A robust economic growth is a must for India, not only to fulfill the basic needs of its billion plus population, but also to meet the rising aspirations of its huge youth population. A critical pillar in sustaining the momentum and inclusivity of this growth process is the energy security of the nation.

In recognition of this fundamental development imperative, the Government of India has been taking many steps to secure India’s energy future. The launch of Deendayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana by the Honourable Prime Minister in Patna is one of the recent initiatives in this direction.

In the journey towards realizing this vision of 24/7 power for all and self-sufficiency in energy – all without placing an undue burden on the earth we live in – a holistic energy planning and visionary policy choices are a must. What should be the size and composition of India’s energy demand from the transport sector? What must be done to improve energy efficiency of our buildings? What should be the regulatory environment for energy usage in industry? How do we power our farmers in the future? What is our future energy mix going to be? On which energy sources should we focus most? What new systems and processes do we have to set in place to ensure the above?

These are just a few of the high-level questions that India needs to address. But that is not enough; they must be translated into wise energy policies and effective implementation. This in turn requires a deep awareness, sensitivity and foresight of the various choices to be made and outcomes to be faced. Not only among policy makers, but also among the large and diverse number of stakeholders belonging to industry, academia, investors, domestic and international institutions and indeed civil society in general, and you and me in particular. Such a widespread and multifaceted awareness and understanding of underlying issues can be the fuel for an informed, enlightened and comprehensive policy discourse, leading to broad levels of consensus on both our energy goals and pathways.

NITI Aayog has come up with a very innovative tool to facilitate and enable such an engaged and informed energy discourse.

The India Energy Security Scenarios 2047, the 2nd version of which was launched on 27th August, 2015, is an interactive energy platform that enables the user to explore a range of potential future energy scenarios for India. Each scenario is a combination of a host of identified energy supply sources and energy demand drivers. Most of these supply/demand variables are ‘effort variables’, for which the user can choose one of four levels – least effort, determined effort, aggressive effort and heroic effort. The remaining variables have different options, where one option is not necessarily more aggressive than the others.

Having chosen the values for these variables, we construct a scenario; the model then tells us the story of how our energy future would evolve – from today till 2047 (the completion of 100 years of Indian independence). We get to know whether we would have an energy surplus or deficit, what our import dependence would be, the sector-wise composition of our energy supply as well as demand and also a comparison between our recent energy past (in year 2012) and our energy future (in 2047). Interestingly, the model provides for a total of 1.04 ×1028 scenarios and thus, as many different stories of our energy future!

This scenario planning tool thus calls us to have a better understanding of the world of facts, in the hope that this would encourage us to reshape the world of our perceptions. Which in turn can lead to renewed priorities, better decisions and a better future for us and our children.

Peter Drucker, the father of modern management, said once that the best way to predict the future is to create it. This is what we need to ask ourselves today: how do we want India’s energy future to be like? Let us hope that we answer wisely and well!

Author: Dheep Joy Mampilly

Assistant Director, Press Information Bureau

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