The oil ministry today pitched for formulation of a policy that will encourage use of natural gas for power generation, in a bid to rectify a situation where the fuel has been neglected for long. There are 24,000 megawatt of gas-based power stations languishing as the current regime does not favour electricity generated from imported gas. Speaking at a Ficci seminar, Oil Secretary K D Tripathi said the government had last year decided to make India a gas-based economy as natural gas is one of the cleanest and most environment-friendly fuels with extremely low carbon dioxide emission compared to others such as coal and oil.
But gas still is not the preferred fuel for power generation. “We perhaps have to orient our policies to produce more and more power from gas, particularly near metro areas which have concerns about pollution,” he said. He held that availability of gas is not a dampener, but tariff related issues hamper use of the fuel in power generation. Of the 139.37 million standard cubic metres per day of domestically-produced gas and imported LNG available in 2016- 17, less than 32 mmscmd was consumed by the power sector. Tripathi said India is concentrating on becoming a gas- based economy and moving away from its dependence on fossil fuels.
In the developed nations, the share of gas in the energy mix averaged 25 per cent whereas in India, it stood at 6 per cent. There is a need to explore more avenues to enhance use of gas as fuel and for energy requirements of the country, he observed. For making India a gas-based economy, the government wants development of gas supply sources, infrastructure and markets. Since the power sector is not taking much of the imported liquefied natural gas (LNG), its consumption in the power sector stood at just 3 mmscmd in April 2015, which rose to a peak 11.47 mmscmd a year later.
Alluding to various government initiatives, Tripathi said the four pillars of India’s energy future are access, efficiency, sustainability and supply security. The government is making efforts to make energy accessible at an affordable price to people at the bottom of the pyramid.