Gas Grid: Fuel for all
General studies 3
- Government schemes and policies
General studies 3
In News: Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone in New Delhi for City Gas Distribution projects across 129 districts which won under the ninth CGD bidding round held recently.
- The projects, recently awarded by the Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB), would cover 65 GAs to bring gas to around half of the country’s population in 26 states and Union Territories.
- The project has covered 96 cities and districts covering 46.5 lakh households and 32 lakh CNG vehicles so far.
Aim: To shift towards an environment friendlier gas-based economy that will lead to social, economic and environmental change and create an ecosystem that would help improve living standards and create employment opportunities.
How will this move help: The development of CGD networks will increase the availability of clean cooking fuel or Piped Natural Gas (PNG) and transportation fuel Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) for consumers
Are we moving towards a Gas-based economy?
Presently the share of gas in the country’s energy mix is just over 6% and the aim is to reach the 15% figure, while the world average is 24%.
- India is taking various initiative to bring down its carbon emission level. A number of initiatives have been taken in this direction like LED bulbs, BS VI fuel, Bio-energy, International Solar Alliance, Pradhan Mantri Ujjawala Yojana, and providing clean piped gas supply to more cities is also a step in this direction.
- Efforts are not only being made to increase the use and supply of Gas, but also to produce gas through agro-wastes and other products and including the same into the CGD network.
- Government of India has put thrust to promote the usage of environment friendly clean fuel i.e. natural gas as a fuel/feedstock across the country to move towards a gas based economy. Accordingly, development of CGD networks has been focused to increase the availability of cleaner cooking fuel (i.e. PNG) and transportation fuel (i.e. CNG) to the citizens of the country. The expansion of CGD network will also benefit to industrial and commercial units by ensuring the uninterrupted supply of natural gas.
Why Natural Gas?
- Natural gas is a superior fuel as compared with coal and other liquid fuels being an environment friendly, safer and cheaper fuel.
- Natural Gas is supplied through pipelines just like one gets water from the tap. There is no need to store cylinders in the kitchen and thus saves space.
- Natural Gas (as CNG) is cheaper by 60% as compared with petrol and 45 % w.r.t. Diesel. Similarly, Natural Gas (as PNG) is cheaper by 40 % as compared with market price LPG and price of PNG almost match with that of subsidised LPG (based on prices in Delhi). An autorickshaw owner can save Rs 7000-8000 on his monthly fuel bill by conversion from petrol to CNG. Thus, even on cost front as well, natural gas is preferable to petrol, diesel and LPG.
India’s Commitment to the World
This assumes significance in a country that is now the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases after the US and China. India has made a commitment in COP21 Paris Convention in December 2015 that by 2030, it would reduce carbon emission by 33% of 2005 levels. Natural gas, as domestic kitchen fuel, as fuel for transport sector as well as a fuel for industries and commercial units, can play a significant role in reducing carbon emission.
The Way Ahead
Indian economy’s energy needs will rise with growth, and demand for denser energy sources will grow even faster.
Structural changes on several fronts are necessary to overcome the hurdles related to poor management of energy:
- Improve capital inflows
- Grow domestic energy production
- Increase energy efficiency
- Accelerate the transition to more domestic sources of energy
- Of high priority should be freeing up energy pricing, not just in electricity but also coal and gas. Controlled and distorted pricing drives inefficiency in usage, and also inhibits a supply response at times like now, when rupee depreciation has made domestic energy so much cheaper than imported energy.
India is expected to drive almost a fourth of global energy demand in the next two decades. Not only should it be pulling its weight on global forums and influence global policy and choices, there needs to be significant investment in India-specific solutions.
LED bulbs: Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY)
- Designed to provide continuous power supply to rural India
- Replaced the Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana
- Aim: To replace all incandescent bulbs in the country with LED lights in the next 3 years
BS VI fuel: The Supreme Court banned the sale and registration of motor vehicles conforming to the emission standard Bharat Stage-IV in the entire country from April 1, 2020. It said – ‘No compromise on public health’. The country will have to shift to the cleaner Bharat- VI fuel from April 1, 2020.
Pradhan Mantri Ujjawala Yojana: Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana is a scheme of the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas for providing LPG connections to women from Below Poverty Line (BPL) households.
Connecting the Dots:
- Natural gas is one of the cleanest and most environment-friendly fuels having extremely low Carbon Dioxide emissions compared to other fuels like coal and oil. In this light discuss the measures taken by the government to transform India into a natural gas based economy.