of manufacturing in our GDP is to go up to 25% from the present level of 16%, while the Ministry of Petroleum is targeting reduction of oil imports by 10% from 2014-15 levels, both by 2022.

Emission target

Our NDCs target at reduction of emissions intensity by 33%-35% by 2030 over 2005, achieving a 175 GW renewable energy capacity by 2022, and share of non-fossil fuel based capacity in the electricity mix is aimed at above 40% by 2030.

Responsibility of different Ministries

In view of the fact, that energy is handled by different Ministries that have the primary responsibility of setting their own sectoral agenda

SHORTCOMINGS OF THE POLICY

Coal

It has been estimated that coal-fired power capacity will grow to 330-441 GW by 2040.

This is in direct conflict with the declared twin goals of sustainability and comes ironically at a time when solar and wind tariffs appear to be reaching historic new lows.

The Aayog also forecasts that “’our coal industry will emerge as an exporter of coal” in the backdrop of the shocking drop in demand for coal from most industrialised.

Instead of focusing on phasing out our existing thermal power stations and replacing them with clean energy alternatives, the proposal to geographically locate power plants such that they do not damage air quality in human habitations makes little sense.

Gas

It suggests that India should try hard to construct the Iran–Pakistan–India (IPI) and Turkmenistan–Afghanistan, Pakistan and India (TAPI) gas pipelines.

promote LNG imports, incentivise shale and conventional gas exploration, replace LPG in urban areas by piped gas and divert LPG to rural areas.

All these are great suggestions, but most have been made earlier.

Transnational gas pipelines like IPI and TAPI have been under discussion for over 20 years. But they have had no success

Nuclear

The draft’s focus on Nuclear energy has been critiqued as they neglect concerns regarding safety & intensive capital investment requirements.

WAY AHEAD

Considering the calls for redoing the entire exercise, the government needs to consider the major changes to the draft when coming out with the actual policy.

The contradictions in the draft need to be addressed & already failed suggestions needs to be sidelined.

As articulated by some academics, the policy needs to be more specific with steps for implementation rather than as a framework vision document.

QUESTION BASED ON THE TOPIC

Analyse the Draft National Energy policy and its ambitions. Evaluate whether it is a comprehensive policy in meeting energy related challenges in future.

Source – The HINDU EDITORIAL (05/10/2017)

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