Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas & Steel Dharmendra Pradhan has said that the inevitable shift in global energy consumption to Asia is a reality. Addressing the opening session of the 8th Asian Ministerial Energy Roundtable in Abu Dhabi, he said that we now need to ensure that this change is rooted in Energy Justice, which was articulated by Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi as most important component of Energy Vision of India.
Pradhan said that the Emerging Asia will be driving the world economic growth in the coming 20 years. In the global context, developing economies will drive 80% of the incremental global growth, with India and China accounting for more than half of it. He said “Energy access, higher standard of living and improved prosperity in developing countries will primarily drive the energy demand. It is important for the low income, low per capital energy consuming countries to have access to technology and capital when it comes to energy efficiency and clean technology. That will provide better energy security than short term interventions in fossil fuel supply and price.” He said that due to poor and imbalanced energy infrastructure, 400 million people in Asian region have no access to electricity, and rural residents have no access to clean electricity. Therefore, providing safe, stable, affordable and efficient energy has become an important task for governments of all countries.
Describing the Energy Vision of India, Pradhan said that it has been enunciated by Prime Minister Modi in 2016, and is based on four pillars i.e. energy access, energy efficiency, energy sustainability and energy security. “As part of our integrated approach towards energy planning during the last five years, India is placing enormous emphasis on energy access with energy justice as a key objective in itself,” he added. The Minister added that India has undertaken a number of path-breaking policies and initiatives during the last 5 years to realize energy justice for over 1.3 billion people in the country.
Later, addressing the session on ‘Advancing Inclusive Access to Secure, Affordable, and Sustainable Energy Services’ in the event, Pradhan said “In India, we have to improve availability of energy to over 1.3 billion people, whose per capita energy consumption is lower than the global average. Now, India is the third-largest energy consumer in the world, and its energy demand is growing faster than all major economies of the world. Our share of total global primary energy demand is set to double to 11% by 2040. We are preparing for such a growth path of energy demand in the country. This calls for making matching investments in the energy sector.”
Pradhan said “As part of our integrated approach towards energy planning, energy justice will be a key objective in itself. In this context, we are working towards the early realization of the UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7. A number of transformative policies and initiatives have been taken in India to realize the above objectives. We are significantly expanding our energy infrastructure – be it power generation, more renewables and gas-based infrastructure -pipelines, city gas network, LNG terminals. We launched a major campaign to improve access to clean cooking fuel under the Ujjwala Yojana scheme three years back, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi handed over the 80 millionth LPG connection couple of days back. A ‘Blue Flame Revolution’ is underway. LPG coverage has reached more than ninety percent from fifty-five percent five years ago. India attained universal electrification all villages. This year, India aims to achieve hundred per cent electrification of households, through SAUBHAGYA. Clean transportation is another area of high priority in India. We are jumping directly from BS-VI to BS-VI fuel by April 2020. India is moving towards a gas-based economy by increasing the share of gas from 6% to 15% in the energy mix by 2030. We have constructed over 16,000 km of gas pipeline and an additional 11,000 km is under construction. We have covered over four hundred districts and 70 percent of our population. There is already a cardinal shift to renewable energy sources. Our target is 175 GW by 2022, with solar target of 100 GW by 2022. We are promoting alternative fuels like ethanol and bio-diesel in a big way. A National Bio-Fuel Policy 2018 was unveiled, targeting 20% blending of ethanol in petrol and 5% blending of bio-diesel in diesel by 2030.” He informed the gathering that India joined the elite group of nations in August 2018 to operate a flight running on biofuel.
On the sidelines of the 8th Asian Ministerial Energy Roundtable in Abu Dhabi, Dharmendra Pradhan also held a series of bilateral discussions with leaders from other countries. He met his UAE counterpart Suhail Mohamed Faraj Al Mazrouei, Minister of Energy and Industry.