Roadmap to energy justice

Context: A pragmatic and balanced strategy has helped India to keep prices of petrol, diesel and gas under check.

How has India managed control oil prices?

  • When petrol and diesel prices went up by 35-40 per cent in the US, Canada, Spain and the UK, and despite importing over 85 per cent of its crude oil requirements and 55 per cent of its natural gas requirements, prices of diesel in India have actually gone down in the last one year. 
  • India has outperformed many of its neighbouring nations in controlling oil prices.
  • Centre and many states announced massive cuts in excise duty and VAT rates, twice.
  • Oil PSUs, absorbed huge losses to ensure that the massive hikes in the prices of crude oil and natural gas in the international market were not passed on to Indian consumers.
  • Subsidised APM gas for city gas distribution sector was drastically increased even at the cost of cutting down the captive use of domestic gas by our own PSUs. 
  • Imposition of export cess on petrol, diesel and ATF and windfall tax on domestically produced petroleum products to prevent refiners and producers from profiteering at the cost of domestic consumers.
  • India has also further strengthened its ties with countries like the US (energy trade has gone up 13 times in the last four years) and Russia to ensure a reliable supply of crude oil

Steps towards oil exploration and refinery

  • By 2025, India wants to boost its net geographic area under exploration from 8 per cent (0.25 million sq km) to 15 per cent (0.5 million sq km) and has reduced the prohibited/no-go areas in our Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) by 99 per cent, releasing nearly 1 million sq km for exploration.
  • As per consulting firm Wood Mackenzie noting that India could be the licensing wildcard of 2023.
  • India is a global exporter of petroleum products and its refining capacity is the fourth largest in the world after the US, China, and Russia. Efforts are underway to further enhance this capacity to 450 MMT by 2040.

Expansion in Gas sector and alternative fuels

  • India is also accelerating its efforts to move towards a gas-based economy by increasing the share of gas from the current 6.3 per cent to 15 per cent by 2030.
  • India has connected more than 9.5 crore families with clean cooking fuel in the past nine years. 
  • PNG connections have increased from 22.28 lakh in 2014 to over 1 crore in 2023. 
  • The number of CNG stations in India has gone up from 938 in 2014 to 4,900 in 2023. 
  • Since 2014, India has increased the length of its gas pipeline network from 14,700 kms to 22,000 kms in 2023.
  • India took a giant stride in her biofuel revolution by launching E20 — 20 per cent ethanol blended gasoline — which will be rolled out in 15 cities and expanded across the country in the next two years.
  • India’s ethanol blending gasoline has grown from just 1.53 per cent in 2013-14 to 10.17 per cent in 2023, and now India is also setting up five second generation ethanol plants, which can convert agricultural waste into biofuel, further reducing pollution due to stubble burning and generating income for farmers.
  • National Green Hydrogen Mission has been launched with an outlay of Rs 19,744 crore to develop the entire green hydrogen ecosystem in the country and accelerate India’s efforts towards 4 MT of annual green hydrogen production and Rs 1 lakh crore of cumulative fossil fuel import savings by 2030. India is poised to realise its full potential to create a green hydrogen ecosystem by 2030.
  • India is targeting the installation of alternate fuel stations (EV charging/CNG/ LPG/LNG/CBG etc.) at 22,000 retail outlets by May 2024.

Mains practice question:

Q. Analyse the preparedness of India is securing energy for its future generation. What are the alternatives India is looking for ensuring energy security. (250 words/15 Marks

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