India’s $4.3 billion budget for energy transition goes to fossil fuel ministry

(Energy TransitionThe Guardian, 2 Feb 2023) However, the country’s annual budget for 2023-24 has many positives: support for domestic EV battery manufacture, green hydrogen, interstate transmission of power, pumped storage, EVs, natural farming and mangrove replantation.

In its first annual budget to focus squarely on energy transition, India has allocated Rs35,000 crore (US$4.3 billion) “for priority capital investments towards energy transition and net-zero objectives, and energy security”, but has allocated this sum to the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas.

Experts have questioned this crucial allocation to the fossil fuel ministry – especially as no fresh outlay has been made to the renewables ministry.

Is the government signalling to develop more strategic gas reserves or gas infrastructure, or helping [oil marketing companies] make up losses on account of high oil and gas prices?” said Vibhuti Garg, director, South Asia, at the think tank Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), adding that the fine print isn’t yet clear. 

“[If] a majority of this allocation would go towards gas exploration, then it signals a bet on gas as the bridge fuel to India’s energy transition,” said Dr Aman Srivastava, fellow at the Centre for Policy Research (CPR), a think tank.

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Energy TransitionThe Guardian, 2 Feb 2023: India’s $4.3 billion budget for energy transition goes to fossil fuel ministry