New Delhi, Nov.17 : Green and nuclear is the only way forward for India's energy requirements in the years to come.
This was the unanimous conclusion of the panelists at a session titled "Fuelling India's Future: Will it be Green and Nuclear?" at the 24th India Economic Summit, jointly organized by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and World Economic Forum in New Delhi.
Clean technologies such as nuclear, bio fuels, wind and solar need an increased focus, to ensure energy security for India, concluded the panel. According to the panelists, solar energy has the potential to get energy to the remotest village in India and replacing the costlier, more inefficient grid power.
Speaking at the session, Tejpreet Singh Chopra, President and Chief Executive Officer, GE, India, said that "Carbon Dioxide emissions from nuclear power are the lowest.
Reacting to a question posed by Shekhar Gupta, Editor-in-Chief, The Indian Express, India, he added, "There is no doubt that nuclear power will dominate India's energy future."
Over the last three years, technology development has reduced the risks attached to nuclear energy with safety norms having improved, added Chopra.
Highlighting the need to reduce the Carbon Dioxide emissions, Professor Nicholas Stern, IG Patel Professor of Economics and Government, India Observatory, London School of Economics, United Kingdom, said "The world needs to cut carbon dioxide emissions to 2 tons per capita by 2050 and India would need to do the same. Therefore India needs to look ahead now."
He said that while India has a strong policy on climate change, implementation would be tough. "But the path is full of opportunities", added Stern.
The panel also debated the idea of developing a structure of incentives by imposing costs on those harming the environment by using energy produced by "dirty" coal and "dirty" diesel.
Proposing this idea, Tulsi Tanti, Chairman and Managing Director, Suzlon Energy, India said "we can not continue to depend on subsidies. 99 percent of the energy consumption is damaging to the environment, therefore this consumption should be taxed."
He further proposed that to draw a balance, the penalty so collected be given to those generating and using clean energy.
Nand Khemka, Chairman, Sun Group, India, while highlighting the critical issues plaguing India's energy sector said, "India has two basic problems - energy deficit and energy inefficiency. India needs clean thermal and nuclear energy."
He further emphasized the need to improve the efficiency of the entire value chain in power generation.
Sustainability, both from the economic and climate change perspective, is an important aspect of the future sources of energy.
Dwelling on this aspect, Adil Zainulbhai, Managing Director, India, McKinsey and Company, India, said "For any source of energy to be sustainable in the future, it should not be dependent on subsidies."
He further added that solar energy had huge potential in India and investments must be made in developing solar technologies.
Considering that India is a growing business outfit, it is expected that India would need to generate 800 giga watts of energy by 2030, which according to McKinsey estimates would still leave a demand supply gap. India being a responsible global citizen, the only way forward for India would be to develop innovative green and nuclear solutions to the energy issue, emphasized the panelists.