Do we need customised energy solutions?

India has become the blue-eyed boy for the global energy industry. The third largest economy according to purchasing power parity and the fourth largest energy consumer, India is on a run to pursue an affordable, accessible and sustainable energy agenda. The perseverance to provide energy security to its 1.3 billion people is now combined with an intent to transform its energy portfolio.

In the past few years, India has strengthened its market position not only as an energy-hungry consumer, but a transforming nation with a list of ambitious agendas; 7 million electric vehicles on Indian roads by 2020, 175 GW of Renewable Energy and 10% crude oil import reduction by 2022.

Because of its flourishing diversity, these efforts are more ambitious for India. A country with 29 states and range of geographical complexities, it may be unpragmatic to apply the identical policy everywhere. Since, the energy needs of each state are too good to ignore, work for the transformation with same planning wouldn’t provide desired results.

Each state is assessing and contributing differently to the country’s energy intensity of 0.12 toe/000 PPP GDP (2010). Gujarat is leading the natural gas revolution, Tamil Nadu has the highest installed solar-power capacity, and UP and Bihar are leading the UJJAWALA clean cooking mission. All these achievements by States involve distinct sets of planning and execution. In the process, unknowingly, all these states create an intangible platform where they work together to drive different national missions.

An energy planning helps a state to understand its energy supply and consumption patterns. It also helps the State Ministry to speculate the demand and mix of fuels which can be used to cater to the projected demands. And the efficiency level of the consuming sectors, the amount of revenue generated by the service providers, and the investment required in new technologies for providing accessible and affordable energy.
When each state works selfishly and competitively based on their needs, it fastens the process of national energy transformation agenda. This calls for a platform for states where they can compare, review and perform. Taking a cue, NITI Aayog expressed an interest to come up with an Index which will measure the states’ efforts for energy security, accessibility, quality and innovation.

The State Energy Index will be designed to assess and improve the performances of states to efficiently manage their energy resources. This will also help the states and concern central ministries/departments with a ready reckoner of useful information which would empower them to formulate and implement suitable strategies.

The intended index would have a set of Key Performance Indicators evaluating states’ role in providing reliable household electricity, consumption efficiency & intensity, and a progressive move towards clean energy solutions. To assess the energy usage ease for the citizens, it may include encouragement of shared mobility, air quality level, and reach of the clean cooking service providers. Whereas for industries/utilities operating in the state, inculcating conducive business opportunities and competition, emission intensities, efficiency in new infrastructures may also be assessed.

The data received from the sates would be evaluated on the basis of allotted weightages to each of the indicators. The final ranking would inform the States on their present energy scenario and the areas where they can divert the attention. The index is unintended to create a competition. It is a tool which imparts the information on your neighbouring state and their most exemplary practices.

Creating competition among the states based on their ranking on multiple indicators would be last on the outcome list. The State Energy index will assist them to recognize their own needs and play around the present schemes and policies. This may be a step forward to capture a holistic view of their energy status to provide customised services to each and every citizen.

As military believes in ‘no man should be left behind’, let’s hope no one is left behind in the race of affordable, accessible and sustainable energy.

(Shafqat Mobarak is a Young Professional in the Energy Division, NITI Aayog)

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog are those of the author. They do not represent the views of NITI Aayog