India's immediate energy solution

India's immediate energy solution

India and the world's energy mix is mostly driven by coal, oil & gas and up to 2025, 80 % of it will still be met by fossil fuels. Beyond 2025, renewables may offset the mix in their favour. The world's energy demand will increase at the rate of 2% per year, however India's energy demand may increase around 6 % year. 

Shale gas exploration and exploitation is highly research intensive and there is an immediate need to set up high end laboratories (Geochemical, Petrophysical, Geophysical and Optical) to evaluate the shale gas resource potential of sedimentary basins in India. This will need funding from the Government. The other key technology for shale gas exploitation is ydraulic Fracturing, for which we need  international collaborations. India has a significant potential for shale gas of over 250 tcf., and even if we are able to produce 0.5 - 1.0 tcf. of shale gas per year by 2018, it should offset India’s Energy Crunch.

To meet the challenges of Global Climate Change, the developed economies may thrust on developing economies the need to integrate fossil fuel based thermal power stations with Carbon Capture & Storage. CCS is a new worldwide initiative, addressing the capture of carbon dioxide from thermal power stations and storing it in underground geological formations (such as depleted oil reservoirs for enhanced oil recovery, gas reservoirs for production and saline aquifers and basalt formations for storage etc.), or storing it in biomass.

Carbon storage in geological formations is still at the research stage in India, however ONGC has proposed a pilot study for enhanced oil recovery in Ankleshwar, an oil field in Western India. Technical reports on the occurrence of deep saline aquifers away from the sea-coast are scanty and R&D efforts in this area need to be focussed. Indian basalts may not be an attractive proposition for carbon storage, as areas having basaltic rocks are prone to seismicity. Further, these rocks are underlain by thick Mesozoic sediments, which are gaseous hydrocarbon bearing. The viable carbon storage alternatives for India are Bio- Carbon Capture and Storage (Bio-CCS) as well as finding the scientific pathways for increasing the fertility of ocean and soil by carbon dioxide uptake.

Renewable energy (Solar, Wind & Biomass) has an installed capacity of around 24,000 MW in India, and its role in the power sector is continuously advancing. Beyond 2030, renewables will contribute more than 20 % of the energy mix. The development of renewable energy is also becoming cost effective through a drive for new technology.

About the Author:

Dr. Baleshwar Kumar is Visiting Scientist at the Gujarat Energy Research & Management Institute in Gandhinagar. He was previously the Chief Scientist at the National Geophysical Research Institute in Hyderabad.

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