Teri’s report ‘National Energy Map for India :Technology Vision 2030’ estimates that in the Business-as-Usual (BAU) scenario, our commercial energy consumption is estimated to increase from 285 Mtoe (million tonnes of oil equivalent) in 2001 to 2123 Mtoe and 3351 Mtoe in 2031 if the economy grows at 6.7 percent and 10 percent respectively. Although hydro, nuclear, and renewable energy forms are expected to increase around six times in period 2001–31, these would contribute to mere 4.5 percent of the total commercial energy requirements over the modeling time frame. Hence, pressure coal, oil, and gas will continue to remain high in coming decades. The report details requirements of four key interventions: enhancing end-use efficiencies; adopting advanced coal- and gas-based power generating technologies; enhancing the exploitation of renewable energy and nuclear energy resources, and; enhancing efficiency in the transport sector by modal shifts. The study also estimates enormous possible reductions applying such interventions. However, the bottom-line is thatIndia would need to increase its imports of coal, oil, and gas in the future. More importantly, in order to minimise import dependency, it is imperative to focus on increasing the supply of indigenous energy resources including through R&D in exploration and production of energy.
Interestingly, the world’s first 10 MW Ocean Thermal Energy Conservation (OTEC) plant is being set up in USA, Ocean holding infinite potential for producing terawatts of energy. It is also green energy fully meeting climate conservation requirements. With large oceanic fronts, India must research this technology and establish a chain of coastal energy plants based on OTEC duly linked to the national power grid. Then is the shale gas revolution that has also transformed need versus resource debate with far reaching strategic ramifications. Speculation is rife that energy self-sufficiency may lead the US to let more regions submerge in chaos, while resorting to controlled engagement from the background. Increased energy self-sufficiency may lead China to become even more aggressive. Globally, major shale gas prospects are in US, China, Argentina, Australia, Europe, and New Zealand. A joint US Energy Information Administration (EIA) and Advanced Resources International (ARI) report of 17 June 2013 makes a joint India-Pakistan regional assessment of “risked” technically recoverable Shale Gas Resources as 114 tcf assessed in 2011, which has been hiked to 201 tcf as per 2013 assessment. As per another assessment, India has shale gas reserves of 63 tcf, which may increase as drilling progresses. In January 2011, ONGC had discovered shale gas in its pilot drilling venture in Damodar basin. While ONGC and OIL are undertaking pilot projects to assess the shale gas potential, Reliance and GAIL have entered US shale industry to gain technical expertise. There are reports of the US offering shale gas to India ostensibly to reduce energy dependence on Iran. Shale gas can help India meet its growing energy demand, besides reducing its dependence on expensive energy imports and the energy import bill. Incidentally, natural gas prices in the US are at record lows as the surge in shale gas production coupled with lower demand has lowered the average price of gas.