The government’s new National Energy Policy, currently in draft stages, will work on two-time horizons with focus on achieving some goals and fine-tuning others by 2022 so that all Indians have access to energy at any given point of time by 2040, according to an official familiar with the approach the policy will take.
One will be a short-term horizon going up to 2022 and the other will be a medium-term horizon targeting an ‘energy-ready’ India by 2040, he said.
“The primary focus of the policy will be on the short-term. There are five years to go to get there, so the government has time to discuss and make changes right away. This way, the government will be in a position to make ambitious and bolder changes, if needed, to achieve the 2040 objective,” the official said.The policy will have four broad objectives: access at affordable prices, improved fuel security and independence, greater sustainability and economic growth.
According to the official, the policy will take a holistic view of India’s energy needs given that the population of the country is expected to reach 1.6 billion, urbanisation is seen hitting 47 percent and the share of the manufacturing in the economy is pegged to double to 30 percent by 2040.The policy will aim to balance India’s energy demand on one hand and supply of various sources of energy on the other — be it the conventional sources like crude, coal and gas or the renewable sources like nuclear, solar, hydro and wind.
Fixing 2012 as the base year to calculate its estimates, the draft paper pegs the rise in energy demand to be of 3.0-3.7 times magnitude by 2040 with the electricity component itself rising up to five-fold. It recognises that there are still 304 million people without electricity and nearly 500 million without clean cooking fuel.
The draft paper has divided the energy consumers into four categories — businesses, households, transportation and agriculture. It has also identified seven areas of intervention – energy consumption by businesses, households, transportation and agriculture; energy efficiency; coal production; electricity generation, transmission and distribution; increasing supply of oil and gas including through acquisition of overseas assets; refining and distribution of oil and gas and generation and distribution of renewable energy.
The draft paper has identified renewable energy and energy efficiency as two key areas to work on to ensure India’s efforts towards energy security do not jeopardise its commitment to achieving sustainable development goals by 2030. The goals — 17 of them — talk about eliminating poverty, ensuring healthy life and education for all, increasing share of renewable energy, building resilient infrastructure and acting against climate change.