Renewable Energy – Wind, Tidal, Geothermal, etc.

Securing India’s energy transition 


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Critical Mineral Acquisition Plans of India in Africa

Mains level: Government Initiatives to Secure Critical Minerals

Why in the news?

India has signed new agreements and updated existing ones with a dozen African countries to secure critical minerals. This initiative is crucial for achieving India’s energy transformation goals.

India’s Critical Mineral Acquisition Plans in Africa

  • India has signed new agreements and updated existing ones with a dozen African countries to secure critical minerals.
  • This initiative is crucial for India’s energy transformation goals, aiming to diversify sources and reduce dependence on any single supplier.
  • The agreements are part of a broader strategy to secure access to minerals necessary for renewable energy technologies and electric vehicles.

Demand for Energy in India and China’s Dominance

  • Energy Demand in India: India’s peak power demand increased to 250 GW in 2023-24, marking a 12.7% increase from the previous year. By 2030, India’s peak power demand is expected to reach 366 GW, up from the current level of 240 GW.
  • China’s Dominance: China leads in securing and processing critical minerals, having established long-term relationships with mineral-rich countries in Africa and Latin America. Chinese companies dominate mining rights in economically poor yet mineral-rich nations.
    • China has built significant capacities for processing and refining minerals, making it the primary global hub for critical mineral processing.

India’s Other Overseas Critical Mineral Acquisition Plans

  • Earlier this year, India signed an agreement with Argentina to explore and develop five lithium brine blocks.
  • The Geological Survey of India (GSI) discovered inferred lithium reserves of 5.9 million tonnes in Jammu & Kashmir.
  • India aims to diversify its sources of critical minerals by securing mining leases abroad, ensuring a stable and sustainable supply chain.

Government Initiatives to Secure Critical Minerals

  • Exploration and Geological Studies: The government is pushing for more extensive exploration and geological studies within India to identify potential reserves of critical minerals. The Geological Survey of India has been tasked with accelerating the exploration of India’s 3.2 lakh sq km land mass using new data and technologies.
  • Securing Mining Leases Abroad: India is focusing on securing mining leases in other countries to ensure a diversified supply of critical minerals. The agreements with African countries and Argentina are examples of this strategy.
  • Building Domestic Capacities: The government is providing incentives to build refining and processing capacities within India for critical minerals. There is an emphasis on attracting private miners, both domestic and global, to participate in critical mineral exploration within India.
  • Policy and Auction Reforms: The government is analyzing why auctions often fail to generate enough interest and is considering policy changes to attract big players. Coordinated efforts between the Centre and state governments on clearances and royalty payments are being emphasized to streamline the auction process.
  • White Hydrogen Exploration: There is a call for active exploration of potential White Hydrogen deposits within India’s geographical borders.

Way forward:

  • Accelerate exploration efforts across India’s 3.2 lakh sq km land mass.
  • Utilize new data sources and advanced technologies to identify potential reserves of critical minerals.
  • Focus on unexplored areas for potential discoveries of critical minerals, including White Hydrogen deposits.

Mains PYQ:

Q Do you think India will meet 50 percent of its energy needs from renewable energy by 2030? Justify your answer. How will the shift of subsidies from fossil fuels to renewables help achieve the above objectives? Explain. (UPSC IAS/2022)

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