NITI Aayog’s Inputs May Give Shape to National Energy Policy

Think tank is in talks with stakeholder ministries to draft a blueprint for India’s energy road map
The government’s National Energy Policy will bear a strong imprint of its think tank NITI Aayog, which has already started preliminary discussions with stakeholder ministries to draft a blueprint for India’s energy road map to help meet the country’s growing demand for solar, wind, gas and coal energy.“My colleagues at NITI Aayog will contribute to the National Energy Policy along with key ministries,“ Aayog vice chairman Arvind Panagariya said on Monday , adding that discussions are at a preliminary stage.

He said power, coal and oil ministries will be consulted while framing the policy. The move is aimed at boosting power generation in the country from various sources such as solar, wind, gas and coal to meet the growing demand.

At present, the country has an installed power generation capacity of over 250,000 MW from all sources while the peak power deficit is about 3.6%.

The government has set an ambitious target of generating 175,000 MW from renewable sources by 2022, including 100,000 MW of solar power.

The National Institution for Transforming India or the NITI Aayog, set up with a primary objective of fostering cooperative federalism between the Centre and the states, will also work to help electricity distribution companies or discoms become financially stable by coordinating between states that are responsible for these discoms and the central ministries.

“Part of the solution to India’s energy problem lies with states as energy distribution companies or discoms, which are extremely critical, are states’ subject. Discoms are financially in an extremely weak state and if they are bankrupt, electricity producers will not trust them. This would be taken up by NITI Aayog,“ Panagariya said while speaking at the Indian Energy Outlook workshop, jointly organised by the IEA and NITI Aayog.

Highlighting that India has a growth potential of 8-10% over the next 10-15 years, he said India’s energy demands are going to grow by leaps and bounds.

“At an average growth rate of 8-10% India is likely to be $8 trillion economy in next 15 years as compared to $2 trillion to rival the Chinese economy.But this would come with a huge increase in India’s energy demands,“ Panagariya said.

Commenting on the consequence of huge energy consumption in the country leading to the issues of climate change, Panagariya said that India is not the largest polluter and still much of the responsibility for climate change lies with the US, Europe and China, where energy consumptions are way more than in India.

“However, India still needs to promote clean energy for its domestic needs and purely on health grounds,“ he said, adding that the Narendra Modi-led government is urging influential people to give up their LPG subsidy so that this money could be used to provide clean energy to households that are deprived of it.

Source: Economic Times; 14 April 2015
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