Background Note on ‘Energy for Tomorrow’

The global total primary energy supply has increased by almost 2.5 times since the 1970s when the world faced the great oil crisis. Due to this crisis, the need for energy security became more pronounced in all regions of the world. Consequently, countries began to explore ways to expand their energy mix. Though the share of oil and coal are declining in almost all countries, fuelled by evidence for anthropogenic changes in earth’s environment, oil remains as the dominant energy source consumed. The share of natural gas and renewable energy has been growing and these fuels now accounts for 23.4% and 3.6% respectively of the overall energy consumed. These developments indicate a paradigm shift in the way energy has been traditionally used.

This is amid rapid urbanization and industrialization in Asia-Pacific and Africa. The countries such as China and India continue to have a vital share in the production and consumption of energy. In Africa, the share of natural gas in power generation is gradually growing. There is rapid growth in energy consumption to support the growing economy, especially to fuel industrialization, urbanization, infrastructure development.

With low carbon technology and low-cost finance more easily available in the OECD countries, the change in energy mix witnessed in the OECD countries is happening at a much faster pace. Unlike OECD countries, a non-OECD country, such as India, has to focus on three broad areas— (a) greening of the existing energy sector and leveraging energy efficiency (b) enhancing investments in non-fossil fuel based energy sources (c) continuity of growth across all major sectors of the economy while ensuring a low carbon pathway. In such a scenario, the pace of attainment of climate goals in emerging economies and in the least developed countries cannot be accelerated without innovating technological and business model, in the energy value chain, supported by enabling policies and also support from the developed economies. In developing countries, sustaining at least the present growth levels is vital to ensure that the energy transition process doesn’t hinder ‘prosperity for all’.

Towards this objective, India has achieved a cumulative installed capacity of over 70 GW of renewables as part of its on-going initiative towards achieving a 40% share from non-fossil fuels in the overall installed capacity of electricity generators by 2030. Also, recently, the country announced that it has already reduced carbon intensity by 21% from 2005-14 against a target of 33-35% by 2030. The energy investments in renewables have already surpassed USD 10 billion in 2015 or one-third of power generation investments. Yet, as per estimates of the International Energy Agency (IEA), despite the enormous push for renewables, the ever-escalating consumption of coal, oil, and gas will set India as the demand center for almost a quarter of global energy demand in 2040. Therefore, a much more aggressive push may be required to go beyond what is already attainable and also lead the developing economies towards transitioning to a low carbon economic growth.