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Government working on new energy policy: Pradhan

The government is working out a new energy policy which will be transparent and investment friendly, and also provide energy at affordable prices to the consumer.

This was revealed here on Friday by Oil and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan while delivering the inaugural address at the 13th Petro India organised by Observer Research Foundation and Indian Energy Forum.

Saying ensuring energy security is one of the main challenges of the government, the Minister said the government has begun the coal block allocation process, struck after the litigation in the Supreme Court following the coal scam.

Pradhan said within few months, some blocks will be auctioned off as suggested by the Supreme Court which had struck down the allotments done by the earlier government.

He said the government will begin offering multi-product licensing which will do away with the need for taking licences for each resource even in a single block.

Pradhan said his ministry is trying to work out a policy which will balance the interests of both the producers as well as the consumers.

The minister said the government recognises the importance of investments and technology which is vital to take the country forward in the energy sector.

Pointing out how the US shale gas revolution is changing the global energy market and turning the US from a highly energy importing nation to exporting nation, the Minister said the government is studying the various models and decide on the right model for India.

The Minister also stressed on the government’s focus on clean energy, saying it is working out to reduce the percentage of thermal power share from the present 55% , by increasing energy from the renewable sources.

The government is also planning to have 3-5 LNG terminals in different States along the East Coast – Tamil Nadu, Andra Pradesh, Orissa, etc.

Delivering the welcome remarks, former Petroleum Secretary SC Tripathi pointed out that irrespective of the government’s efforts, India will continue to be an energy deficit nation as its reserves are only one per cent of the global reserves while the demands are four to five per cent.

He reiterated the need for an integrated energy ministry as the country need to take an integrated approach to the issue of energy security.

Tripathi also stressed on the need to formulate a policy to acquire assets abroad.

Power Secretary P.K. Sinha said India has made significant progress in the last decade in power generation, pointing out that the gap in demand and supply has now been brought down to just three to four per cent, which was over 10 per cent earlier.

He said the government is trying to bring down the share of thermal power by increasing renewable energy contribution. It is coming out with a stipulation which makes compulsory for conventional energy producers to produce 10 per cent energy from renewable sources.

Sinha said in the near future, power consumers will be able to choose their provider as the government, as part of the reforms, is planning to split the transmission segment with a regulated company offering network and companies distributing power.

Delivering the State of Debate Address, ORF Director Sunjoy Joshi said the fall in global energy prices has come at the right time for the Modi government which wants to “dust away the red tape and cobwebs and take a holistic view of the entire spectrum of growth and development needed to position India in its rightful place in the new world order.”

“There can be no better opportunity to use this fall in global energy prices to kick start the Prime Minister’s dream of “Make in India”.

“This is the time to launch the narrative for a New India…One that requires plenty of courage, plenty of resilience and plenty of leadership. And for once, we have all three in ample measure,” Mr Joshi said.

Pointing out that something fundamental has changed in energy market, Mr Joshi said Asia’s largest energy consumers, China, Japan and South Korea, could also gain momentum in coming months. He said falling energy prices have today given tremendous room for upside in these Asian markets to build given the right boots from bold macro policy.

The conference was also addressed by Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu and many top officials of public and private companies and experts.
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