What is energy security?

India is aware of climate change, its impact, and why renewable energy is the need of the hour. To achieve the Net Zero target, it’s very important for India to attain energy security. To achieve energy security, India must develop an autonomous energy policy that considers every part of the industry.

At the Glasgow conference, India established a goal to achieve net zero emissions by 2070. Without first guaranteeing our energy requirements, it would be difficult to attain this goal. In terms of energy security, only then will we be able to claim to be a “strategically autonomous” nation and get one step closer to “Energy Atmanirbharta.”

What is Energy Security?

Energy security is defined as the uninterrupted availability of energy sources at an affordable price. Long-term energy security deals with timely investments to supply energy in line with economic developments and environmental needs. Short-term energy security focuses on the ability of the energy system to respond promptly to sudden changes in the supply-demand balance. 

Where is India in terms of Energy Security?

Climate change is currently one of the key factors influencing the global economy. A significant force that nations all across the world are finding difficult to ignore is the combination of rising temperatures, warning indications of abrupt climate change, and the mind-numbing IPCC forecasts.

Energy policies across nations are allotting larger shares for renewable energy that is likely to take them closer to targets net-zero targets. At the same time, planners are estimating the domestic potential for energy production in the alternative mode so that their country is not threatened with a crippling Climate. Climate change is affecting a transition where the question of energy security looms large in the minds of governments. India, which had begun liberalizing its economy more than three decades ago, is expecting substantial contributions from private corporations to ensure an energy-secure future.

India committed to achieving net zero emissions by 2070 at the COP26 session in Glasgow in 2021. The Prime Minister also outlined the nation’s goals, which include lowering overall anticipated carbon emissions by one billion tonnes by 2030 and obtaining 50% of the nation’s energy needs from renewable sources by that year.

The current energy situation in India will be an intriguing read in light of this statement. According to data posted on the Ministry of Power’s website that was updated as of mid-October 2022, fossil fuels account for 57.9% of the total energy we produce. However, renewable energy only makes up about 29% of the total. Over the past ten years, the percentage of renewable energy has dramatically increased, with solar power driving growth. However, it will be challenging to eliminate the dependence on coal, which currently accounts for 50% of all energy consumption.

Challenges for India to achieve energy security

If we talk about the challenges India is facing in terms of energy security, it’s basically on two fronts. The first is power generation and the second one is power consumption.

Energy Efficiency Challenges:

For a very long period, India has neglected power consumption and only has focused on the power generation part. Energy efficiency which is the key to achieving energy security is nowhere to be found on the ground, it’s only limited to the policies and files.

Just to give you a clear picture, we will take an example of ceiling fans which are one of the most common electrical appliances in India.

As per a report by CEEW, on average around 40 million units of ceiling fans are sold in India every year. These ceiling fans have a power rating of 70 watts. In India, on average, a ceiling fan runs for 8 hours and 10 months. Now it’s a matter of simple calculation that all the fans in India sold in 1 year will consume around 24 gigawatts of energy in just 1 day.

This is because the motor used in those fans are conventional induction motors. The global market has already adopted 3rd and 4th generation BLDC and energy-efficient motors, but India is still using the 1st generation conventional and high-power-consuming induction motors.

If all those motors are replaced by BLDC motors whose power consumption is just 35 watts, that 24 gigawatts of energy requirement will be declined to 11.2 gigawatts. A 50% drop in power consumption.

This is the status of just one electrical appliance, Indian market is filled with such inefficient electrical appliances about which govt is simply not doing nothing.

Power Generation Challenge:

Though a lot of things are happening in the power generation sector yet India missed its 2022 target for RE-generation. The road to power generation is not smooth for India. 

One of the primary reasons for missing the 2022 target was the decline of solar adoption by the residential sector. Now it’s very easy to say that common India is not adopting solar energy in the way it’s required, but if we do a proper analysis, we will find that the lack of solar financing was one of the biggest issues which India has not been able to solve in the residential sector.

See, people are already aware of the long-term benefits of solar energy, but they don’t have a medium to get that solar solution financed. Solar energy is costly, one can either pay the entire amount upfront or can get it via personal finance. Getting a loan for 10 lakh and more is easy but getting a loan of 2-3 lakhs is tough in India. Most of the residential solar is between 3 kW to 5 kW which after subsidy will cost anything between 2-3 lakhs.

Apart from the financing, the other challenge that India is facing is the lack of solar modules. In 2022 India increased the duty on imported solar modules by 40% that too at a time when India didn’t have sufficient module manufacturing capacity. Now in the present scenario, the subsidy is available only in the India modules but Indian module manufacturers are not able to fulfill the demand.

What India can do to achieve energy security?

Not just India, any country that wants to be energy independent needs to have an uninterpreted energy supply as per the demand. So India needs to fill the energy demand-supply gap.

  1. Deploying solar microgrids
  2. Promoting Distributed solar energy
  3. Investing in upgrading the infrastructure of Indian Module Manufacturing 

Well, that was all about energy security, why it’s important for India to achieve it, and what challenges lie ahead of India in this journey. 

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