India’s Energy Policy in the Indo-Pacific Region



INDIA HAS REAL POTENTIAL FOR THE EXPANSION OF RENEWABLE ENERGY.

COMPARED TO OTHER COUNTRIES, INDIA HAS ONE MAJOR ADVANTAGE: IT JUTS OUT INTO THE INDIAN OCEAN.

THIS ALLOWS UNCOMPLICATED, EASY ACCESS TO GLOBAL ENERGY TRADE.



1. INDIA’S ENERGY POLICY IS GEARED TOWARD ACHIEVING ENERGY INDEPENDENCE.


India is not blessed with the same resource wealth as some countries in the Gulf region. Similarly, the Indonesian archipelago and Central Asia have significantly more energy wealth. Nevertheless, India has coal reserves, both hard coal and lignite, which are of lower quality for thermal power generation.

On the other hand, India has a favorable geostrategic location. The Indian landmass juts out into the Indian Ocean. This means that India has easy access to the world’s hydrocarbon resources, including the oil and gas of the Gulf region. Because of its relative energy scarcity, India is trying to achieve a relative degree of energy independence, much like Germany is trying to do. This is one of the reasons why India is investing heavily in renewable energy.

Diversification of energy supply is the key to becoming more energy independent. A new structure is emerging that will give rise to an entirely new energy sector in India. There are many more energy fuels and technologies on the market. Slowly but surely, the energy industry is modernizing. Especially the construction of nuclear power plants is gaining momentum. But India is also focusing on renewable energy solutions.

In India, the use of biomass and biogas is of enormous importance, for the energy industry. Biogas and biomass enabled farmers scattered in different regions to meet their own energy needs.

Biogas has helped local farmers meet their electricity needs, without which they would not have such a high-calorie, high-energy fuel to heat their cookstoves. This is an important step towards further decentralization of the Indian energy sector. India, unlike many other developing countries, has a sophisticated strategy in this regard.


2. WASTE-TO-ENERGY IS SEEN AS A GOOD WAY TO DECENTRALIZE THE ENERGY SYSTEM. THE SAME APPLIES TO SOLAR ENERGY.


It is often forgotten that India is still mostly an agricultural country based on the self-sufficiency of the population. The majority of the Indian population continues to work in agriculture. This results in a twofold division of the energy supply, so to speak.

On the one hand, we see that India wants to ensure that sufficient energy is available in rural regions. This means that the government must ensure that energy is available all year round and remains affordable. On the other hand, the government is creating new energy solutions in urban areas to meet the growing demand. 

India has set a goal of installing solar panels on rooftops. This is a very sensible and cost-effective way to supply the population with energy. Basically, people can produce their own electricity this way. In this way, they reduce their dependence on the power grid. Indian energy companies are aware that renewable energies still play too small a role in the country’s energy supply.

Most of its electricity supply is from fossil fuels, particularly oil and coal. It makes a lot of sense for India to take advantage of the fossil fuel reserves that exist. India still has its own coal reserves. Meanwhile, India’s high-grade coal reserves are becoming increasingly scarce.

What we can see is that the share of renewable energy in the country’s total electricity supply is steadily increasing. Wind and solar energy is growing fast. Some of the largest solar parks in the world are located in India. The goal is to take advantage of these favorable conditions for solar energy in areas with hot, sunny climates with strong radiation.

Areas like Rajasthan are well suited for solar energy production to generate electricity and increase the amount of renewable energy fed into the country’s power grid. It may take many years for the share of renewable energy to have a significant impact on the country’s electricity production.

Solar energy will continue to grow and contribute to primary energy consumption. Solar energy has now reached grid parity with fossil fuels. Grid parity is the point at which electricity generated from photovoltaic systems is comparable to fossil fuels in terms of $/KWh. However, one must consider that the logistics costs of production, construction, and operation. These costs are often not taken into account.

In certain regions of India, solar energy is certainly not yet competitive. It will take a little longer for solar energy to compete with fossil fuels in isolated regions on a $/KWh basis when all costs are considered. Nevertheless, India’s southern latitude promises a harvest of solar energy. The northwest of the country is of great interest, as is the southern part of the country.

Energy companies believe that renewable energy can and will make a significant contribution to energy security in India with decentralized energy plants, some of which operate independently of the national power supply. In India, the problem with renewables is how to scale and mass produce them cost-effectively. There is also the question of how to interconnect the various components of the energy system across the country.


3. SMART METERING SYSTEMS ARE USED TO CREATE A RELIABLE POWER GRID.


An increasingly important goal is the development and operation of advanced metering systems in India. Smart metering and smart grid systems are particularly important. They will become part of a nationwide grid and enable India to control and influence the various flows of electricity. One can use the experience gained in countries like Germany with smart grid and smart metering technologies. These experiences can be easily translated and applied to the Indian power sector. 


4. THE CIVILIAN USE OF NUCLEAR POWER IS AN IMPORTANT ISSUE.


India remains committed to the civilian use of nuclear energy. The civilian use of nuclear energy is tied up with questions over the safety of such plants. There is also the question of uranium imports and waste disposal of radioactive waste.


5. SOLAR ENERGY AND NUCLEAR POWER ARE IMPORTANT COMPONENTS FOR DIVERSIFYING INDIA’S POWER SUPPLY.


Solar energy is likely to become a key component of India’s energy security. The use of nuclear energy means that India is exposed to geopolitical risks. A large part of the uranium is mined in Australia, Russia and the USA. This is inherently risky, because India depends on other countries for energy resources, which is exactly what India wants to avoid.


6. REFERENCES:


Asian Power, Renewable energy jumped to 16% of India’s energy mix, 2017, available at: https://asian-power.com/project/exclusive/renewable-energy-jumped-16-indias-energy-mix

BP Energy Outlook Country Insight India, 2018, available at: https://www.bp.com/content/dam/bp/en/corporate/pdf/energy-economics/energy-outlook/bp-energy-outlook-2018-country-insight-india.pdf

Devangshu Datta, Scroll.In: As geopolitics over crude intensifies, energy-dependent India could be in for an oil shock, 2018: https://scroll.in/article/898886/as-geopolitics-over-crude-intensifies-energy-dependent-india-could-be-in-for-an-oil-shock

James Bowen, Future Directions international, The Complex Geopolitics of India’s Growing Energy Needs, 2018, available at: http://www.futuredirections.org.au/publication/the-complex-geopolitics-of-indias-growing-energy-needs/

Rajiv Sikri, Institute of South Asian Studies: The Geopolitics of Energy Security and Implications for South and SouthEast Asia, 2008, available at: https://www.isas.nus.edu.sg/wp-content/uploads/media/isas_papers/37_WP.pdf


Many thanks for the shared interest in the energy world!



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