Towards Energy Security
Emphasizing on the criticality of the domestic production of biofuels, Union Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas Hardeep Singh Puri has said that biofuels will play a pivotal role in achieving reduction in import of fossil fuel and ultimately help to achieve the target of net zero emission.
Addressing recently the Global Conference on Compressed Biogas (CBG) in New Delhi, Shri Puri said, “Considering the limited domestic availability of fossil fuels and import dependence for this, the energy security of the country will remain vulnerable until alternative fuels to substitute/supplement fossil fuels are developed based on indigenously sustainable renewable feedstock”.
The Minister said that the production of CBG would have multiple benefits viz. reduction of natural gas imports, reduction of GHG emission, reduction in burning of agriculture residues, providing remunerative income to farmers, employment generation, effective waste management etc adding, “Government of India has set a target to increase the share of gas in the energy mix up to 15% in 2030 to make India a Gas-based economy. Presently we are importing around 50% of our requirement of Natural gas. Speedy expansion of CBG will help in meeting our additional requirement from domestic resources.”
Policies of the Government have enabled the adoption of green renewable energy in the last 10 years. Shri Hardeep Singh Puri especially mentioned about the Sustainable Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation (SATAT) Scheme and the use of agro-waste to generate compressed biogas. He said, “Under SATAT initiative various waste streams such as animal dung, agricultural residues, MSW (Municipal Solid Waste), sewage water and industrial wastes such as press mud, spent wash from sugar industry, food processing industry etc. is being looked into as feedstock for production of Biogas/CBG.”
The Minister also shared India’s ambitious target to set up 5,000 commercial plants by 2024- 25 and produce 15 MMT of CBG which would replace other gaseous fuels being used in the country. He mentioned that India had commissioned 46 compressed biogas plants under SATAT Scheme and there were 100 outlets currently dispensing the compressed biogas across the country.
Talking about the ecosystem, Shri Hardeep Singh Puri emphasised that the present Government has been persistent in developing a conducive ecosystem in order to promote sustainability for all actors of the Triple Bottom Line (environment, society and economy). He indicates how the Government has formulated policies, developed schemes providing support through Central Financial Assistance, etc to support the adoption of green energy in any form. He also mentioned that the Government is engaging with other departments and ministries to simplify the regulations further, resulting in easier adoption and implementation of projects.
He mentioned the Department of Fertilizers, which issued letters to Fertilizer companies for mandatory offtake of FOM with chemical fertilizers as a “Basket approach” and the Central Pollution Control Board that included plants under ‘white category’ status on a case-to-case basis.
While mentioning the importance of green and clean energy, the Minister stressed the need for generating renewable, sustainable and indigenous energy sources that can supplement other conventional energy sources in the short term and take over as the primary source of energy in the long run.
In addition, the Minister highlighted how Fermented Organic Manure (FOM), a by product of the CBG manufacturing process, might be applied in the agricultural sector to encourage organic farming and lower the usage of artificial fertilisers.
While talking about the financing of projects, he indicated that Amrit Kaal Budget 2023 gives a huge boost to India’s Bio-Gas and clean energy revolution:
– With special attention given to CBG projects and announced establishment of 200 CBG projects under the umbrella of GOBARdhan scheme,
– Five per cent CBG mandate will be introduced for all organizations marketing natural and bio gas.
– To avoid cascading of taxes on blended compressed natural gas, excise duty on the amount of GST paid on compressed biogas contained in the blended CNG has been exempted.
Stressing about the inclusive growth approach of the Government, the Minister said agriculture & farmers are integral part of it, which will benefit directly through more & more penetration of green energy, particularly Compressed Biogas, through the use of agricultural and animal waste largely available in rural India. He appreciated various States and their role in promoting the adoption of green energy and particularly the Compressed Biogas and congratulated the organisers for taking a step to further promote Compressed Biogas, which will play an important role in boosting the country’s energy basket and strengthening India’s energy security in the long run.