We bring to you the second edition of Energy Recap. It is an in-house initiative by TA to track and report on major policy developments in India’s energy sector. Here are some of the key energy highlights from the week (6 to 13 June).
Shunning the fossils, Is India ready?
The Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty Initiative has issued a new report titled “Fossil Fuel Exit Strategy” revealing that existing coal, oil and gas production puts the world on course to overshoot Paris climate targets. The report also shares that developing renewable energy in every region will aid global community to keep the temperature below 1.5 degrees and provide clean energy access to all. The report has re-iterated the fact that economies need to discontinue investing in the new fossil fuel projects to meet the above mentioned targets.
Few days back (in May), International Energy Agency (IEA) also released a report focusing on how just transition in the energy sector can help the world achieve the status of net zero emissions by 2050 and help in limiting the rise of global temperature to 1.5 degree. The report strongly urged to discontinue investment in any new fossil fuel powered energy projects. However, the report was met with severe criticism from Asian energy officials which called the proposal by IEA to just transition as narrow and “no one size fits all” for decarbonisation.
As Net Zero debate intensifies, all eyes are now on India. India’s Energy Outlook 2021 by IEA says that it is possible for India to zero out its emissions but only by the mid-2060s. However, several studies have revealed that India is amongst those very few nations that is on track to achieve its Paris climate targets. Also, if India decides to go Net Zero by 2050, it will be needing a drastic overhauling of its energy and consumption systems.
Given the present state of India’s energy system, it is not going to be easy. Fossil fuels continues to be the key revenue generation stream for the centre and states. Same was even proved right during the pandemic. When economy crippled due to Coronavirus, prices for petrol and diesel kept soaring. In some cities, petrol crossed Rs. 100 mark. State run Coal India is also one of the major revenue generators for India. Analysis by International Institute for Sustainable Studies (IISD) highlighted that India collected Rs. 872 billion in the form of the clean energy cess on coal production between 2010-11 to 2017-18. A study by Prayas Energy Sector has highlighted that the energy sector contributed about 18% to the tax revenue of the Centre and states in 2018-19, with the Centre’s dependence being greater at 25% and 13% for states.
Going forward, experts do feel that India is not going to do away with Coal, it will continue to be a part of energy mix. The new auction to domestic coal blocks is a testament to this fact. However, in coming decade, its use will go down. Also, shutting down of old and polluting thermal plants will play a key role with government eyeing to invest more on flexible, clean and green technologies.
The effect of climate change on economies remains well documented. Thus, action on just transition becomes even more critical for low carbon countries like India. India’s effort to rebuild its energy systems remains a big challenge but a doable task. It will provide India with an opportunity to pursue a sustainable and balanced economic growth.
Need for an efficient virtual hearing system at Appellate Tribunal For Electricity (APTEL)
In times, where courts are trying to go digital and solve the grievances, APTEL continues to selectively e-hear the matters. The court allows digital hearing only in urgent matters, leaving other issues, giving rise to pendency and huge delay. Digital hearing for all the matters will ensure efficient management of cases, especially when the apex court is pushing for digitalisation reforms at all levels of the judiciary.
Abhishek Anand, Executive (Legal), Noida Power Company Limited
(Views are personal and do not represent view of my employer)
OTHER KEY DEVELOPMENTS
Let’s have a quick look at some of the key developments from the energy sector:
India and Morocco co-chair the inaugural edition of Arab-India Energy Forum
The inaugural edition of the Arab – Indian Energy Forum was held virtually on 8 – 9 June 2021. The discussion took place under the co-chairship of India and Morocco. Deliberations happened on the adoption of best practices in the field of energy efficiency programmes, safe nuclear power generation, development of renewable energy, regional power sharing agreements etc. Regulatory policies, investment and training collaborations among others were also discussed at the forum. The members pledged for the transition toward clean and green energy.
The session was addressed by Mr. RK Singh, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Power, New & Renewable Energy of India; Mr. Aziz Rabbah, Minsiter of Energy, Mines and Environmnt of Morocco and Dr. Kamal Hasan Ali, Assistant Secretary General for Economic Affairs of the League of Arab States (LAS).
Source: Ministry of External Affairs
32 oil and gas blocks offered in the small oil and gas auction
The Oil Ministry has offered 32 oil and gas blocks with 75 discoveries in the Discovered Small Field (DSF) round-III. These small and marginal fields were discovered by state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) and Oil India Ltd (OIL) but they were not economically viable to be developed due to the companies fiscal regime and their small size.
The ministry also informed that it is ready to auction the unmonetized large oil and gas fields of state-owned ONGC and OIL to boost the country’s hydrocarbon production. These resource belong to the nation and deserves to be monitised by bidding them out to interested entities, said the Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan.
Source: ET Energy
16000 cr in five years: Maharashtra can save on retiring old and polluting thermal plants
A new report by environmental advocacy group Climate Risk Horizon has highlighted that Maharashtra can save Rs. 16000 cr in the next five years by shutting down old coal-fired power plants and implementing other suggestions. The report said that over 4,000 megawatts (MW) of coal plant capacity owned by the Maharashtra State Power Generation Company can be retired by 2022. The research study also shared that older coal plants are less efficient and more polluting, and will need to meet the 2015 air and water emission norms notified by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change by 2024 at the latest.
Source: Climate Risk Horizon
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