. Besides the huge resources required there are structural issues like, one of the highest Aggregate Transmission and Distribution (AT&D) losses of 25 per cent the highest in the world. There are other issues like power thefts which along with distribution losses result in losses to the State Electricity Boards (SEBs), under pricing, mounting losses of the State Electricity Boards and concept of free power.
The Policy has mentioned dependence on coal based thermal energy. ‘Coal’ would the ‘primary source of energy accounting for 60 per cent even by 2031-32 and thermal power generation alone accounting for 47 per cent. The proven reserves are not an issue for the present, but quality a matter of concern. Our present coal reserves are not that which is required in the power plants.
The other issue around coal is complete monopoly of Government in mining and thus the policy favoured reforms in the coal sector opening to private and foreign participation, pricing to be market determined so that scarcity value of coal gets reflected and there is optimization and efficient use. There was a need to step up ‘coal forecasting’ as it is widely believed that ‘coal potential’ in India is over 100 years.
The other source to meet the energy requirement is petroleum which would account for 25 per cent. But the problem here is that it is also non renewable. Besides there is heavy import dependence of presently 70 per cent which is likely to go up to 90 per cent by 2030 making India the third largest importer of crude petroleum after US and China. This would make the economy extremely vulnerable to global price fluctuations besides supply factors in the wake of adverse developments in West Asia.
There is an urgent need to free up pricing of retail petroleum goods in the domestic market so that their scarcity value gets reflected. The government should spread awareness on the need for energy conservation, increasing energy efficiency and lowering energy intensity. There was a need to step up efforts at developing viable alternatives to the growing dependence on oil through R & D. The government should set up a National Energy Fund by levying a cess of 1 per cent on turnover of all companies in the energy sector. Many countries in Europe have already announced a zero dependence on crude petroleum in a given time frame. India needs to do the same. Given the volatility in the international crude petroleum prices the policy has suggested creating strategic reserves of crude petroleum of at least 90 days.