Energy efficiency as a means to redress the energy security challenge in India : an assessment

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Prompted by the concerns about the impending energy security challenge for India, this research examines the role of energy efficiency as a means to redress this challenge. This is achieved in this research by estimating (for the period 2015-2050) the energy security and socio-economic impacts of three alternative scenarios - by employing an energy-augmented input-output-based-model, developed specifically for this research. The three scenarios are: Business-as-Usual Historic Trends (BAU-HT), Country Policy (CP) and Sustainable Futures (SF). The scenarios represent alternative future policy pathways - each characterized by different sets of economic, technological, energy and environmental considerations - that India could adopt to achieve its socio-economic aspirations. The BAU-HT scenario reflects a continuation of the current energy and economic policy trends while the CP and SF scenarios represent higher levels of commitment to promoting energy efficiency. The CP and SF scenarios broadly align with India’s draft National Energy Policy 2017, and Sustainable Development Scenario in The IEA’s World Energy Outlook 2017, respectively. The analysis suggests that if current policy trends continue (i.e. BAU-HT scenario), by 2050, India is likely to experience considerably worsened energy security, with a five-fold increase (compared to 2015) in primary energy requirements and GHG emissions, and high fossil fuel and energy import dependency (70 and 17%, respectively). The severity of these impacts can be considerably reduced – and, energy security improved – in the CP and SF scenarios - marked by increased emphasis on promoting energy efficiency. In the CP and SF scenarios, for example, the primary energy requirements will increase three-fold and two-fold, respectively – as compared to five-fold increase in the BAU-HT scenario. Further, the GHG emissions in the CP and SF scenarios will be 45 and 84% lower, and, energy diversity, energy import dependency, trade balance and employment, considerably better – in comparison with the BAU-HT scenario. The analysis also suggests that the macro (national) and micro (sectoral) level impacts of various scenarios could vary considerably. For instance, capital investment and employment rates in the CP and SF scenarios generally increase at the national level, whereas at the sectoral level they increase only in the non-energy sectors, and decline in the energy sectors. Insights into these impacts and associated trade-offs, it is contended, presents the Indian policymakers with a robust platform to consider the role energy efficiency can play in promoting energy security.
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