The 2017 National Energy Policy (NEP), drafted by the NITI Aayog, takes the baton forward from the 2006 Integrated Energy Policy (IEP) in setting the trajectory of growth for the energy sector. The value proposition of the NEP is to present a broad framework for the overall energy sector, taking into account the multiple technology and fuel options. However, the NEP draft comes at a time when the energy sector is seeking clarity. In the face of claims of surplus power, even as rampant energy poverty continues to plague the country, the sector needs clear signals of the future pathways. This need has become particularly pronounced with the rapid decline in renewable energy tariffs, and an associated and projected scaling up of grid-connected clean energy.
Highlighting the difference between the IEP and NEP, Piyush Goyal, Minister of Power, Coal, New and Renewable Energy and Mines, lauded the NEP for taking the sharp decline of crude oil prices, change in solar energy technology, heightened concern of climate change issues, and the government’s rural electrification agenda into account. However, apart from this, there is a stark difference in the broad approaches adopted by the erstwhile Planning Commission in framing the IEP and the NITI Aayog in framing the NEP. The IEP laid out a roadmap and provided a basket of specific measures to meet specific objectives. For instance, the section in the IEP on the advancement of renewable energy recommended the conversion of the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) into a national refinancing institution on the lines of NABARD, specifically to advance clean energy. The NEP, however, contains a list of general courses of action for the government — identified objectives that could be considered for implementation.