Bill to promote use of non-fossil fuels introduced in Rajya Sabha - Eastern Mirror
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Bill to promote use of non-fossil fuels introduced in Rajya Sabha

By PTI Updated: Dec 08, 2022 7:38 pm

New Delhi, Dec. 8 (PTI): A bill that seeks to promote the use of non-fossil fuels, including ethanol, green hydrogen and biomass, was introduced in Rajya Sabha for passage on Thursday.

The Energy Conservation (Amendment) Bill, 2022, is also aimed at helping the country achieve its international commitments on climate change.

The legislation was cleared by Lok Sabha in August this year.

Piloting the bill in the Upper House, Power Minister R K Singh said the country is working towards reduction in emissions although its per capita emissions is about one third of the global average.

“If we look at the total carbon dioxide load on the environment, our contribution is just 3.4 per cent even as our population is 17.5 per cent of the global population,” he said.

Yet, the county has emerged as one of the leading nations in energy transition and climate action, he added.

“Today our non-fossil fuel power generation capacity is 42 per cent of our total capacity which is around 408 giga watt,” he said, adding that this initiative needs to be carried forward.

“We have changed the way of generating electricity but that accounts for 40 per cent of the emissions. But we have to address other sectors which account for 60 per cent of emissions, which includes steel and cement manufacturing,” Singh said.

In order to remain a leader in climate action, the government has brought in amendments in the legislation, he added.

“In petroleum refining, we use hydrogen drawn from natural gas. The idea is to make green hydrogen here and thereafter replace the imported natural gas and stop carbon emission,” Singh said.

Similarly, in the production of fertilisers, ammonia is used from natural gas, he said.

“Now we propose to replace it with green ammonia. That is why we are bringing the amendments so that we make changes in the feedstock,” Singh said.

The government also aims to address the construction sector through legislation, he added.

The amendments also seek to promote renewable energy and the development of a domestic carbon market to battle climate change.

Further, the bill seeks to introduce new concepts such as carbon trading and mandate the use of non-fossil sources to ensure faster decarbonisation of the Indian economy and help achieve sustainable development goals in line with the Paris Agreement.

The bill also provides for penalties for violations by industrial units or vessels as well as on manufacturers if a vehicle fails to comply with fuel consumption norms.

Initiating the debate, Abhishek Manu Singhvi of the Congress said although he broadly supported the bill but there are were some contradictions.

He said 70 per cent of the country’s energy needs are met through coal and over 80 per cent of solar panels are imported.

The government had imposed basic custom duties besides GST to promote domestic manufacturing of solar panels but the country does not have the capacity for that.

The prime minister has announced increasing the capacity of renewables to 500 GW by 2030, meeting half of the energy requirements.

“Today we are almost half of that and only seven years are left in 2030. The figure of 2022 was 111 GW and the target was 175 GW. How you would reach there,” he said, adding that solutions would not emerge from framing some laws and legislation on it.

Singhvi further added,”India is truly an over-legislated and under-enforced country. We tend to think that all our problems would stop from legislation.”

BJP’s Sushil Kumar Modi hailed the steps taken by the government to promote alternate energy sources.

“India is not a power deficit but a power surplus state. Our peak demand is 2.15 lakh MW and our installed capacity is 4.03 MW,” he said.

Besides, the bill also allows carbon trading and there are estimates for this segment to grow to Rs 4,000 crore by 2026.

TMC’s Jawhar Sircar said this bill needs a re-examination and suggested sending it to the select committee of the House. The bill has been placed in a hurry, he said.

“The intention is good, driving forces are also good but the law which stands today is full of defects. It empowers the bureaucracy at the wrong level,” he said.

Sircar further said he and the Power minister both are former bureaucrats and know how bad certain levels of bureaucracy can be.

“If you give them handlebars, they would obviously misuse,” he said.

“Do not rush it. Take a little more time and send it to the select committee and go through the implications.”

By PTI Updated: Dec 08, 2022 7:38:58 pm