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What is energy security? Its importance and challenges

What is energy security? Its importance and challenges

What is energy security? Its importance and challenges

There may be differences of opinion among experts on various reasons related to the shortage of coal earlier this month, but they will all agree that it cannot be blamed on any one institution or ministry. However, the Ministry of Coal and ‘Coal India’ must admit that they have made a mistake somewhere-be it in the management of the production process or in planning the supply, or keeping important leadership positions vacant. Ministry of Power/NTPC and power distribution companies should also accept their responsibility.

There is no single specific public body at the central or state government level that has the power, responsibility, and accountability of executive oversight for the entire coal value chain. This is a notable shortcoming, which affects the entire energy field. This shortcoming needs to be bridged not only to prevent recurrence of another coal crisis but also to realize the country’s own ‘green’ ambition.

importance of energy conservation

Energy security means the reliable supply of energy with the required quantity and quality at reasonable prices and access to energy resources and fuels. Energy security depends on many factors.

The definition of energy security for countries importing energy materials mainly includes three aspects:

  • Access to adequate amounts of energy resources,
  • suitable format,
  • sufficient value.
  • India imports 80% of its oil requirements and is the third-largest consumer of oil in the world as a whole.
  • India’s energy consumption is expected to grow at 4.5% each year for the next 25 years.

Recently, high costs on oil imports due to high international crude oil prices have increased the current account deficit (CAD), raising concerns about long-term economic stability in India, and this scenario underscores the importance of energy security.

Challenges of Energy Security in India

Policy Challenges: Failure to attract international investment in domestic hydrocarbon exploration.

Coal mining in India suffers from the problem of delays due to regulatory and environmental clearances.

NITI Aayog has prepared an energy strategy, but it does not have any executive authority. The “Integrated Energy Policy” published by the erstwhile Planning Commission in 2006 also faced the same situation.

Then, the Planning Commission document was supported by the Cabinet, but most of its recommendations were ignored.

Accessibility Challenge: The household sector in India is one of the largest consumers of energy. It is responsible for about 45% of the total primary energy use. In rural areas, 90% of the total primary fuel consumption for cooking comes from biomass. This has serious health implications on rural people.

Infrastructure and Skilling Challenges: There is a lack of skilled manpower for the development of conventional and non-conventional energy and the infrastructures are not of sufficient quality.

India lacks transport infrastructure to make energy accessible. For example, India lacks pipeline infrastructure, which could have been a useful medium to boost the country’s total supply of gas. Gas will play a major role in the Indian energy mix, as it can be used effectively in many sectors.

Economic Challenges: Coal, oil, and natural gas are the most important sources of primary energy in India. Inadequate domestic supply of these hydrocarbons is forcing the country to increase its import bill.

Rising fuel subsidies create difficult conditions for the economy.

External Challenges: India’s weak energy security is under severe pressure due to increasing dependence on imported oil, regulatory uncertainty, international monopolistic tendencies, and opaque natural gas pricing policies.

Given its difficult geographical position in South Asia, India is facing a strategic challenge to meet its energy needs.

There has been a failure to bring all interested parties together in the IPI (Iran-Pakistan-India) gas pipeline and TAPI (Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India) gas pipeline for an assured supply of natural gas.

way ahead

Following steps can be taken to ensure energy security:

Legislative Action: The government should pass an act with an emphasis on accountability and security, which can be named as “Energy Responsibility and Security Act”.

The importance of energy should be promoted by giving constitutional recognition to energy by this act. It should legally include India’s responsibility to provide citizens with safe, affordable, and clean energy, and in this context, it should monitor progress towards energy independence, energy security, energy efficiency, and the achievement of “green” energy. Measurable metrics should be developed for

In short, the Act will provide the constitutional mandate and framework for the formulation and execution of an integrated energy policy.

Institutional Action: The government should redesign the existing structure of energy decision-making. In this context, priority may be given to the creation of an all-encompassing Ministry of Energy to oversee the existing vertical silos of the Ministries of Petroleum, Coal, New & Renewable, and Power.

One such ministry existed in the early 1980s (although it did not cover petroleum). It would be appropriate to give the minister in charge of this new ministry the same importance as the ministers of defense, finance, home, and foreign affairs.

An executive department can also be established within the Prime Minister’s Office. It may be referred to as the “Department of Energy Resources, Security and Sustainability”.

The aim will be to identify and manage all the issues that are currently overlooked in the gaps created by the existing framework. This will provide an opportunity to leverage the importance of “India Energy Inc” and to formulate and execute an integrated energy policy to maximize India’s competitiveness in its engagement with the international energy community.

Financial Action: Ensuring easy access to finance is important and the government should promote clean energy R&D and innovation.

Dissemination of public awareness: This will involve coordinating and implementing a communication strategy to spread public awareness about current and emerging energy-related issues, especially global warming.

This department will have less authority than other energy departments, but since it will be set up under the Prime Minister’s Office, it will actually be the most powerful executive body that will drive the “green transition” with utmost responsibility.


Without changing the existing roles and responsibilities of the various ministries overseeing petroleum, coal, renewable energy, and power, a new energy ministry would be able to identify and manage issues that tend to be overlooked in the gaps created by the current structure.

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