By Amit Agnihotri
New Delhi: Imitation is the best form of flattery. And in a first, India is trying to set up a system to manage its energy data, energy modeling and low carbon technologies on the lines of the United States.
As part of the India-US Strategic Partnership, which has been growing over the past two decades, India has launched an India Energy Modeling Forum.
The platform has been set up to examine important energy and environment related issues, inform decision-makers in government, improve coordination between modeling teams and knowledge partners, facilitate exchange of ideas, identify knowledge gaps, and build capacity of Indian institutions.
The move to create an energy modelling body is important, as there was no formal and systematic process of having a modelling forum in India to forecast its energy needs and ensuring energy security planning for the nation.
This was the situation till recently, even though various think-tanks like The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), Integrated Research and Action for Development (IRADe), Centre for Study of Science, Technology and Policy (CSTEP), Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW) and National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) have been consistently working to develop scenarios and contributing through case studies.
These institutions also carry out analysis to provide the required inputs to the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, and other relevant ministries.
“India Energy Modelling Forum will accelerate this effort,” a statement from NITI Aayog, Indian government think-tank on development-related issues, said on July 15. NITI Aayog will initially coordinate the activities of the forum and finalise its governing structure.
The forum was launched on July 2 in a Joint Working Group meeting of the Sustainable Growth Pillar, an important pillar of the India-US Strategic Energy Partnership, co-chaired by NITI Aayog and United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
The forum would include knowledge partners, data agencies and ministries concerned, said the statement.
There are several energy modelling forums across the world. The Energy Modelling Forum (EMF) in the US was established in 1976 at Stanford University to connect leading modelling experts and decision makers from government, industry, universities, and other research organisations.
The EMF provides an unbiased platform to discuss the contemporary issues revolving around energy and environment.
As India aspires to be a global player and plans to integrate with the world economy, managing the country’s energy needs, as well as ensuring energy security, is a key strategic objective.
As India manages the transition from a largely agricultural economy to manufacturing and services, the country’s energy requirements are expected to shoot up significantly.
Here, concerns related to reducing domestic oil reserves, future oil imports including crude prices and impact of climate change all need to be factored in while chalking out development strategies.
India depends on oil imports to meet up to 70 per cent of its energy demand, which is expected to up to 90 per cent by 2025.
India’s other energy needs are met from gas and coal and hydro electricity, and demand in these sectors is bound to grow.
This explains the government’s focus on renewable energy sources including solar and wind energy. However, this is work in progress and entails a long road ahead.