Energy has been discussed in the G20 as a critical element for sustainable global economy since 2009. A dedicated Energy Sustainability Working Group was established in 2013 to discuss energy related issues. In 2017, energy was discussed as part of the Climate Sustainability Working Group. During the Argentine Presidency in 2018, the energy issues were de-linked from climate and steered towards discussions on energy transition under the Energy Transition Working Group. The Working Group deliberates on energy security, accessibility and affordability, energy efficiency, renewable energy, innovation, technology and financing
Key achievements and highlights of ETWG
India’s G20 Presidency successfully concluded the Energy Transitions Ministerial meeting (ETMM) in Goa and has positioned India at the center of global energy transition. We are poised to play a leadership role in this arena.
Energy Transitions Working Group under the G20 India Presidency was marked by multidimensional challenges to build consensus amongst the G20 members on critical issues related to the global energy transition and how they could collaborate and strategize to address these challenges presented by the evolving energy landscape and energy security challenges. The Energy Ministers acknowledged many of the India Presidency’s proposals and their onerous obligation to undertake resolute, decisive and practical steps to ensure a just, affordable, and inclusive energy transition, while concurrently advancing toward the realization of sustainable development goals. Amongst the G20 members, there was a broad consensus that energy security, energy access, market stability, and energy affordability need to be advanced simultaneously while advancing energy transitions, in pursuit of economic growth and prosperity, and ensuring access to modern energy for all, leaving no one behind. During the G20 Energy Ministers Meeting in Goa, many of the developed and developing economies echoed their support towards the Presidency outcomes, voluntary principles and energy transition pathways agenda set going ahead.
Multiple rounds of working group discussions were held upon on many incremental proposals under the Presidency. The presidency was able to successfully negotiate and adopt on the Energy Transitions Ministerial Meeting Outcome Document and Chair’s Summary outlining action points and the way forward to accelerating energy transitions. The key achievements and highlights under each of the six priority areas proposed include:
- Energy Security and diversified supply chains- In the pursuit of energy security and diversified supply chains, Members emphasized the need to align global energy demand, ensuring undisrupted flow of energy from various sources, suppliers, routes and maintain reliable, responsible supply chains, notably for critical minerals. Members noted that Presidency’s voluntary high-level guiding principles would result in accelerating the development of the global value chain of critical minerals required for sustainable energy transitions. They also recognized the importance of Transnational Grid Interconnections and cross-border power system integration, which enhance both energy security and Universal Energy Access.
- Universal Energy Access and Just, Affordable, and Inclusive Energy Transition Pathways- The Energy Ministers agreed upon accelerating progress on clean cooking, electricity access, and eradicating energy poverty and called for economic diversification, investments in new industries, workforce transformation through reskilling and upskilling. They member further emphasized upon promoting zero and low emission technologies, creation of new jobs and social dialogue to address affected areas, Indigenous Peoples, local communities, women, youth, children, migrants, and vulnerable people and further noted the role of “Voluntary Action Plan for Promoting Renewable Energy to Accelerate Universal Energy Access”.
- Energy Efficiency and Responsible Consumption - Acknowledging the role of energy efficiency and energy savings, as the “first fuel”, G20 members agreed to strengthen global efforts on energy efficiency through international engagements with focus on evolving an effective roadmap on a voluntary basis, for achieving the SDG 7.3 target of doubling the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency within this decade. The members further acknowledged that there should be voluntary and mutually agreed technology co-development/transfer, promoting circular approaches. Members aligned with the presidency’s call to incentivize and empower sustainable consumer choices and welcomed the Lifestyle for Sustainable Development.
- Addressing Technology Gaps for Energy Transitions - G20 members collectively reiterate the significance of accelerating the pace and scale of commercial deployment of mature clean energy technologies including but not limited to solar, wind, hydropower including pumped storage, geothermal, bioenergy, heat pumps, CCUS and, nuclear energy. Members also acknowledged the need for acceleration of development and deployment of other emerging and new technologies such as electrolyzers, bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS), direct air capture (DAC), high efficiency fuel cells, ACC battery storage, and sustainable advanced biofuels, as well as, small modular reactors (SMRs) for those countries that opt to use it.
- Fuels for Future- A substantial milestone of presidency has been the successful adoption of the ‘G20 High- Level Voluntary Principles on Hydrogen’ with an aim to build a sustainable and equitable global hydrogen ecosystem that benefits all nations. G20 Members agreed upon to need to build sustainable and equitable global hydrogen ecosystem, developing voluntary and mutually agreed harmonizing standards as well as mutually recognized, and interoperable certification schemes. Consequently, India’s proposal for the establishment of a Global Hydrogen Innovation Center, guided by the International Solar Alliance (ISA) was well noted. G20 members also recognized the potential opportunity of working together for further deployment and development of sustainable biofuels and noted Presidency’s initiative to establish a ‘Global Biofuels Alliance’to promote the development and bolster biofuels markets, development of standards in the sector, and global biofuels trade and more.
- Access to Low-Cost Financing for Energy Transitions - Taking the cognizance of capital-intensive costs involved, G20 members agreed to work towards facilitating access to low-cost finance for technologies supporting the energy transitions. As per the report prepared under the Presidency and its estimation that the world needs an annual investment of over USD 4 trillion, with a high share of renewable energy in the primary energy mix. Furthermore, noting the ‘Voluntary Action Plan for Lowering the cost of Finance for Energy Transitions’ prepared by the Presidency, Members recognized the need for international finance institutions and MDBs to enhance and develop new mechanisms and products to scale up the mobilization of private finance for this purpose.
Way Forward & Priority Actions
Six Future initiatives/ global programmes to be undertaken by Ministries of Power in conjuction with MNRE, Ministry of Mines, MoPNG, Ministry of Coal and NITI Aayog
The Energy Transitions Working Group meetings and the Energy Ministers’ Meeting held under India's G20 Presidency have been resoundingly successful, marking a pivotal moment in the global efforts towards sustainable and clean energy transitions. Post Ministerial outcome, following actions points for India to pursue with other countries on the global stage.
- India will actively champion free and open trade of Green Hydrogen/ zero and low carbon Hydrogen. As a nation poised to play a pivotal role in the transition towards sustainable energy systems, India is committed to harnessing its renewable energy potential and technological capabilities to facilitate the widespread adoption of green hydrogen.
- India envisions the harmonization of Green Hydrogen/ zero and low carbon Hydrogen standards with the goal of fostering worldwide collaboration, facilitating trade, and igniting innovation. This pursuit holds the capacity to unlock economies of scale, promote technology transfer, and expedite the transition towards cleaner energy sources.
- India's visionary approach aims to propel a comprehensive transformation in energy efficiency measures, with the ambitious target of doubling the global rate of energy efficiency improvement by the year 2030. This goal encapsulates India's resolute commitment to fostering a sustainable and responsible energy landscape on a global scale.India is poised to share its best practices and knowledge with the global community.
- Energy security stands as a foremost priority for India. This encompasses ensuring the alignment of global energy demand with sustainable sources is essential, encompassing the uninterrupted flow of energy from diverse suppliers through reliable and responsible supply chains. India is resolutely committed to forging collaborations aimed at securing access to critical minerals pivotal for driving the energy transition.
- India is ardently driven to Advance Energy Access through Renewable Energy (RE) initiatives, especially in developing and African countries. Through targeted projects, capacity-building efforts, and knowledge-sharing, India aims to empower developing countries with the tools to harness renewable resources, ushering in a new era of clean, affordable and sustainable energy access.
- India acknowledges that access to technology and low-cost finance are pivotal for energy transitions and will continue to advocate for a collective approach that promotes technology transfer, knowledge sharing, and cultivates innovative solutions. India must advocate for exploring new chemistries for energy storage, aimed at accommodating the variability of renewable energy sources and fulfilling the dynamic energy requirements of its rapidly growing population. (In line with the formation of Energy Storage Task Force ESTF co-chaired with US under India-US Strategic Clean Energy Partnership.
- India acknowledges the crucial role of grid interconnections, resilient energy infrastructure and regional/cross-border power systems integration in enhancing energy security, fostering economic growth, and facilitating universal energy access for all, in affordable, reliable and sustainable manner. We also need to keep in mind the comparable and competitive advantage other nations may have over India if such Transnational grids are established.This also serves the objectives of the Indian initiative of One Sun One World One Grid (OSOWOG)