New Delhi: India’s proposal for a global alliance on biofuels among members of the Group of 20 major economies will help accelerate sustainable biofuels deployment in support of the global energy transition, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said.
The biofuels alliance, which the world’s third biggest oil consumer wants to push during its G20 presidency, mirrors the International Solar Alliance (ISA) piloted by New Delhi and Paris in 2015 to bring clean and affordable solar energy within the reach of all.
“Such (biofuel) alliances are aimed at creating options for developing countries to advance their energy transitions,” the prime minister told PTI in an exclusive interview late last week.
“Biofuels are also important from the perspective of a circular economy. Markets, trade, technology, and policy – all aspects of international cooperation are crucial in creating such opportunities,” he said.
Biofuel is a renewable source of energy which is derived from biomass. India, which imports over 85 per cent of its crude oil needs, is gradually building capacity to produce fuel from items including crop stubble, plant waste, and municipal solid waste.
“Such alternatives can enhance energy security, create opportunities for domestic industry, and create green jobs – all crucial elements in ensuring a transition that leaves no one behind,” Modi said.
While India is on schedule to double the mixing of ethanol extracted from sugarcane and agriculture waste to 20 per cent with petrol by 2025, dozens of compressed biogas (CBG) plants are being set up.
The alliance is aimed at facilitating cooperation and intensifying the use of sustainable biofuels, including in the transportation sector. Its focus primarily is on strengthening markets, facilitating global biofuels trade, development of concrete policy lesson-sharing, and provision of technical support for national biofuels programs worldwide.
Such an initiative is also aimed at helping India’s transition to alternative fuels and cutting its import bill, as it aims to achieve its net zero carbon emissions goal by 2070.
The prime minister said that in an interconnected and interdependent world, the greater the capacities and capabilities of the countries around the world, the greater the global resilience.
“When the links in a chain are weak, each crisis further weakens the complete chain. But when the links are strong, the global chain can handle any crisis, utilising each other’s strengths,” he said making a case for global alliance.
Stating that the protection and preservation of the planet for future generations was a shared responsibility that needs to be given top priority, he noted that great progress has been made in climate-centric initiatives within India.
“India ramped up its solar energy capacity 20-fold in just a few years. It is among the top four nations in the world in terms of wind energy. In the electric vehicle revolution, India is playing an important role in both innovation and adoption,” he said.
“We are perhaps the first among the G-20 countries to have achieved our climate targets nine years ahead of the scheduled date.” Also, the action against single-use plastic has been recognised across the world. Great strides have also been made in safe sanitation and cleanliness.
“Naturally, we have moved from being just a member of global efforts to playing a leading role in many initiatives. Initiatives like the International Solar Alliance and Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure are bringing countries together for the planet. The ISA has got a great response with over 100 countries joining it,” he said.
The Mission LiFE initiative focuses on lifestyle for the environment. “Each lifestyle decision can be made based on what impact it will have on the planet in the long term,” he added.
The ISA aims to mobilise more than USD 1000 billion of investment needed by 2030 for the massive deployment of solar energy.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that global sustainable biofuel production would need to triple by 2030 to put the world’s energy system on track towards net zero emissions by 2050.
Liquid biofuels provided more than four per cent of the total transport energy supply in 2022.