India’s Energy Story: Energy Transition and G20
The two-day deliberation of the first G20 Energy Transitions Working Group concluded recently in Bengaluru on 7th February with discussions on various energy priority areas for India and other stakeholders. The working group meetings coincided with India Energy week (February 6-10) which will witness speakers including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Saudi Arabia's energy minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, and the International Energy Agency's executive director Fatih Birol.
The back-to-back events on energy have opened the arena for discussing India’s energy story. This becomes even more important to note because of India’s G20 presidency. India's energy story has been one about inclusivity and sustainability. We have carried forward that lead even in our international deliberations.
While inaugurating India Energy Week (IEW) 2023 in Bengaluru, Prime minister Narendra Modi mentioned how India’s energy demand has significantly increased it will reach 11% of the global demand as compared to 5% currently. The plethora of opportunities for energy firms to invest in India comes from the increased demand and India’s energy transition commitments. Renewable energy investment in India is vital for meeting our international and domestic climate goals.
The Union Budget 2023 also saw the allocation of INR 35,000 crores as a priority capital investment toward energy transition. The allocation is in line with the government's objective to achieve the goal of net zero emissions by 2070.
These vital policy decisions are being taken to keep India’s energy transition in mind. However, our policies and commitments are also citizen oriented. The climate change mitigation policies need to be affordable secure and sustainable. By focusing on the hard-to-abate sectors which are sectors where decarbonization options are limited or expensive (production of iron and steel, cement, non-ferrous metals, and chemicals), Green hydrogen will play a major role in achieving the net zero.We are also aiming to become a global hub for green hydrogen production and exports. Under the National Green Hydrogen Mission, INR 19,444 crores have been allocated for green hydrogen. This is aimed at producing 5 million tonnes of green hydrogen annually by 2030.1
The ambit of G20 becomes essential to address the international community’s energy concerns. Through India’s lead in climate change mitigation discourse, as seen from COP27 last year, India has focused on climate financing because of our goal of being inclusive and leading developing nations. In the recent energy transition working group meeting as well, a session on Universal Access to Clean Energy had deliberations stressed the need to manage fuel prices and choice of technology to see that everyone on the planet has access to affordable energy.
The talk on energy transition becomes incomplete when an address is not given to the technology and financing gap. India’s domestic policies like Soubhagya, Ujala, and Ujjwal energy schemes were complimented by delegates in the meeting. The creation of complete access to electricity, clean cooking, and efficient lighting is vital in India and other developing countries' energy transition stories.
The increase in usage of fossil fuels due to growth needs has led to India being ranked as having the third highest yearly CO2 emissions globally. Nevertheless, when calculated per capita, India's CO2 emissions are among the lowest and even lower when considering previous per capita emissions. Similarly, the amount of energy consumed by an average household in India is significantly less compared to their counterparts in the United States, being only one-tenth.2 India is at a crucial juncture in its energy transition story as it seeks to balance growth and welfare with reducing its carbon footprint.
Our lead in the G20 Energy Transitions Working Group dialogues highlights our commitment to finding solutions to these challenges and working with other nations toward a sustainable energy future. With the increasing energy demand, India has the opportunity to shift towards more renewable sources and implement energy-efficient measures. The outcome of these efforts will have far-reaching impacts on India and the world as a whole.