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Bill to set up carbon markets introduced in Lok Sabha

A bill that seeks to make it mandatory for buildings with a minimum connected load of 100 kW to meet their energy requirements from renewable sources was introduced in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday.

Power Minster R K Singh introduced in the Lok Sabha the Energy Conservation (Amendment) Bill that also has provisions to establish carbon markets and empower state electricity regulatory commissions to make regulations for a smooth discharge of its functions.

Trinamool Congress MP Saugata Roy opposed the introduction of the Bill, contending the provisions were not sufficient to find alternative sources of energy and the bill seeks to make the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) a top-heavy structure.

“This Bill has nothing to improve the introduction of green hydrogen, green ammonia and other non-fossil fuels,” Roy said and urged the government to bring more comprehensive draft legislation.

Seeking to address concerns raised by Roy, the Union power minister said the bill did not seek to turn BEE into a large body, but only increase the members in the governing council to ensure participation of other departments in its functioning.

“We are also introducing carbon markets. A person embracing renewable energy will earn credits which can be purchased by others. This will make financing renewable energy projects easier,” Singh said.

The Bill seeks to mandate the use of non-fossil sources, including green hydrogen, green ammonia, biomass and ethanol for energy and feedstock.

Singh said big residential buildings consume 24 per cent of electricity and the bill has provisions to make such buildings more energy efficient and sustainable.

It also has provisions to slap penalties for non-compliance with the rules by industrial units or vessels, and on manufacturers if a vehicle fails to comply with fuel consumption norms.

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“With the passage of time, and in the context of the energy transition with special focus on the promotion of new and renewable energy and National Green Hydrogen Mission, a need has arisen to further amend the said Act to facilitate the achievement of ‘Panchamrit’ as five nectar elements presented by India in Conference of Parties -26 in Glasgow last year,” Singh said in the Statement of Objects and Reasons of the Bill.

The amendments also seek to promote renewable energy and the development of a domestic carbon market to battle climate change, introduce new concepts such as carbon trading and mandate the use of non-fossil sources to ensure faster decarbonization of the Indian economy and help in achieving sustainable development goals in line with the Paris Agreement.

“It is considered necessary to have legal provisions to prescribe minimum consumption of non-fossil energy sources as energy or feedstock by the designated consumers. This will help in the reduction of fossil fuel-based energy consumption and resultant carbon emissions to the atmosphere,” the Union minister said.

Similarly, a need was also felt to provide a legal framework for a carbon market to incentivise actions for emission reduction leading to increased investments in clean energy and energy efficiency areas by the private sectors, he added.

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