World : The need for a single energy ministry

A sole point of reference in the sector is necessary to ensure energy security, sustainability and accessibility

Five different ministries along with a multitude of regulators govern India’s energy sector. Petroleum and natural gas, coal, renewable energy and nuclear energy have separate ministries or departments. We also have a Ministry of Power, along with State-level bodies that regulate electricity distribution companies, or DISCOMS. Add to this, the presence of different regulators for each type of fuel and energy source which makes it cumbersome for businesses operating in this sector. Further, the petroleum and natural gas sector has two regulators – Directorate General of Hydrocarbons for upstream activities and the Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board for downstream activities.

Data constraints

There are also issues with data collection. No single agency collects energy data in a wholesome and integrated manner. Data pertaining to consumption are barely available while supply side data collected by agencies of respective ministries are riddled with gaps. The Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation collates data available from various ministries and conducts surveys at sporadic intervals. On the energy efficiency front, the Bureau of Energy Efficiency is the sole statutory authority with the mandate to regulate energy efficiency on the consumption side. There is no agency or body for the same purpose on the supply side.

This stands in stark contrast to most other nations with their varied energy governance models. Developed and efficient countries such as the United States, Germany, France and the United Kingdom have their vibrant, diverse and prolific energy sectors administered by a single ministry or department. There are also instances where the energy ministry is in conjunction with other portfolios such as environment, climate change, mines and industry. For example, the U.K. has the “Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy”, France has the “Ministry of the Environment, Energy and Marine Affairs”, Brazil has the “Ministry of Mines and Energy” and Australia has the ‘Ministry of Environment and Energy’. The predominance of unified energy ministries is evident.

 

Source : https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/the-need-for-a-single-energy-ministry/article30453805.ece

Smart Grid Bulletin August 2020


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