Environmental sustainability is a catchphrase these days with regard to developmental activities.
Attaining self sufficiency in power generation and trouble free distribution only need not be enough. There is a need for new initiatives by the state governments to provide clean fuel for cooking and transport purposes.
The Gujarat government under Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel has already planned to set up more renewable energy parks and power plants to establish a net-zero and carbon-free ecosystem.
These are in tune with the goal set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “India would be a net zero economy by 2070,” the Prime Minister said earlier this year. He also said – “Our non-fossil capacity will touch 500 GW and 50 per cent of our energy needs will come from renewable energy sources by 2030”.
At the state level in Gujarat, officials say for bringing more efficiency and effectiveness to existing power generation methods, it is imperative to embrace new technology.
There are some key initiatives that the state government is focused on to increase the sustainability quotient. The three indicators, they say are — Electric vehicles penetration, Availability of charging infrastructures for electric mobility and higher proportion of consumers with smart meters.
The BJP government running the western state has taken several policy-level actions to mitigate the emission intensity which is the volume of emission per unit of GDP. At its own efforts, the Gujarat state is also determined to pursue its ambition to become a global hub of the renewable energy industry.
In months to come, there would also be encouragement for more dependence on renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, hydel and biomass.
Four focus areas or priorities on this backdrop are — Emission intensity, Utilisation of Renewable Energy, Percentage change in forest/green cover and also Forest Carbon stock.
On the renewable energy front, an official spokesman said, “The Gujarat state government has been encouraging the installations of solar rooftops”. As a result, according to figures available by April 2022, Gujarat rooftop solar panels installed during the second phase of grid connected rooftop solar programme, aiding 1029 megawatts to the country’s total power generation of 1177 MW.
Gujarat is also one of the states where the demand of CNG vehicles has been high attributed to the infrastructures. In 2021, the western state has added the highest number of CNG stations in the country accounting for almost 20 per cent of new stations.
Studies also reveal that rudimentary cookstoves that burn wood, dried dung or coal, have remained the cause of several toxic health issues. To put an end to this adversity and safeguard the health of women and child, the central government has launched Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana in 2016.
Well, sources say, Gujarat too has covered the majority of people under PMUY and has been able to make it a kerosene-free state. Notably in 2018, Gujarat also became the first state in India to offer subsidized piped natural gas to poor households.
In today’s industrial situations vis-a-vis environmental concerns, it is imperative for the states to understand the importance of energy efficiency measures in their economic development path along with energy efficiency measures. Officials say with adequate investment and a good combination of incentives and regulations, Gujarat’s energy intensity of GSDP is on the lower side indicating that the state is more ‘energy efficient’.
But nevertheless, the estimates suggest that over one-third of electricity is being consumed in buildings where reducing the energy consumption has a huge potential. Of course, sources say in industrial energy savings, the western state is far ahead in promoting energy savings.
Sustainable development has been at the core of Gujarat’s economic development strategies. The state’s Solar Policy that allowed consumers to give their roof of premises on lease to a third party for generation and consumption of power has led to a tremendous surge in green energy production.
- Gujarat has topped NITI Aoyog’s State Energy and Climate Index (SECI) with a score of 50.1 points
in the larger states category.
Gujarat’s 97 percent of households have electricity connection.
Gujarat’s per capita energy consumption including LPG, PNG, HSD, CNG and electricity has been constantly
- Gujarat also scored perfect 100 in hours of electricity supplied-industry indicator.
- In 2021, for consecutively 9th time, the state’s utilities grabbed top position of power DISCOMs.
Officials say Gujarat’s debt-equity ratio has been minimum due to DISCOM’s consistent track record aided by cost reflective tariffs.