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Power for All and Energy Security

How is energy related to the economy of a nation?

1. Energy indicates the living standards of citizens of any country.

2. Per capita consumption of electricity and the Human Development Index are correlated.

3. India has 18% of the world’s population but uses only about 6% of the world’s primary energy.

4. Four primary sources of energy are coal, oil, gas and renewable energy.

What is the status of the non-renewable energy sector in India?

Coal

1. India has an estimated amount of about 300 billion tonnes of coal reserves.

2. It is the main source of electricity in India and can remain so in the near future if explored and used efficiently.

3. India depends on the import of only coking coal used for making steel.

4. The imports can be reduced to zero by a proper policy framework.

5. Coal takes up less land for the generation of the same amount of power at the current level of efficiency when compared to renewable energy sources.

6. But coal is not an environment-friendly fuel and can end in the near future.

Oil and Gas

1. Oil and gas are not able to meet India’s growing requirements. It has to be imported.

2. The slightest increase in prices of oil puts heavy pressure on the economy.

3. An increase in the use of renewable energy sources can reduce India’s dependence on oil.

4. India needs a policy framework that encourages the exploration and production of liquid and gaseous hydrocarbon.

Why are renewable energy sources beneficial for India?

1. Sources of renewable energy are solar, wind, biomass, hydro, etc.

2. Renewable energy sources are environment-friendly.

3. India has a vast potential of solar and wind energy as it is located in the tropics.

4. Biomass energy sources are available from crop residue, cattle dung, human waste and food waste.

5. Prices of renewable sources are coming down.

Bio-Energy

1. Biogas sources are cattle dung, human waste and vegetable waste.

2. It can provide cheap and environment-friendly cooking solutions.

3. It has the potential to replace LPG in rural areas.

4. Bio-fuel can help in reducing the requirement of petroleum oil.

Nuclear Energy

1. It constitutes a significant part of the energy and electricity mix.

2. But for energy generated from nuclear energy to be cost-effective, the cost of nuclear reactors should be controlled significantly.

Challenges

1. Renewable energy faces issues of volatility, uncertainty, and seasonality.

2. Land use requirement of solar energy is very high.

3. Issues of volatility and uncertainty can be addressed by economical storage solutions.

4. But, the problem of seasonality still remains. Conversion of solar energy into hydrogen (H2) and methanol shall be researched and made viable.  

Where has India shown progress? 

1. Access to electricity has improved with 99.99% household electrification.

2. Clean, non-polluting cooking fuel (LPG) is also underway. About 7 crores LPG cylinders were distributed under the Ujjwala scheme.

3. India has improved its ranking in Energy Transition Index (published by World Economic Forum).

4. India’s generation capacities, transmission, and distribution capacities have made a huge progress.

5. The share of renewables in the total generation has increased from 6% (in 2014-15) to 10% (in 2018-19).

6. To further progress, energy security has to be improved by reducing dependence on imports.

7. India can diversify import sources and increase domestic sources. Strategic reserves can also be built as insurance against imported supplies.

Which are the steps taken for the energy sector?

1. Union Budget 2019 has allocated about Rs 16000 crore for the power sector for the current financial year.

2. The Government has set a target of providing an electricity connection and access to clean cooking fuel to all rural households in the country.

3. Initiatives are taken to develop renewable energy as an alternative source of income for farmers.

4. Performance of Ujjwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana (UDAY) is being examined.

5. The Budget has focussed on structural and tariff policy reforms to improve distribution solar efficiency.