What's New :
Join Our Open Mentorship Sessions, Register here...
UPSC Interview Guidance Program. Register here...

The path to decarbonization in the wake of the Russia-Ukraine conflict

  • Published
    2nd Jan, 2023

India must pivot the needle of its energy compass towards short-term energy security and long-term decarbonization.

Factors driving Energy Conundrum:

The international energy market has been deeply affected by the Ukraine conflict. There are primarily four factors that mark its impact:

  • Fragmented Energy Market: The energy market has been fragmented and energy nationalism has taken the driver seat in policy making.
  • Outcomes of the Ukrainian conflict: Irrespective of how and when the Ukraine conflict ends, Russia will not be allowed access to the western markets for as long as President Putin is at the center.
  • “OPEC plus one”- “Saudi first” approach: Saudi Arabia is clear about pursuing a “Saudi first”, non-aligned approach to international relations including with the US.
  • New centers of energy power: The New energy centers are emerging around countries that have a large share of the metals, minerals, and components required for clean energy.
    • China is currently the dominant power.

India’s Energy-Security and long-term decarbonization plan:

  • Discounted Russian crude: It gives India an opportunistic panacea but not sustainability. To ensure the latter, India must increase the productivity of our existing producing fields.
  • Leveraging India’s market potential: India must secure a long-term supply relationship with Saudi Arabia and an equity partnership with Iran.
  • Strategic petroleum reserves: It should enhance the strategic petroleum reserves to cover at least 30 days of consumption.
  • Pan-India national gas pipeline grid: The construction of a pan-India national gas pipeline grid should be

Dependency on Coal:

  • Coal will remain the bulwark of India’s energy system for decades.
  • Hundreds of thousands depend on the coal ecosystem for their livelihood.
  • Phasing out coal whilst environmentally compelling is not yet a macroeconomic or social possibility.

What is the way out?

  • Finding the Balance: The government has to find an energy transition route that balances livelihoods and pushes forward the green agenda.
  • Focusing on R&D: An increased R&D expenditure for coal gasification and carbon capture and sequestration technologies.
  • Regulatory Mechanism: The establishment of regulatory and monitoring mechanisms for measuring carbon emissions from industry.
  • The closure of inefficient and old plants and a decision not to approve any new ones.
  • Niti- Ayog, economists, and energy experts must determine the competitiveness of coal versus solar on a full-cost basis.
  • Thinking beyond supply and distribution: India must focus on demand conservation and the efficiency side equally too.
    • Europe will save 10 bcm of gas annually by simply adjusting their thermostats downwards by 1-degree centigrade.
  • Setting up carbon taxes

Other Measures:

  • Allocation of Funds: To upgrade the transmission grid network
  • Addressing structural Issues: Scaling up of renewables must be addressed.
    • Repair of the balance sheets of state distribution companies (discoms).
    • Easing the procedures for the acquisition of land
    • Removal of regulatory and contract uncertainties.
  • Diplomatic Solution: It will take decades to harness our indigenous resources of the metals and minerals critical for clean energy.
    • Diplomats should secure diversified sources of supply to reduce the country’s vulnerability.
  • Creation of an enabling ecosystem: It is crucial for developing and commercializing third-generation clean energy technologies like hydrogen, biofuels, and modular nuclear reactors.
  • Nuclear Energy, also needs to be pushed ahead.

What approach is needed for the decarbonization of the economy?

  • Breaking up into shorter periods: The planning horizon will need to be broken up into shorter periods so that new knowledge about emerging technologies can be incorporated into plans.
  • Setting up an autonomous agency: A technically credible agency like the Climate Change Committee (CCC) in the UK should be set up.
  • Targeting the power sector: The power sector has to be focused on because it is the biggest source of GHG emissions and also the easiest one to decarbonize.
GS Mains Classes GS Classes 2024 GS Classes 2024 GS Classes 2024 UPSC Study Material

Verifying, please be patient.

Our Centers

DELHI (Karol Bagh)

GS SCORE, 1B, Second Floor, Pusa Road, Karol Bagh, New Delhi - 110005 (Beside Karol Bagh Metro Station Gate No. 8)

Get directions on Google Maps

BHUBANESWAR (Jaydev Vihar)

GS SCORE, Plot No.2298, Jaydev Vihar Square, Near HCG Day Care, BBSR - 751013

Get directions on Google Maps

LUCKNOW (Aliganj)

GS SCORE, 2nd Floor, B-33, Sangam Chauraha, Sector H, Aliganj, Lucknow, UP - 226024

Get directions on Google Maps

Enquire Now