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Gas-based economy was the wrong approach, says NITI member Aayog

Pointing out that gas explorations in the KG basin have not yielded the desired results and that 25 gigawatts (GW) of gas-fired power plants are idle in the country, Niti Aayog member VK Saraswat during his visit to Gujarat on Saturday India said shifting to a “gas-based economy” was the wrong approach.

“When we were talking about energy policy, there was a line of thought that India should switch to a gas-based economy. Do you know the genesis of thought? The United States discovered shale gas and discontinued the use of all other fuels, because it was the cheapest fuel available and they started talking about a gas-based economy… So India, which was importing oil and gas, was also he thought about the economics of gas,” Saraswat said. while she was addressing the students of Karnavati University.

“So when it came to NITI Aayog, I was the only one who said it was the wrong approach. Because India’s resources are not oil and gas. India’s resource is coal. So why aren’t they mining their own coal, instead of importing gas?” he told the meeting.

Noting that the investments needed to establish a gas-based economy amounts to Rs 3 lakh crore in terms of building LNG terminals and pipelines, the former DRDO director said: “A globally connected system can fool you sometime , if you don’t.” see what is valid for your own country. We are a tropical nation. We have a lot of wind and coal. So why don’t we do our energy transition which has a combination of all of these?

Later, when asked why he criticized the gas-based economy in his speech, Saraswat told the media: “Gas from the KG basin was supposed to be affordable. Unfortunately, when we investigate those projects, we find that they are not affordable. Under the assumption that we will have a huge gas resource in our country, we have established a large number of gas-fired power plants. What happened to them? Nearly 25 gigawatts (GW) of gas-fired power generation capacity is currently idle. The reason is that we have to import gas.”

Saraswat said high gasoline prices may be “to blame” for the Ukraine-Russia war.

“Even before, gas prices used to be so unaffordable that our fertilizer plants were not working properly, because they all ran on gas. So when you depend on gas supply from abroad, we have coal in the country. If we can convert coal to shale gas through gasification and if we control pollution through the use of carbon capture, then we will be self-sufficient.”

He said that five coal gasification plants are being built in the country.

Asked what the way forward is for states like Gujarat, which have built huge gas infrastructure, Saraswat said: “I’m not saying we’re going to shut down gas-based infrastructure. We have gas in Assam and in Gujarat, so we have to use them. But to say that we will switch 100 percent to gas economy is incorrect. You have to have a proper balance and use other energy sources.”

Saraswat also pointed out that scientists play a miniscule role in policy formation within India.

“Unfortunately there is a tendency in our country that when policies are made on any subject, the least contacted are the scientists. The basic element of science, which is required for the growth of the nation, if it is not taken into account, then the policy formed will not be scientific, ”he said.

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