Expert calls for separate energy budget by the Central government

S. Ratnakumaran, recipient of the Oorja Samrakshana Puraskaram (energy conservation award) of the Government of Kerala, has called for the formation of an independent Energy Ministry at the Centre as a measure to boost efforts aimed at ensuring energy security.

Taking into consideration the importance of energy for development, timely execution of power generation projects and the quantum of funds involved, the Centre should consider a separate Energy Budget to be presented in Parliament, he has said.

He made the suggestion while presenting a paper on ‘Energy management and energy efficiency initiatives for India’ at an international seminar on ‘Energy Secure India: Options and Strategies’, organised by the Japanese Cultural and Information Centre in Thiruvananthapuram last week.

Coordination

Currently, there is no ministry at the Centre exclusively responsible for coordinating all forms of energy, energy efficiency, greenhouse gas emission, climate change initiative and other related activities. Energy-related matters are now being handled by the Ministry of Power, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy Sources, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Ministry of Coal and Ministry of Environment and Forests, the expert said.

Priority

He said initiatives to shift from energy-intensive to less energy-consuming industries should be prioritised. In States where energy resources were scarce, less energy-intensive industries could be given priority. The government should examine whether there should be restrictions on the export of energy-intensive manufactured products, he said.

Mr. Ratnakumaran said the Union and State governments should provide financial incentives aimed at encouraging investment in energy- efficient equipment and processes by reducing the investment cost. Public awareness and information campaigns constituted an important element to support energy efficiency and promote energy-efficiency policies and programmes.

Alternative sources

Awareness will encourage consumers to become more energy-efficient and make greater use of alternative energy sources. Publications, exhibits, advertising, toll-free telephone lines, conferences, websites, training, software and promotional products could be used to spread awareness. He said that changes in consumer behaviour could lead to significant energy saving.

Mr. Ratnakumaran said all organisations should have an energy policy and a separate department dedicated to energy efficiency and implementation of energy management. Organisations should have mandatory energy saving plans. Proper maintenance of energy-consuming equipment is another important field of regulation, he added.

Energy development policies should encompass latest technology, lowest consumption of resources, lesser environment pollution and sound economic returns, the expert added.