While we are convinced of the need for energy transition in India, it is very important that the energy we generate is reliable, clean, moderate and affordable to every Indian in villages and cities. It is also important, especially during the pandemic, that the energy we produce should be sustainable and be able to generate jobs. Globalization accelerated the need to implement programmes for renewable energy, energy taxation, technical regulations related to energy efficiency, international regulation of energy and natural resources policies to promote social and economic growth and sustainable development. Local production and utilization of energy is better than moving it around the country and this will make energy a visible part of the local community thus reconnecting people with the source of their energy to make it more precious. So, India needs quick and planned action to increase the share of renewable sources in upcoming years and it may help to diminish the pollution level. India targets to have 175 GW installed renewable electricity capacity by 2022 and 275 GW by 2027. Hence, focus on renewable energy will ensure that development can be beneficial and sustainable. It is time to switch over other alternative sources of energy and electricity mainly on renewable sources like solar energy, shale gas etc. As per the US EIA 2015 report, in India 96 trillion cubic feet reserve of recoverable shale gas has been found. India needs an eco-friendly industrial policy in advance which is necessary to counter the upcoming problems due to pollution and environmental degradation. So, we need to move in the direction of sustainable development and to achieve this sustainability if we need to compromise with higher growth, it must be.

Modern energy services, renewable energy, and energy efficiency are the key elements of the global energy system to provide sustainable energy supply for humankind in the 21st Century. The cost effective energy supply and development are linked together because the lack of dependable energy supply cannot bring socio-economic development which encompass social infrastructure, education, health, communication, transport, small-scale business development, inter-island transportation and power generation. The employment of local energy resources instead of imported fuels could enable the rural populations to develop their own sustainable energy supplies and provide sustainable livelihoods for their people. An honest assessment and open conversation over energy challenges in consistent with and supportive of sustainable development is needed for the world to meet its energy demand with reliable, affordable, and environmentally sound energy supplies. Unsustainable energy supplies bring hardships and economic burden to a large section of the world’s population.

Electricity consumption is used as a strong proxy variable to measure and observe development across the whole world normally in the country where good quality of data is not available or manipulated data is provided in the public domain. Electricity consumption per capita has increased drastically in the last decade and it is also important to notice that it was a period when India was one of the fastest growing economies with a growth rate close to double-digit. The sustainability in energy can be achieved through fuel diversity, supplier diversity, robust distribution of infrastructure, efficient delivery and conversion technology that produces zero carbon emission. Sustainable development for ensuring 3E’s- energy security, economic development and environmental protection. There are chances and obstacles to developing and deploying more sustainable energy supplies in the energy system which are influenced by an assortment of factors such as availability, affordability, security, reliability, safety, investment assistance in energy services, environmental friendliness and access to alternative technologies and energy sources. Adequate supplies of clean energy operates as a source of advancing living standards of the people, improving the quality and quantity of human capital, enhancing the business and natural environment, and increasing the efficiency of government policies.

“Biomass energy contributes to the major share of primary energy supply in the under developed and rural areas of developing countries on the pretext of its accessibility, low cost and storage capacity”. According to the World Health Organization, the use of traditional biomass energy for cooking causes indoor air pollution which leads to the death of 1.5 million people every year. But the recycled process involved in the sustained biomass energy utilization enables the atmosphere to absorb greenhouse gases released during combustion as biomass regrows. It has the potential to contribute to sustainable development and rural livelihoods while the agricultural expansion, logging activities and the absence of resource management etc threatens the sustainable supply of biomass energy.

Demanding systemic change targeting backing down of the petrochemicals sector is key to cutting down on greenhouse gases. Yet, as Auden Schendler writes for the New York Times, the individuals’ carbon footprint is deliberately made the focus for corrective action, a tactic that helps giant corporations to continue profiteering from their reckless exploitation of natural resources. Meanwhile, Prof. Yvonne Buckley of Nature+Energy of Trinity College (Dublin) discusses simplistic promotion of renewables should not be the response to tackling climate change, as is widely the case. She argues in the Irish Times that the strategy of ”mitigation hierarchy” is a useful approach to protect biodiversity rich habitats while shifting energy reliance to renewables.

India’s continuing emphasis on centralized production of energy, including in renewables, may lead her into a situation China finds itself in now: the government is being forced to dismantle thousands of badly planned dams. That is when a recent study draws attention to the high possibility that Great Indian Bustard may go extinct soon, if urgent corrective measures aren’t taken to tackle power lines that crisscross its desert habitat and electrocute these low flying birds. One promising alternative is distributed renewable energy, which Down to Earth highlights is not being promoted widely enough by the Government of India.

Vikash Prakash
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Vikash Prakash studied M.A Development (Public Health) at Azim Premji University, Bangalore. He is a Young Professional working with StartUp Incubation and Innovation Center, IIT Kanpur.

Anant Srivastav
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Anant Srivastav has studied Masters in Economics at Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi. He is pursuing PhD from the Department of Economic Sciences, IIT Kanpur.

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