TOPIC: General Studies 3
In News: Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the 450-km natural gas pipeline between Kochi in Kerala to Mangaluru in Karnataka.
- Speaking at the event, he set out his government’s energy roadmap, envisaging more than double the share of cleaner natural gas in the consumption basket, diversifying sources of energy, connecting the nation with one gas pipeline grid and bringing affordable fuel to people and industry.
- He stressed that a gas-based economy is crucial for Atmanirbhar Bharat and work is being done in the direction of ‘One Nation, One Gas Grid’.
- The pipeline grid, will not only help improve clean energy access, but also aid in the development of city gas projects.
- The 450-km pipeline has been built by GAIL (India) Ltd
- It has transportation capacity of 12 million standard cubic metres per day
- It will carry natural gas from the liquefied natural gas (LNG) regassification terminal at Kochi to Mangaluru
- Laying of the pipeline was an engineering challenge as the route of the pipeline necessitated it to cross water bodies at more than 100 locations. This was done through a special technique called horizontal directional drilling method.
- The pipeline will supply environment friendly and affordable fuel to households, transportation sector and to commercial and industrial units across the districts along the pipeline.
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.
- Structural changes on several fronts may be necessary to overcome these hurdles.
- Improve capital inflows, grow domestic energy production, increase energy efficiency, and also accelerate the transition to more domestic sources of energy.
- Energy pricing should be freed up, 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.
- The legal monopoly of Coal India on merchant mining of coal was unwound a few years back, but no licences have been issued yet to private enterprises.
- A national level planning is needed to move away from carting country’s low-grade coal over hundreds of kilometres instead of moving power, which is cheaper, easier and less wasteful.
- The ambition on solar and wind power may need to be reset substantially upwards.
- Even if solar and wind capacity reaches 650 Gigawatts by 2040 (a nine-fold increase from now), they would only be able to cater to 4 per cent of India’s energy needs that year.
- Given the scale of required capacity, self-sufficiency in such equipment should also be sought.
- Further, given the natural fluctuations in output from renewable sources, the grid would need to be re-planned/architected.
- India also needs to accelerate electrification of various energy-guzzlers. Electric vehicles are expected to be just 6 per cent of cars globally by 2030: This may be too slow for Indian requirements.
- 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, otherwise the country’s medium-term growth potential could be at risk.
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.
- India is expected to drive almost a fourth of global energy demand in the next two decades. Suggest some measures to make India self-sufficient in energy sector and to alleviate the import bill.