Gas-Based Power Generation in India

GS-3 Mains

Short Notes or Revision Notes 

 

Question : “Examine the role of government policies and initiatives in promoting the development of infrastructure for gas transportation and distribution in India.

Context:

  • The Indian government directed all gas-based power plants to operate at full capacity from May 1 to June 30, 2024, to meet the anticipated rise in electricity demand due to an early heatwave.

India’s Gas-Based Power Sector

  • Central Electricity Authority monitors 62 gas-based power stations with a total capacity of 23,845 MW.
  • Natural gas demand is expected to rise by 6% in 2024 (IEA).
  • India is the 4th largest importer of liquefied natural gas (LNG).

Significance of Gas-Based Power

  • Advantages:
    • Lower emissions compared to coal.
    • Quicker ramp-up times for increased power generation.
    • Relatively small footprint compared to other sources.
  • Challenges:
    • Limited domestic gas reserves, necessitating imports.
    • Inadequate infrastructure for gas transportation and distribution (pipelines, terminals).
    • Competition with other fuels (coal, renewables) based on pricing.
    • Environmental concerns related to methane leakage and emissions.

Need for Increased Gas-Based Power

  • Cleaner energy source for improved air quality, especially in urban areas.
  • Operational flexibility and efficiency compared to coal plants.
  • Reduced dependence on coal for energy security and resilience.
  • Faster deployment for meeting short-term demand spikes.

Government Initiatives

  • Infrastructure Development:
    • 23,391 km operational gas pipeline network (Feb 2024).
    • Target to increase pipeline coverage by 54% to 34,500 km by 2024-25.
    • Pradhan Mantri Urja Ganga (PMUG) project for eastern India gas pipeline network.
    • City Gas Distribution (CGD) network expansion for wider piped natural gas (PNG) access.
  • Natural Gas Marketing Reforms:
    • Enhanced transparency and competition to attract investment.
  • Gas Price Rationalization:
    • New Domestic Gas Pricing Guidelines (2014) and HELP for producer incentives.
  • Natural Gas Infrastructure Development Fund (NGIDF):
    • Financial support for gas infrastructure development.
  • Promotion of LNG Imports and Terminals:
    • Diversifying gas supply sources and improving energy security.

 

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