Need Department of Sustainability in PMO


Vikram S Mehta, Chairman of Brookings India and senior fellow at Brookings Institution, a global think tank and a research body, has suggested that the Government of India should enact an ‘energy security and responsibility act’ and set up a department of energy resources and sustainability at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO)

In his column in The Indian Express (December 5, 2016) he wrote: “I’m bringing this issue back because the various initiatives that this government has taken to reinvigorate the energy sector will fall short of their objectives unless they are woven together into an integrated energy policy and implementation within a holistic framework. “

He said only an integrated operational plan can help the government with its twin objectives of meeting the demands for access to clean and affordable energy and its commitment to COP21 (Paris Agreement on Climate Change December 2015). The government of India (GOI) has committed to reduce carbon emissions by 30 to 35% between now and 2030. He added that this is urgent because any delay will get India into a ‘sunk cost trap’.

India will account for 30% of the incremental addition to the global energy demand over the next 25 years. And technology has narrowed the cost gap between fossil fuels and renewable. The cost difference between power from thermal and renewables has narrowed to over Rs. 2 per kWh.

In fact, Solarpack set a new record-low solar bid at 2.91 cents per kWh in Chile in August 2016. That beats the 2.99 cents/kWh big of Masdar Consortium which bid for an 800 MW solar power project in Dubai earlier this year.

Mr. Mehta stressed the point that renewable “Will make an appreciable dent in the energy basket only if it receives direct and indirect policy support from the government for not just power but also heat and transport in the operational plan.”

He stressed the point that “India will have difficulty meeting its climate change goals if coal retains its primacy in the energy basked. The GOI must therefore emphasize demand management and energy efficiency proactively support clean energy R&D and innovation.” He has also suggested creation of the office of Energy Secretary.

The energy security policy could focus not just on energy also its broader inter-linkages with food, water, environment, technology, infrastructure, conservation and efficiencies. He wants the Act to contain measurable metrics for measuring progress towards the provision of secure, quality, affordable and clean energy.


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