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A Bridge To A Cleaner Future – Natural Gas

Context

  • The Energy Conservation (Amendment) Bill, 2022, was a significant development because it has the potential to bring together a number of separate initiatives, including the Perform, Achieve, and Trade programme and renewable energy certificates, by establishing a market for carbon trading.
  • It will hasten the transition to clean energy by igniting cleaner substitutes like natural gas, pumped storage, and hydrogen.

Relevance:

GS Paper-3: Climate Change, Energy and Environment

Mains Question

In line with the government’s goal of creating a gas-based economy, natural gas is well positioned to play a significant role in the energy transition. Evaluate. (150 Words)


Key Highlights

  • The transition will need a variety of technologies and energy sources to provide coordinated complementary support because of India’s extensive geography, heterogeneous energy needs, and logistical limitations.
  • Natural gas, among other options, is well positioned to play a significant role in the energy transition, in line with the government’s goal of creating a gas-based economy.

Natural Gas Star Program

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency established the Natural Gas STAR programme in 1993 to give businesses with oil and gas operations in the country a framework for adopting methane-reducing practises and technologies and fortifying their voluntary emission reduction efforts.

Methane Challenge Partnership

Methane Challenge Partnership: In order to encourage oil and natural gas companies to adopt low-cost technologies and practises that increase operational efficiency and lower methane emissions, the EPA established a new voluntary programme in 2016 called the Methane Challenge.

Natural gas has advantages as a medium-term viable alternative.

  • Cleaner Fuel Alternative: Natural gas has a well-established supply chain, is mature on the international market, and is a relatively cleaner fuel.
    • Through a combination of strategic supply agreements and increased domestic exploration and production, India can work towards the stated medium-term goal of 15 percent share.
    • Because of the unusually mild winter in Europe and the potential for an economic downturn in 2023, it is anticipated that international gas prices will decline.
  • Complementing Renewables: o Because they have the flexibility to quickly ramp up the generation as the solar wind downs in the evening, natural gas-based power plants are well positioned to catalyse renewables.
    • They can accommodate seasonal variations as well, such as low wind generation in the winter.
  • Decreased Urban Pollution: o Natural gas, a relatively clean fuel, significantly lowers urban air pollution. Given that 21 of the top 30 most polluted cities are in India, this is pertinent.
  • EVs are becoming more affordable, but widespread adoption is still years away.
  • Decarbonizing the transportation sector: o Natural gas infrastructure investments totaling more than $60 billion are in progress, including the expansion of the city gas distribution (CGD) network.
    • There will be a robust CGD network accessible in more than 550 districts by 2030.
    • As a result, natural gas will be a crucial component in the decarbonization of the transportation sector and become the fuel of choice for both personal and commercial vehicles. Additionally, it will increase the lifespan of vehicles, promoting the circular economy.

Do You know?

  • Burning natural gas results in fewer traditional air pollutants, such as sulphur dioxide and particulates, than burning coal or oil, making it a cleaner fuel.
  • By producing about half as little carbon dioxide per unit of energy as the best coal technology, burning natural gas is generally better for the environment.

International Methane Emissions Observatory (IMEO):

  • On the eve of the COP26 UN Climate Conference in Glasgow, the IMEO was unveiled at the G20 Summit.
  • IMEO is a data-driven, action-focused initiative by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) with support from the European Commission to catalyse a dramatic reduction of methane emissions, starting with the energy sector.
  • IMEO will ensure public transparency on anthropogenic methane emissions by bringing global reporting on methane emissions to a new level.

Government Actions:

  • Through carefully considered policy changes and programmatic initiatives, the government has been actively promoting and assisting the natural gas industry.
  • One Nation, One Gas Grid is among the crucial ones that can be developed.
  • Marketing changes
  • The first Gas Exchange will debut in 2020.
  • The National Green Hydrogen Mission and the announcement of a hydrogen policy

Conclusion

  • The move reaffirms India’s leadership in the clean energy transition because hydrogen is anticipated to play a significant role in the long-term energy transition.
  • However, for green hydrogen to be widely used as a transportation and industrial fuel, its economics must significantly improve.
  • For the majority of consumers, the current cost-benefit analysis is unworkable financially.

In general, India’s commitment to a clean energy transition necessitates the use of a variety of technologies and fuels.

Using natural gas as a transitional fuel to a cleaner future will help with climate change mitigation.


July 2024
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