The joint decision of India and the United States to step up efforts to make low-cost energy accessible to nearly 200 million people in India at the India-US Energy Dialogue has struck a positive note. These are the people who do not have access to any source of energy.
“I am delighted that the US and India are partnering on so many issues related to energy. We are looking at innovative financing solution for renewable energy,” said Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal. He was speaking at the conclusion of the India-US Energy Dialogue, which was held on the sidelines of the inaugural India-US Strategic and Commercial Dialogue.
The two countries explored the prospects of cooperation in several projects including research, energy storage, carbon sequester, carbon capturing along with discussing a road map to take the process forward. India is the world’s fastest growing economy and Asia’s third largest economy but is energy starved. To meet its demand for growing consumption, India has been enhancing cooperation in the energy sector with energy rich countries worldwide.
With many parts of India grappling with power shortage, the Indian side stressed upon the country’s aim of providing 24×7 power across the country by 2019 by creating sustainable and cost effective infrastructure, which is inclusive of clean energy solutions.
The two countries also focused on cooperation in shale gas. Considering that India has proven reserves of shale gas and the United States has expertise in shale gas extraction it would be important to enhance cooperation in this area. Collaboration in the area of fracking of shale gas, especially waterless fracking in India was identified as an area of future cooperation under the Energy Dialogue.
Fracking is the process of drilling into the earth before a high-pressure water mixture is directed at the rock to release the gas inside. Water, sand and chemicals are injected into the rock at high pressure, which allows the gas to flow out to the head of the well.
The power sector has been the primary driver for energy demand growth in India. This is attributable to the soaring demand for electricity for industry, residential and commercial activities. According to an estimate of the International Energy Agency, the share of the power sector in energy demand could be around 42 per cent by 2035.
“Insisting that India is committed to pursuing a green path to growth, he elaborated on the government’s ambitious plans for deployment of 175 GW Renewable Power capacities by 2022, including 100 GW of solar and 60 GW of wind, which may require an investment of around USD 150 billion in the next seven years,” Mr Goyal said.
If low cost-energy becomes accessible to 200 million people, it would be a major game changer in India and would help in improving the quality of life for a sizeable population.
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