|The growing transportation sector uses the bulk of oil in India.|
In a speech to the nation on the even of India’s 59th Independence Day, Indian President A.P.J Abdul Kalam called for energy independence by 2030 to be the country’s “first and highest priority.”
President Kalam outlined a three-part plan to achieving this goal: (1) increasing efficiency and conservation; (2) securing access to all current sources of energy including coal, oil and gas supplies worldwide until the end of fossil fuel era and (3) using and developing new technologies to provide a diverse supply of reliable, affordable and environmentally sustainable energy.
Energy is the lifeline of modern societies. But today, India has 17% of the world’s population, and just 0.8% of the world’s known oil and natural gas resources. We might expand the use of our coal reserves for some time and that too at a cost and with environmental challenges. The climate of the globe as a whole is changing. Our water resources are also diminishing at a faster rate. As it is said, energy and water demand will soon surely be a defining characteristic of our people’s life in the 21st Century.
Transportation is the fastest growing energy consumer in India, now consuming nearly 112 million tonnes of oil (approximately 821 million barrels) annually.
Transportation...is critically important our nation’s economy and security. The complete substitution of oil imports for the Transportation Sectors is the biggest and toughest challenge for India.
The transportation strategy as outlined will rely heavily on jatropha-based biodiesel.
Intensive research is needed to burn bio-fuel in internal combustion engines with high efficiency, and this needs to be a urgent R&D programme. India has a potential to produce nearly 60 million tonnes of bio-fuel annually, thus making a significant and important contribution to the goal of Energy Independence.
The other key areas of focus are electric vehicles; hydrogen vehicles (fuel cell and combustion engines); the electrification of railways and urban mass transit.
We need to evolve a comprehensive renewable energy policy for energy independence within a year. This should address all issues relating to generation of energy through wind, solar, geothermal, bio-mass and ocean. The nation should also work towards establishment of thorium based reactors. Research and technology development of Thorium based reactors is one of the immediate requirements for realizing self-reliance in nuclear power generation and long term energy security for the nation.
We should operationalize a 500 MW capacity power plant using integrated gasification and combined cycle route [IGCC] within the next three years from the existing pilot plant stage.
Bio-fuel research should be extended in collaboration with R&D Laboratories, academic institutions and automobile industry to make it a “full fledged fuel” for the fleet running in the country in a time bound manner. This should lead to a mission mode integrated programme encompassing various ministries and industries. Also there is a need to formulate a comprehensive Bio-Fuel policy from research, development, production to marketing.