New Delhi: Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said on Friday that decarbonisation of the energy sector is picking up momentum in India as the country undergoes an energy transition. "India's transformation to a gas-based economy and developing indigenously produced biofuels, apart from renewable energy and energy efficiency measures, can potentially achieve the much-needed carbon reductions," he said, while releasing an in-depth review of India's Energy Policies report by IEA (International Energy Agency).
"Given India's development imperative, our thrust is on building oil and gas infrastructure to ensure access to affordable energy to all our citizens. The report notes that India is moving towards a gas-based economy," he said.
Thanking IEA Executive Director Dr Fatih Birol and his IEA team for coming up with a comprehensive report covering India's energy sector in its entirety, Pradhan said that IEA's findings are a vindication of the significant advances made in realising the energy vision enunciated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, anchored by Energy Access, Energy Efficiency, Energy Sustainability and Energy Security, with Energy Justice at its core.
Pradhan said that India is now the third largest energy consumer in the world.
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The energy polices already put in place by the government and also those on the anvil, clearly demonstrate our determination to embrace this energy transition in a sustainable and responsible manner, he said.
The Minister said that a number of pathbreaking initiatives launched by the government since 2015, have redefined India's commitment to sustainable energy. "Our key challenge as a developing country, with per capita energy consumption below the global average, is to meet the growing demand for energy. India made great strides in recent years towards achieving universal access to modern energy, including clean cooking and electricity, affordable, secure and cleaner energy for its people. The report captures well the progress made in achieving sustainable energy for all, as reflected in the UN sustainable development goal 7 (SDG 7). It does also highlight the persisting challenges to be focused in the coming days," he added.
Talking about the Ujjwala Yojana, Pradhan said that the remotest corners of India have been touched for cleaner fuel access under it. "We are also sharing our experience with our friends in Africa and Asia to enable them to benefit from the best practices in promotion of LPG. I do recognise that we have more ground to cover and also to ensure that the initiatives are implemented for achieving universal coverage in the country," the minister said.
Pradhan said that an estimated investment of 100 billion dollar in oil and gas infrastructure has been lined up. The gas pipeline network will soon be covering the length and breadth of the country; from Kutch in Western India to Kohima in the East, and from Kashmir in the North to Kanyakumari in the South. "In yet another important decision, our government has approved viability Gap Funding/ Capital Grant at 60 percent of the estimated cost of Rs 9,265 crore for the North East gas grid project to develop gas pipeline grid of 1,656 Km in the eight States of the North-eastern region.", he said.
The Minister said, "We are aggressively working to build City Gas Distribution Network covering more than 400 districts of India. This network will serve 72 percent of India's population with cleaner and affordable gas over more than 50 percent of India's geography. Talking about the proposed Workshop on Natural Gas on January 23 in New Delhi, he said that it will bring together for the first time all relevant stakeholders under one roof.