Interviews | VOL. 9, ISSUE 57, November-December 2009 |

Adapting India’s Energy Needs to Climate Change

With regard to the emission norms especially for the thermal power plants, what steps does the Ministry propose to take to minimise carbon footprints and at the same time create enough sustainable power for the rising demand of the nation?

Introduction of new technology and enhancing efficiency of generation through mixing of fuels are a few measures to minimise carbon footprints in thermal power plants. National Electricity Policy aims to exploit all possible resources to meet the demands of electricity in an efficient and cost effective manner. To meet the future demand of electricity, the Ministry is keenly pursuing the development of non conventional and clean source of energy such as hydro and wind power, etc.

 

Coal fired power generation is contributing to large amounts of CO2 to the atmosphere. What investments/policies are being formulated to make the power sector greener?

Our strategy is to improve supply efficiencies, installation of energy efficient infrastructure, equipment and appliances. We are transforming the market to ensure use of cost effective technology in coal based generation, industry, equipment and appliances and commercial buildings.

 

What is the alternative fuels being used in new/upgraded power stations instead of coal?

Gas, renewable sources and nuclear are the alternative fuels being worked out by National Thermal Power Corporation for sustainable power development in the country.

 

Would you say that India is energy secure in a changing climatic regime?

The integrated energy policy made recommendations to enhance energy security keeping in view our dependence on energy imports and long terms volatility in the energy market. Therefore we are promoting indigenous and clean energy sources such as hydro and renewable. India’s energy intensity ratio at 0.16 ton of oil equivalent vis-a-vis China 0.22 and OECD 0.18 ton (2005) is better placed.

 

What are the future plans of synergising renewable energy with conventional energy regimes – such as wind power gaining grid entry?

The Electricity Act provides for a fixed percentage of renewables for power utilities to synergise in the grid. The Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) and State Electricity Regulatory Commission (SERCs) are formulating guidelines in this behalf. The renewable energy certificate mechanism is being worked out by Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) to meet Renewable Portfolio (RPO) obligations.

Certain regions of the nation consume more power than others. Such regions are therefore placed higher on the development index – with greater carbon footprints. Is it within the purview of the Ministry to map such development and provide guidelines towards energy efficiency?

Under the Energy Conservation Act 2001, designated consumers have been identified. The Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) is engaged in formulating energy efficiency policy and guidelines for implementation. The national mission of enhanced energy efficiency under National Action Plan on Climate Change being operationalised with a view to meet our energy needs as well as efficiencies for a low carbon growth.

 

India is using one of the lowest levels of energy and at the same time, we wish to replicate the development path of the developed nations. What are the solutions you envisage?

The solution cannot be achieved in a day or two. We are trying to introduce new energy efficient technologies and adopting internationally accepted best practices for growth of the power sector. To meet the objective of energy security by harnessing renewables and by introducing suitable policy reforms and institutional mechanism, we are confident to be able to achieve the desired goal.

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