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G20 presidency: Weaving inclusive growth and universal togetherness

The central theme of India’s G20 presidency – Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam – affirms the value of all living beings – human, animal, plant and microorganisms – and the interconnectedness on planet Earth. In the words of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India’s G20 presidency will strive to foster this universal togetherness and hence the motto “One Earth, One Family, One Future”.

The opportunity to lead G20 comes at a time when existential threats are escalating and there is an urgency to find sustainable solutions. Addressing the climate change issue is a top priority for India’s presidency, with an emphasis on just energy transitions for the developing countries by supporting them through climate financing and technology.

To derive meaningful and sustainable solutions for the world, it is imperative to give voice to Global South as well, highlighting their aspirations and issues.

The challenges facing the world today in the energy sector are manifold – from access, security and affordability to the global issue of climate change. It is important to look at these issues holistically.

India, on its part, is deeply committed to a low-carbon development strategy. Its energy generation mix is rapidly shifting towards an increasing share of renewable energy. Today, India is the world’s third largest producer of renewable energy, with 42.25% of installed power capacity from non-fossil fuel sources.

We are also the fourth largest in terms of installed capacity and one of the fastest-growing renewable energy destinations in the world. India recorded one of the fastest levels of growth (70%) globally in renewable capacity in 2021 with investments in renewables touching $11.3 billion in that year alone. The emissions intensity of India’s GDP has also gone down by 28% from 2005 levels.

India is taking rapid strides in finding a sustainable solution to issues pertaining to climate change. This follows PM’s commitment at Glasgow Summit in 2021 to reduce total projected carbon emissions by 1 billion tonnes till 2030. In the CCPI Index (Climate Change Performance Index), India has been ranked among top-performing large countries.It is projected that our energy demand will more than double by 2040. With this, comes the responsibility of sustainably producing power, reducing carbon emissions, energy conservation and mitigating climate change.

The Saubhagya scheme achieved universal electricity in record time by the end of 2019, with a total of 28.6 million households electrified.

Energy efficiency has received high priority in India. Schemes like UJALA (Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All), launched in 2015, aimed at providing LED bulbs to consumers with a target to replace 770 million incandescent bulbs with LED bulbs, making it the largest LED distribution program in the world. The program targets energy efficiency in lighting as it offers enormous opportunity to save energy.

Another hugely successful scheme is Ujjwala – providing LPG connections to families and households. The scheme has particularly been empowering for women, reducing their drudgery, and the time spent in the kitchen and overall improving their health.

Under Energy Conservation Act, we also launched PAT (Program, Achieve and Trade) scheme aimed at reducing specific energy consumption (SEC) i.e., energy use per unit of production for designated consumers (DCs) in energy-intensive sectors, with an associated market mechanism to enhance the cost effectiveness through certification of excess energy saving which can be traded.

The excess energy savings are converted into tradable instruments called Energy Saving Certificates (ESCerts) that are traded at the power exchanges.

Recently, Parliament passed the Energy Conservation (Amendment) Bill, 2022. The Bill promotes energy efficiency and conservation and stipulates that designated consumers can be obligated to meet a proportion of their energy or feedstock needs from non-fossil sources. The Energy Conservation Code for buildings will now apply to large offices and residential buildings with a connected load of 100 kilowatt or above. The Act also now includes provisions for putting in place a carbon market. Carbon credit will be used on priority within the country to meet our NDCs.

India has gradually decoupled economic growth from greenhouse gas emissions. To support these continuing initiatives, India recently launched the National Hydrogen Mission with the objective to make India the world’s largest hydrogen hub.

India pledged a 40% share of power generation from non-fossil fuel sources at COP-21 in Paris in 2015. We achieved this goal in 2021, way ahead of 2030 timeline.

The country’s vision is to reach net zero emissions by 2070. In the short term, the the aim is to increase non-fossil electricity generation capacity to 500 GW by 2030.

At the G20 presidency, India has planned to focus on areas that have the potential to bring about a new approach to a sustainable lifestyle. We look forward to demonstrating our belief in a human-centered approach to technology and in promoting greater knowledge sharing in priority areas such as digital public infrastructure, financial inclusion, and technology-enabled development in sectors from agriculture to education. We earnestly wish to use the G20 forum to highlight inclusive growth and development.

The writer is Power Secretary

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