Addressing the 26th Energy Technology Meet, Puri said: “Our net zero target by 2070 is a little too long-term.”
He explained that energy transition in India will first be from fossil-based to cleaner fuels and further to renewables.
He also noted that global uncertainty is a dynamic driver for energy transition.
On the Israel-Palestine conflict, he said such crises make energy transition faster towards biofuel, renewables etc. Israel came under attack by Hamas militants on Saturday and since then, both sides have engaged in fighting in which scores of people have died. The minister said, “India will handle it (Israel-Palestine conflict) with maturity. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statement is very clear.
“So far as energy is concerned, let us be absolutely clear that the place where the action is taking place is in many respects the centre of global energy. We will watch very carefully as we go along, we will navigate our way through this.”
These kinds of uncertainties only encourage people to move into sustainable, cleaner fuels, he opined citing the ‘Global Biofuel Alliance‘ as an example.
Talking about biofuel in India, he said, “we reached the target of 10 per cent ethanol blending five months beforehand. Now we are at 12 per cent, and the target of 20 per cent by 2025 can be achieved easily.”
The international community is serious and the governments are serious, he said, adding that suddenly biofuels are coming of age.
“Ultimately it is a choice. The choice will be between fossil fuels and biofuels”, he said.
Puri also talked about the cut in production of crude oil by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
“I mean the amount of crude oil that is required to sustain the current levels of consumption which is about 100 or 102 mb/d (million barrels per day). That is available, but some 5 mb/d has been taken off the market. So that is the issue. It is a sovereign choice and we respect those who decide. But, equally when we have to exercise a choice we’ll take the (energy) transition quicker.”
About spike in oil prices, he stated that it’s entirely OPEC’s call on how much you want to sell, etc, but be under no mistake that if the price crosses a threshold and it feeds the inflationary situation with all the efforts at interest rates rising, etc, you will reach a 2008 like situation.
“Today energy prices are crucial to global recovery. Somebody asked me what the threshold is. Last time in 2008 it crossed USD 100 a barrel. Can’t keep it above USD 100, it will not work,” he opined.
He noted that in the next two decades, 25 per cent of world energy demand will come from India.