India advances on Renewable Energy sector- Roadmap to Access Clean Cooking
New Delhi: India, which is among the top three nations of the world leading towards global renewable energy growth, has set a target of installing 175 GW of renewable energy capacity by the year 2022. This includes 100 GW from solar, 60 GW from wind, 10 GW from bio-power and 5 GW from small hydro-power.
Niti Aayog’s Indian Energy Security Scenario portal states that the energy demand for cooking in 2047 will be between 410 tWh to 599 tWh, corresponding to ‘heroic effort’ and ‘least effort’ scenarios. The reduction in energy demand, they claim, will be from the introduction of more energy-efficient cooking systems.
The country’s Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) aims to base 40% of the total installed power generation capacity on non-fossil fuel resources by 2030 with international support on technology transfer and financing.
Rudimentary cookstoves and open fire-based cooking methods are toxic, so much so, that the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates it leads to around four million deaths every year – a figure that exceeds the death toll attributed to malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS combined.
Cooking with inefficient stoves increases exposure to household air pollution, increasing the risks of contracting a range of diseases including childhood pneumonia, a chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, ischemic heart disease, stroke, and lung cancer.
Moreover, reliance on wood and charcoal for cooking and heating also contributes to environmental degradation. In addition, burning fuels like wood, charcoal, coal, and kerosene contribute to climate change through emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and short-lived climate pollutants like black carbon.
Clean Cooking methods and their policy implementation not only reduce the risk of numerous health factors but also protect the environment against Climate Change.
NITI Aayog in collaboration with GIZ developed a document titled “Roadmap for Access to Clean Cooking Energy in India” (2019) in an attempt to give direction to this transition, determining the various interventions needed for advancement on clean cooking energy. It has also envisioned new solutions—including electricity and piped natural gas (PNG)—for meeting the demand for cooking energy in urban India.
In recent years, the most prominent effort of the government in terms of improving access to clean cooking energy is the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) which has provided subsidised LPG connections to over 77 million households (as of August 2019) and consequently improved the penetration of LPG connections; about 94 per cent of Indian households have an LPG connection as of April 2019.
The report, in its projection, claims that cooking will continue to rely heavily on LPG, stacked with other modes of cooking such as improved cookstoves (ICS) for biomass, biogas systems, PNG and electricity. The urban fuel supply will see a large contribution from PNG and electricity, replacing a percentage of LPG use.
Meanwhile, even in the most forward scenarios, the rural segment will see very little penetration of PNG and electricity, at most 20 per cent. In terms of clean cooking, ICS for biomass are given medium priority, including research to develop ‘cleaner’, efficient ICS technology, and improved pellet (fuel) production.
While addressing the conclave of IIT Kharagpur in February 2021, Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave a clarion call for an immediate push to enhance existing efficient and clean cooking technologies. He insisted upon Innovations and bringing in startups by the tech minds of the country, that can advance on Clean Energy Generation.