By 2052, Indian planners may be into their 20th Five-Year Plan but how the country's economy would be is a guess no one wants to make right now. But on a much smaller plane, planners are venturing into energy scenario building by putting all relevant numbers together into some sort of a calculator.
Called the India Energy Planning Tool 2052, this would soon become an open source for researchers, planners, policy makers and just about anyone who wants to dig into the future. A group in the Planning Commission, with the help of knowledge partners across various sectors, has undertaken the exercise. "The forecasting will have visual presentation of demand, supply and import dependability in four likely scenarios," A K Jain, adviser, Planning Commission, told Business Standard. The first scenario would have the most pessimistic outlook, while the fourth would be the most optimistic.
The tool is based on a British model called the 2050 Pathways, developed by their Department of Energy and Climate Change. The purpose of it is to explore how the UK can meet the 2050 emission reduction target using the web-based 2050 calculator. The tool, through a user-friendly web version, allows private people to create their own pathways for a low-carbon UK.
Jain explained that currently there was no government tool to predict energy demand and show the country's preparedness for meeting the demand. "It's important to know how energy can be made affordable, sustainable and less import-dependent."
There have been sectoral studies like the India Hydrocarbon Vision 2025 and an integrated energy policy, prepared by the Planning Commission, that pegged demand to gross domestic product growth, but none of them took a comprehensive analysis of the various demand scenarios.
"There is a need to go beyond 20-30-year predictions because the country is locking in a lot of investment in the sector. But what we are undertaking is not forecasting but energy scenario building," said Jain.
Though the calculator would provide a tool to the country's policy makers and international groups to derive a mix of policy in meeting demand and supply in a sustainable way, it would also become a starting point for resource planning, involving water, land and natural resources.
The initiative is expected to be ready by December. The Planning Commission has started the exercise of engaging knowledge partners like Pune-based Prayas and Gurgaon's Teri, besides coordinating with government wings like the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) and Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE).
CEA would provide the data relating to power sources, while BEE would work on demand for power.
"We will be making assumptions and predict behavioural tendencies keeping in mind infrastructural constraints," said Jain.
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