New Delhi: While asserting that India will have to balance its energy transition with a simultaneous increase in energy demand, Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan said that India will chart its own strategy and pathway for its green energy transition. He added that by balancing accessibility and affordability, India is creating a global model of energy justice. Addressing the joint conferences of the 11th World PetroCoal Congress and World Future Fuel Summit on Tuesday, Pradhan said, "Yes, there's a debate on how to move ahead. India is the third-largest energy consumer of the globe today. Our energy consumption is one-third of the global average. These are two different statistics. Even though India is the third-largest consumer of energy, still our energy consumption is very low, minimal when compared to other developed countries."
Talking about the global energy outlook, the minister said that recently released reports by the International Energy Agency (IEA), OPEC and British Petroleum indicate that the world total primary energy demand would increase at less than 1 percent per annum till 2040, whereas India's energy demand would grow at about 3 percent per annum till 2040.
Pradhan said that ensuring access to clean cooking fuel to every household of the country has been a key strategy of the Modi government for ending energy poverty. During the last six years, the LPG landscape has completely transformed. The number of LPG Customers in 2014 was 14.5 crore, but it has gone up to almost 29 crore in 2021. LPG coverage has increased in less than 7 years from 56 percent to almost 99.5 percent. Ujjwala Yojana, which provided 8 crore connections to BPL households in a record time, has been a catalyst of socio-economic change and women empowerment. He said that provisions for additional 1 crore LPG connections under PMUY announced in Budget 2021 this year will help in achieving universal coverage.
Pradhan said that to reduce vehicular pollution, India leapfrogged from BS-IV to BS-VI emission standards from April 1, 2020 throughout the country. BS-VI, equivalent to Euro-VI norms and as good as CNG, has improved auto fuel quality by reducing sulphur content from 50 ppm in BS-IV to 10 ppm in BS-VI. India has joined a select league of nations having world's cleanest EURO-VI-compliant petrol and diesel. Oil PSUs have invested Rs 34,000 crore to upgrade plants for producing BS-VI fuel, said the minister.
Talking about the impetus on gas-based economy, Pradhan said, "India is committed to creating a gas-based economy." He added that an investment of US$60 billion is underway for developing gas infrastructure, which includes pipelines, city gas distribution and LNG regasification terminals. He said that One Nation, One-Gas Grid will connect all corners of India. He mentioned about Pradhan Mantri Urja Ganga Gas Pipeline in eastern states and Indradhanush Gas Pipeline covering entire North Eastern States. CGD network is being expanded to provide equitable access to clean cooking fuel across India.
The minister said that ethanol procurement by OMCs has gone up to 325 crore litre now. The ethanol-blending percentage has increased to 8.5 percent now, and the aim is to have 10 percent blending by 2022 and 20 percent by 2025.
Speaking about Compressed Bio-Gas (CBG) from biomass, Pradhan said that 5,000 such plants with a target of 15 MMT equivalent per year will be set up, creating wealth from waste. "OMCs are offering assured price and offtake guarantee to private entrepreneurs. A total of 1,500 CBG plants are at various stages of execution. The scheme shall effectively curb stubble burning in farms during harvest season which is a major source of air pollution," he added.
Regarding Bio-diesel, Pradhan said that we are also working towards conversion of Used Cooking Oil to Biodiesel in select cities. The aim is to have 5 percent blending of biodiesel in diesel by 2025. He said that Talcher coal gasification-based plant will be India's first coal gasification-based fertilizer plant with pet coke blending.
On the issue of promoting LNG as transportation fuel, the minister said that India became the third largest importer of LNG in October last year. "We are actively encouraging use of LNG for long-haul trucking along expressways, industrial corridors, inside mining areas, marine inland water-based applications."
Pradhan said that Hydrogen-CNG is being used to run 50 buses as part of a pilot project in Delhi. Budget 2021 has launched National Hydrogen Energy Mission for generating hydrogen from green power sources. "This follows Prime Minister Narendra Modi highlighting in November at the Global Renewable Energy Investment Meeting and Expo (RE-Invest) the importance of niche renewable technologies like hydrogen in the renewable energy mix. We are working on a pilot project on Blue Hydrogen, Hydrogen CNG and Green Hydrogen. Through technological advancements we are blending hydrogen with compressed natural gas for use as transportation fuel well as an industrial input to refineries. 50 buses in Delhi are plying on blended Hydrogen in Compressed Natural Gas," said the minister.
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