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2018 Priorities – Energy Security & Sustainability

Featured in December, 2017 Edition By Alok Raj Gupta
As we near the beginning of a yet another year, two clear and non-negotiable priorities have emerged – energy security and sustainability. Whether it is about maintaining optimum market dynamics for oil & gas sector or improving return on investment on renewable energy project, the world will continue to be hungry for energy. Having said that, sustainability priorities are also becoming increasingly non-negotiable, as we near 2018. Both these areas, in my opinion, are even more critical for India as compared to the rest of the world. India is at such a stage of development where energy supply to its billion plus people has been and will continue to be the most important goal. Also, India will not repeat what the west did – think about sustainability after dirty economic growth has been achieved. Therefore, a considerable journey which India has yet to cover of its development trajectory must factor in environment already, and hence the magic word for India’s growth story must be ‘sustainable development.

Of the 17, sustainability development goals (SDGs) of Agenda 2030, the seventh goal is of our utmost interest which links both aforementioned priorities. It asks for ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all. Energy is a key driver of sustainable development, without which most of the other SDGs cannot be achieved. Access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy is essential for economic growth, employment, education, poverty reduction, and health and safety.

A long-term strategy is needed and will have to include a significant increase in the use of clean energy sources, besides efforts to boost energy efficiency. Energy and climate are closely interconnected. Developing countries often face difficult trade-offs between financial, environmental, social and political costs of energy options, as well as other factors that impact the economic decision to pursue one fuel source over another, including the resources available, existing infrastructure, etc. Addressing both energy and sustainability priorities is a going to be challenging game, especially for a developing country like India. Here are some top strategies which are worth considering in order to sustainable development in the context of energy, in other words, addressing SDG#7.
Source: Envecologic

♦ Natural gas in the energy mix: A new and efficient natural gas plant emits 50-60% less CO2 than a new coal plant. Natural gas can also play a role enabling the broader integration of renewable energy into energy systems.
♦ Alternative energies in the energy mix: There is no doubt about the fact that solar, wind, tidal, hydro, biofuels and such clean energy sources have to be the face of energy future. The investment in technology and scalability must keep growing.
♦ Energy efficiency: The extraction and transformation of hydrocarbons is a significant energy consumer — the oil and gas industry uses 7-8% of the total energy, on an average, per year. Overall, energy efficiency means, more energy available without producing anything extra. It also means that much cost saving. Reducing energy losses, and thus energy costs, in refining, processing, transmission and distribution also creates financial incentives for efficiency.
♦ Integrated Approach: The energy and sustainability goals must follow an integrated approach where different stakeholders are acting in tandem for a common mission.

1. Creation of long-term energy access strategies that are consistent with the aim to ‘strengthen the global response to climate change.
2. Provision of affordable energy for domestic consumption through selling energy at a rate close to its cost and following other strategies which keeps the cost low in the first place.
3. Creation of attractive investment climate for new energy services, an environment that will attract a broad range of funding mechanisms.
4. Creation of the right policy and regulatory framework that supports the development of low greenhouse gas emissions energy sources. Commitment to the goals and financial rationality will play crucial role in ensuring that the energy and sustainability priority are suitable addressed.

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