Spotlight Activity: Draft National Energy Policy
In 2017, a new national draft energy policy was placed. But we don’t know if it is finalized yet. The policy focuses on two horizons: a short-term horizon going up to 2022 and a medium-term going all the way up to 2040.
Various agencies need to implement this. However, since the Policy has been framed by the Niti Aayog, India’s premier planning body, it would perhaps be responsible for coordinating between various departments and agencies.
The 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, and universal electrification is to be achieved, with 24×7 electricity by 2022. 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.
India’s Paris Agreement NDCs targets achieving a reduction of emissions intensity by 33%-35% by 2030 over 2005, and a 175 GW renewable energy capacity by 2022. The new policy also calls for a share of non-fossil fuel based capacity in the electricity mix at above 40% by 2030. The policy is planning to focus on all sources of energy including fossil fuels and renewable sources in the coming years.
With nearly 304 million Indians without access to electricity, and about 500 million people, still dependent on solid bio-mass for cooking, it may be acknowledged that the country has to still go a long way on securing its energy security objective. While India strives to achieve a double digit growth rate in its national income, making clean energy available to all of its citizens, ought to be included as a key component of the poverty alleviation programmes.
“India is well on track to achieve its pre-2020 climate goal and the country will also meet its target of installing 175GW of renewable energy by 2022,” said Union environment minister Harsh Vardhan recently while releasing his ministry’s brief overview on various initiatives taken towards combating and adapting to climate change.
Agencies like Climate Action Tracker have been ranking India’s energy plans as positive and ambitious. However, there are grey areas in the Draft National Energy Policy that raise concerns about its adverse impacts on the environment. While this policy aims at curbing imports by increasing production of renewable energy in the country fivefold to 300 billion units by 2019, it also aims at tripling coal production to 1.5 billion tonnes. The consumption of coal has been estimated to grow to around 330-441 GW by the year 2040 which contradicts the aim of shifting towards renewable sources of energy like wind and solar plants.
Status: Standing Still
While the Draft Energy Policy 2017 shows a good intention towards transition to renewable energy sources, it lacks a lot of clarity on fossil fuel phase out. It is also ridden with several contradictions that makes the renewable energy targets look ambiguous and unclear. Climate Scorecard therefore gives it a Two Star rank.
Please send the following message to the policymaker(s) below.
Dear Dr. Kumar,
Please organize extensive discussions across the nation by involving all stakeholders in redrafting the National Energy Policy and give a clearly cut phase out plan for fossil fuel energy sources. The Niti Aayog needs also to clarify its stand on hydroelectric projects, which are currently categorized as green energy sources. Actually, most of the large dam and reservoir based hydroelectric projects have numerous negative impacts on the ecology and well being of local/indigenous communities.
Dr. Rajiv Kumar, Vice Chairman, Niti Aayog
Twitter handle of Amitabh Kant, CEO, Niti Aayog: @amitabhk87
Twitter handle of Niti Aayog: @NITIAayog
Twitter handle of Niti Aayog Energy Wing: @Energy_NITI
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