How Covid-19 Crisis is an Opportunity for Transition to Clean and Cheap Energy?

Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal has recently said that the current COVID-19 crisis should be used as an opportunity to make the transition to  smoother, faster, more resilient and affordable clean energy. He made his statement at the launch of a report on ‘Sustainable Recovery Post COVID-19’ by the International Energy Agency (IEA) and Niti Aayog on September 18.

Highlights

  • Indian Railways has also committed to achieve 100 per cent electrification by December 2023 and it will thus become a net zero emitter by 2030.
  • NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant also said at the event that after the 2008-09 financial crisis, green initiatives accounted for around 16% of the total stimulus measures.
  • Chief Economic Adviser K V Subramanian mentioned that the COVID pandemic has highlighted the role of sustainable economic development.

Sustainable Recovery Post COVID-19 report

  • It has been prepared by the International Energy Agency (IEA) and Niti Aayog and it suggests measures that can be taken over the next three years.
  • The plan is focused on cost-effective measures to be implemented during 2021 to 2023.
  • It highlights six key sectors – electricity, transport, industry, buildings, fuels and emerging low-carbon technologies that need to be focused for long-term growth, future-proofed jobs and sustainable development goals.
  • The Sustainable Recovery Plan has three main goals including- boosting economic growth, creating jobs and building resilient and clean energy systems.

How Clean energy system can be created?

As per the report, following action plans can be implemented for transition to clean and cheap energy:

  1. By accelerating the deployment of low-carbon electricity sources like wind and solar.
  2. Through the expansion and modernisation of electricity grids.
  3.  By encouraging the use of cleaner transport such as more efficient electric vehicles and high-speed rails.
  4. By improving the energy efficiency of buildings and appliances.
  5. By enhancing the efficiency of equipment used in manufacturing, food and textiles industries.
  6. By making the production and use of fuels more sustainable.
  7. By boosting innovation and bringing more technologies in areas including hydrogen, batteries, carbon capture utilisation and storage, and small modular nuclear reactors.

Significance

  • The plan would lower the annual energy-related greenhouse gas emissions by 4.5 billion tonnes  2023 than usual.
  • Air pollution emissions would also decrease by 5%.