A New Kind of Green: Why the Old Script CannotWork for India’s Green Transition


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A New Kind of Green: Why the Old Script CannotWork for India’s Green Transition Blog Image

Why in News?

  • India stands at the cusp of a significant energy transition, and the next government must ensure that its energy policies are forward-looking and robust.
  • Historically, decision-makers have been criticised for preparing for past challenges rather than future uncertainties.
  • As India navigates its energy transition, it is crucial to develop a strategic framework that aligns with contemporary realities and future demands.

The Dual-Pronged Energy Policy of India

  • Managing Fossil Fuel Dependency
    • Diversification of Import Sources
      • To reduce vulnerability to geopolitical tensions and supply disruptions, India is working to diversify its sources of petroleum imports.
      • This includes negotiating with a broader range of supplier countries and securing favourable long-term contracts.
    • Strategic Reserves
      • Establishing and maintaining strategic petroleum reserves is a key component of this prong.
      • These reserves act as a buffer against short-term supply shocks and price volatility, providing a critical safety net for the economy.
    • Domestic Exploration and Production
      • Boosting domestic exploration and production of fossil fuels is essential to reduce import dependency.
      • This includes incentivizing both public and private sector investment in oil and gas exploration, utilising advanced technologies to enhance extraction efficiency, and exploring unconventional resources like shale gas.
    • Demand Conservation and Efficiency
      • Improving energy efficiency and promoting conservation measures are crucial to managing demand.
      • This includes implementing stringent efficiency standards for industries, vehicles, and appliances, and encouraging behavioural changes among consumers to reduce wastage.
  • Accelerating Renewable Energy Transition
    • Net-Zero Carbon Emissions by 2070
      • India has set an ambitious target to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2070.
      • This long-term commitment requires substantial changes in energy production and consumption patterns, driven by policy support and technological innovation.
    • Reducing Carbon Intensity of GDP
      • In the shorter to medium term, the goal is to reduce the carbon intensity of the economy.
      • This means lowering the amount of carbon emissions per unit of GDP, which can be achieved by enhancing energy efficiency, switching to cleaner fuels, and adopting sustainable industrial practices.
    • 500 GW Non-Fossil Fuel Capacity by 2030
      • A key milestone in the renewable energy transition is the target to achieve 500 GW of electricity generation capacity from non-fossil fuel sources by 2030.
      • This includes solar, wind, hydro, and biomass energy.

Challenges in Current Administrative Structure

  • Fragmented Administrative Responsibilities
    • These dual objectives are managed by distinct, vertically structured ministries.
    • The Ministry of Petroleum and the Ministry of Coal handle the fossil fuel prong, while the Ministries of Renewables and Power lead the renewable energy prong.
    • Additionally, other ministries such as Heavy Industry, Mines and Minerals, IT, and Environment also play significant roles due to their jurisdiction over various components necessary for a green energy ecosystem.
  • Lack of Integrated Decision-Making Ability
    • The lack of an integrated executive forum means that energy policies are often developed and implemented in isolation.
    • This can result in policies that are not fully aligned or are even conflicting, reducing their overall effectiveness.
    • Without coordination, different ministries may duplicate efforts, leading to inefficient use of resources.
    • For example, both the Ministry of Petroleum and MNRE might invest in separate technologies for energy storage, leading to redundant research and development expenses.
  • Barriers to Achieving Decarbonisation Targets
    • Inter-ministerial approval processes can be lengthy and cumbersome, delaying the rollout of renewable energy projects and infrastructure development
    • Without a cohesive strategy, it is challenging to develop a unified vision for India’s energy future.
    • Each ministry might prioritise its own objectives, which may not align with the broader national goals of sustainability and energy security.

Impact of Fragmented Structure

  • Supply Chain Vulnerabilities
    • The green energy transition is heavily reliant on international supply chains for materials like lithium, cobalt, and rare earth elements.
    • A fragmented administrative approach makes it difficult to develop a coherent strategy to secure these supply chains, particularly given the geopolitical tensions involving major suppliers like China.
  • National Security Risks
    • Energy security is closely tied to national security and fragmented oversight of energy resources and technologies can leave India vulnerable to external threats.
    • Coordinating a national response to potential supply disruptions or cyber-attacks on energy infrastructure requires a more integrated approach.

The International Context and Its Implications

  • The global geopolitical landscape further complicates India's energy transition.
  • The renewed great power competition between the US and its allies versus China and Russia resembles a modern Cold War, with Taiwan being a critical flashpoint and technological superiority becoming the new arms race.
  • This geopolitical tension impacts the green agenda along supply chain resilience, domestic investment, and national security axes.
  • China’s dominance in essential materials for green energy, along with its cost-effective production of solar and wind technology, poses both opportunities and risks for India.
  • While domestic manufacturers have benefited, there are national security concerns about reliance on Chinese imports.
  • To mitigate this, India has imposed duties on Chinese imports and introduced the Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme to boost domestic manufacturing.
  • However, a comprehensive strategic framework akin to the US’s Chips and Science Act is still missing.

Recommendations for a Unified Energy Strategy

  • Coordination Among Hydrocarbon and Renewable Entities: It should outline the relationship between hydrocarbon Public Sector Enterprises (PSEs) and other energy companies to avoid duplicity of efforts and resources.
  • Resource Supply Strategy: With the International Energy Agency (IEA) predicting volatility in the markets for critical materials like copper, lithium, nickel, and cobalt, India needs a clear strategy to secure future supplies through investments in mining.
  • Addressing the China Factor
    • The competitiveness of clean energy relative to fossil fuels and access to low-cost green technology from China must be evaluated.
    • National security concerns warrant measures like anti-dumping duties on Chinese electric vehicles (EVs), but the impact on investors and the pace of the green transition should also be considered.
  • Encouraging Green Investments
    • Given the current cautious approach of boardrooms towards green investments, the government must tackle this risk aversion.
    • Specific sectors could be incentivised, or public investment could be increased to attract private capital.
    • The strategy document should provide detailed options and a roadmap for this.


  • The challenge for the next government is to accelerate India's energy transition amidst a polarised international geopolitical environment and rapid technological advancements.

By adopting a holistic, integrated approach to energy policy, India can ensure sustainable growth, energy security, and environmental preservation for future generations.

Q) Why is the Green Transition important?

The Green Transition is crucial for mitigating climate change, protecting ecosystems, and ensuring long-term economic sustainability. By reducing dependence on fossil fuels and lowering greenhouse gas emissions, it helps prevent global warming and its associated impacts, such as extreme weather events and sea-level rise. Additionally, it can drive innovation, create green jobs, and enhance energy security by diversifying energy sources.

Q) What is the Green Transition?

The Green Transition refers to the process of shifting from a fossil fuel-based economy to one that is environmentally sustainable, low-carbon, and resource-efficient. This involves adopting renewable energy sources, improving energy efficiency, reducing carbon emissions, and promoting sustainable practices across various sectors such as transportation, agriculture, and industry.

Source:The Indian Express