EDITORIAL ANALYSIS–Why we need to look beyond the ‘electric’ smokescreen
The Editorial covers GS paper 3 [Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways Etc.]
- The obsession with electric mobility makes it look as if it is the only solution for India’s transportation problems.
- We still cannot ensure a 24×7 electricity supply to hospitals.
- All our villages still do not have a reliable electricity supply.
Why to not push to EVs?
- Close to 80% of the electricity generated is from coal and gas. Yet another 50,000MW of coal-fired power plants are being set up under the National Electricity Plan.
- More than 20% of all the electricity generated goes into “transmission and distribution losses”.
- Due to inadequate and irregular last-mile supply, close to 15 million tonnes of diesel is used by local generators to produce 80 billion KWh of electricity.
- Close to $2 billion worth of battery storage capacity is imported every year.
- Most independent power plants operate at 12-15% below their declared capacity as they over-invoice plant costs.
- There will be immense pressure on the power grid that is not yet fully reliable.
What are the other solutions available?
- Construction dust, road dust, thermal power generation, diesel generators, traditional cooking fuels, stubble burning and open waste burning also contribute.
- Need action against each of these sources.
- Dependence on fossil fuels can be cut down not just by banning diesel, but by other more sane and immediate measures.
- Upgrade to the latest diesel-engine technology in public transport, reduce traffic congestion, ensure adequate power supply and get into diesel-blends.
- Ban all Bharat Stage 3 (BS3) vehicles and below.
- At once, close to 40% of all the 300 million vehicles on the roads will be gone.
- There’s no “vehicle scrappage policy”.
What needs to be Public Transport?
- Assure top-notch public transport in India’s top 24 cities.
- A multi-modal grid of trains, buses, taxis, three-wheelers and two-wheelers could achieve this.
- Incentivize the manufacture and purchase of public transport vehicles through lower GST and cheaper loans.
- Encourage greater use of public transport among citizens through redemption and loyalty programs.
- Get all organizations with more than 100 employees to use bus fleets.
- Decongest the 60 top smart cities.
- They constitute almost 90% of our vehicular population and thus vehicular pollution.
- We need to focus on smoother traffic flow, better parking management and pedestrian movement.
- Close to 12% of vehicular fuel is wasted on idling and traffic snarls.
- Expand the traffic police strength by four-five times in over-jammed cities.
- Create and mandate dedicated parking spots for shared mobility services.
- Create vast grids of pedestrian skywalks.
- Operate multi-level parking lots.
- Each of these measures would show an immediate impact on vehicle-caused pollution and the use of fossil fuels.
Source: Live Mint.