International Energy Agency (IEA), a global energy adviser has come up with the report World Energy Outlook – 2018 (WEO – 2018) on November 13, 2018. The report, in particular, has appreciated Indian Government’s recent energy initiatives and has highlighted the brighter days ahead for the nation. It is an undisputable fact that India’s power sector has witnessed a complete overhaul in the last four years. The IEA report further substantiates this growth story and especially predicts a significant growth of the renewable energy sector in India. It also made an important observation on the progress of India’s electrification, its expanding solar energy market, use of clean fuel etc. Before we take a look at those important points, let us briefly understand the scope and significance of IEA.
A Brief About IEA
As stated in their document itself, “the IEA examines the full spectrum of energy issues including oil, gas and coal supply and demand, renewable energy technologies, electricity markets, energy efficiency, access to energy, demand-side management and much more. Through its work, the IEA advocates policies that will enhance the reliability, affordability, and sustainability of energy in its 30-member countries, 8 association countries and beyond.”
WEO – 2018 has ‘electricity’ as its main focus. It examined the emerging trends of global energy with reference to the rise of low-carbon technologies prompting a major transformation in the way electricity is generated in the world. With this background, it is meaningful to look as to what are its observations on India.
IEA on India’s Position in the World of Energy
1. IEA lauded India’s accomplishment in completing the electrification of all of its villages, as one of the greatest success stories in access to energy in 2018.
The report elaborated, “… since 2000, more than 900 million people have gained access to electricity in developing countries in Asia continent with 91% of the region getting electrified by 2017 compared with 67% in 2000. Of the total about 61% of this progress has happened in India only, making a remarkable progress towards its target to deliver universal electricity access.”
2. IEA report specifically mentioned the benefits of India’s rural electrification.
The report observed, “India’s achievement of providing universal household electricity access will improve the lives of over 230 million people. Electric lighting makes the use of candles, kerosene and other polluting fuels for lighting redundant, not only saving money (and providing more light) but also seriously improving health.”
3. IEA appreciated India’s successful effort in providing liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cylinders to poor households.
The report noted, “In India, 50 million free LPG stoves and initial refills have been provided to poor households via the high-profile Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana since 2015, and the government has set a target of providing LPG connections to 80 million households by 2020.”
4. IEA takes note of India’s efforts in expanding the use of renewable energy and especially its initiatives in the solar energy sector.
IEA observes that India’s share of renewable energy rises consistently from 5.3 percent to about 16 percent of the total energy consumption in the country. According to IEA experts, India now has the second highest growing market for solar photovoltaics. Though India remains behind China in solar manufacturing, the capacity of producing solar PV panels have quadrupled in the last three years.
In the global context, IEA estimation on solar trend goes like this – Expansion of solar PV capacity globally would be almost 600GW by 2023 (from 391GW in 2017) which leads to solar PV capacity becoming more affordable in the next five years.
IEA’s observations on India’s energy situation and future prospects is indeed a validation for the success of major efforts taken by the Modi Government in the last four years. The world is also recognising the fact that measures such as rural electrification and LPG cylinder distribution are positively impacting the quality of life of people at the grassroots level.
Also, read our previous articles on the same context, India Turns to Renewable Energy Sources to Power the Economy; Solar Power: How India Triggered a Global Revolution