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Modi’s gas-based economy dream to help cut global emissions; here’s how India can end coal legacy

Samrat Sharma
economy, gasbased economy, natural gas, coal, electricity, electricity generation

As the Modi government aims to make India a gas-based economy with the first step taken towards connecting the north-east via natural gas pipelines, India may soon make its mark on the global front. The latest report released by an international agency IEA shows that the electricity produced by natural gas worldwide was more than that of coal for the first time ever, while wind-powered electricity nearly caught up with coal-fired electricity. The whole world is rapidly moving towards gas-based power generation, which is comparatively a cleaner source of power generation. The significant contribution of India’s role in controlling global emissions can be understood by the fact that the IEA has cited weaker global economic growth in countries such as India to have played a major role, moderating the increase in emissions.

Recently, the cabinet had approved the grant of capital as viability gap funding to Indradhanush Gas Grid Ltd for setting up the North-East Natural Gas Pipeline Grid. In one of the major announcements, the government had even announced the plan to raise the share of natural gas in the country's primary energy mix to 15 per cent by 2030 from the present level of 6 per cent.

Also Read: Modi's latest gift to north-east; households, industries to be soon put on gas grid network

On the global front, switching to natural gas is bringing commendable results. Across advanced economies, emissions from the power sector declined to the lowest levels since the late 1980s, when electricity demand was one-third lower than today. Also, the coal-fired power generation in advanced economies declined by nearly 15 per cent as a result of growth in renewables, coal-to-gas switching, a rise in nuclear power and weaker electricity demand.

"This welcome halt in emissions growth is grounds for optimism that we can tackle the climate challenge this decade," said Fatih Birol, Executive Director, IEA. It is evident that clean energy transitions are underway-and it's also a signal that we have the opportunity to meaningfully move the needle on emissions through more ambitious policies and investments, Fatih added.