Friday, May 13, 2022

‘Energy transition should place reskilling of people engaged in coal sector at the centre’

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  • Need to strategise energy transition from skill development perspective, industry should take necessary steps: Additional Secretary, Ministry of Coal
  • States should formulate a National Plan to reskill people, ascertaining that 8-9 lakh people are employed in coal sector in West Bengal itself, said Additional Chief Secretary

New Delhi: While stressing that coal will continue to play a role in India’s energy transition, Rajnath Ram, Adviser (Energy), Niti Aayog, said on Wednesday that human development and reskilling of people engaged in the coal sector should be placed at the centre of energy transition. Addressing a webinar on ‘Development of Skill action plan for fueling transition from coal-based power plants to renewable energy in India,’ he said that energy transition towards clean sources and a low emission energy system is undoubtedly a priority for the country.

“Four factors would play a critical role in India’s energy transition from fossil fuel usage to cleaner, renewable energy… increasing electrification, higher penetration of cleaner fuels, accelerated adoption of renewable energy and rising digitisation and material efficiency,” said the Niti Aayog top official.

‘Important to plan energy transition from skill development perspective’

M Nagaraju, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Coal, said, “It is important to strategise and plan the energy transition from skill development perspective and it is heartening to see that industry is recognising the requirement of skill development and taking initiatives towards that.”

Nagaraju mentioned that collaboration of technological advancements, financial enablement, skill development and institutional framework would be critical for the energy transition that the country has embarked upon.

‘Energy transition will create huge opportunity for job creation’

Praveen Saxena, CEO, Skill Council for Green Jobs said, “India has agreed to abide to the NDC targets in CoP21 and revised its targets in CoP26. This has translated into a huge opportunity for job creation in the country.” He further added that about two crore additional jobs will be created by 2030 due to transition towards renewable energy / clean energy. New opportunities from green growth to green job are opening up for start-ups and youth in the country, he added.

Emphasising on the need for just transition, Vipul Tuli, Chair FICCI Power Committee and CEO-South Asia, Sembcorp Industries said, “The shift away from coal will have far reaching implications for the country. The action plan and cost of reskilling, redeploying and rehabilitating workers from the coal sector assumes importance at a national and multilateral level as part of India’s just energy transition.” During this transition, there is a need to balance development and decarbonisation goals, while ensuring livelihoods of communities and workers dependent on the coal sector, he added.

S Suresh Kumar, Additional Chief Secretary, government of West Bengal, said that to meet India’s CoP26 commitments, India’s move towards decarbonisation, and adoption of Renewable Energy would entail reducing the country’s dependence on coal. He further added that best practices in skilling should be imparted to workers in coal sector. “States should formulate a National Plan to reskill people for the transition, ascertaining that 8-9 lakh people are employed in coal sector in West Bengal itself,” he added.

AK Rajput, Chief Engineer, R&D Division, Central Electricity Authority (CEA), said, “By electrifying the rural areas in the country with distributed renewable energy technologies, employment opportunities can be created at native places.” He advocated for a just energy transition and added that both the Central government and state governments will have a major role to play in deciding the long-term policy and ensuring smooth transition of jobs, as we move towards renewable energy.

‘Govt dedicated to developing skilling ecosystem for RE ecosystem’

Dr Vasantha Thakur, Director, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), highlighted the job opportunities in the renewable energy sector. “India, by enhancing the clean energy target from 175 GW of renewable energy by 2022 to 500 GW of non-fossil fuel energy, with around 450 GW of renewable energy by 2030 will not only help to address the issue of climate change but would also increase the green jobs potential in the country,” she added.  Dr Thakur further added that Ministry of New and Renewable Energy is focusing on dedicated skilling programmes at grass root level on developing skilling ecosystem in the country for the renewable energy ecosystem.

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