Government think tank Niti Aayog has made a case for a single regulator to govern India’s energy market to make ‘India’s economy energy ready’ in the year 2040. The National Energy Policy (NEP) released by Niti Aayog proposes actions to meet the objectives in such a way that India’s economy is ‘energy ready’ in the year 2040. “Coal and upstream petroleum sectors have lacked independent, statutory regulators. Due to several reasons, including strong presence of PSUs and limited number of private operators, it was so far not found useful to place the latter in position,” said the draft National Energy Policy (NEP) on which Niti Aayog has sought public feedback till July 14, 2017.
“But, now with increased private activity, the time is appropriate. Ideally, there ought to be a single regulator to govern the energy market,” it added. With regard to new regulators (coal and upstream petroleum), the draft NEP said the statutory provisions will be so made to provide for effective regulators. Noting that energy is handled by different ministries ie; coal, power and petroleum that have the primary responsibility of setting their own sectoral agenda, the draft also said, “An omnibus policy is required to achieve the goal of energy security through coordination between these sources.”
“This is also expected to mainstream emerging energy technologies and provide consumer energy choices,” it added.
In the light of the energy challenges faced by the country and the global energy related developments, the draft NEP proposed to set out the national energy objectives and the strategy to meet them.The draft pointed out that India is heavily dependent on oil and gas imports while also importing coal. “In so far as imports may be disrupted… In due course, we may also consider building strategic reserves as insurance against imported supplies,” it said. Noting that few state governments have taken a lead in setting up energy related institutions of higher learning, the draft NEP said, “A task force would be created with representatives from the aforementioned central ministries, industry bodies, sector skill councils and state governments to develop a strategy for the same.” Stressing that energy efficiency programmes ought to be evaluated against set targets which requires a robust data base, the draft said the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) would conduct a study directly or by an out-sourced agency.
“All key appliances, equipment and vehicles should be covered by mandatory standards and labelling programmes by 2020,” it said.
Awards and tax rebates for facility and enterprise energy efficiency are an effective way to create awareness and promote competition between consumers, the draft said, adding, “The existing Award scheme will be extended across sectors and states.” In order to capture the levels of energy efficiency in the states and also motivate them to perform better by challenging them, the draft noted that Niti Aayog would establish an index of states by rating them across a range of energy efficiency related parameters. In India, it is expected that in 2022 renewable electricity would comprise more than 15 per cent of electricity generated in the country, the draft said the share is expected to be much higher in eight states —Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan and MP.