Energy key engine of India’s growth: Sushma

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New Delhi, April 12 (IANS) External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Thursday said that energy is the key engine of India’s economic growth and has also become a key element of New Delhi’s diplomatic engagement and outreach.

“Oil and gas are not only strategic commodities, but price variations impact people down to the bottom of the pyramid,” Sushma Swaraj said while delivering the valedictory address at the 16th International Energy Forum Ministerial Meeting here.

“As the third largest consumer of energy, we carefully observe the shifts in centre of gravity of the oil and gas world, the potential technology disruptions, the financialisation of the oil markets, climate change imperatives and innovations,” she said.

“All these elements have an ingrained capacity to create sudden and disruptive pressure on the operations of global energy assets and energy supplies.”

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Stating that as the External Affairs Minister, energy was beginning to occupy more and more space in her world world view, Sushma Swaraj said: “Energy is a key engine of our economic growth. It is also a key element of our diplomatic engagement and outreach.”

In terms of clean energy, she said that India took the lead in the formation of the International Solar Alliance.

Launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and then French President Francois Hollande at the Paris climate summit in 2015, the ISA was conceived as a coalition of solar resource-rich countries to address their special energy needs and provide a platform to collaborate on dealing with the identified gaps through a common, agreed approach.

It is open to all 121 prospective member countries falling between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn.

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“Of the 121 prospective nations, 61 have joined the alliance, 32 have also ratified the framework agreement,” Sushma Swaraj said.

Stating that India has started the world’s largest renewable energy expansion programme, she said: “We will generate 175 GW of electricity from renewable sources of energy by 2022, of which 100 GW will be from solar power. We have already achieved 20 GW installed solar power.”

With India’s per capita energy consumption being almost one-tenth of that of some of the advanced countries, she assured the gathering that “we will be responsible in our incremental energy consumption”.

“However, in this regard, India expects the world to share technology knowhow and partnership to achieve the objective of providing clean and affordable energy to its citizen,” she said.

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The External Affairs Minister also said that India accords high priority to promoting a gas based economy.

“Currently natural gas forms a relatively small share of the energy mix. Gas infrastructure projects of over $8 billion are under implementation across the country.

“We aim to increase share of natural gas in energy mix from current 6.5 per cent to 15 per cent by 2022.”

Sushma Swaraj said that India will leap from Euro IV to Euro VI fuel by April 2020 and there was a concerted effort to replace fossil fuels by bio-fuels.

The three-day IEF that concluded on Thursday was attended by 40 energy ministers, 10 heads of international organisations and top CEOs among others.

–IANS

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