NEW DELHI – India, a country of around 1.35 billion inhabitants, expects one of the highest growth worldwide in energy demand after the market recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic with the consumption jumping to almost double, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Monday.
“Leading global bodies project that there will be a contraction in global energy demand over the next few years also. But, these agencies project India to emerge as a leading energy consumer. India is set to nearly double its energy consumption over the long term,” Modi said in the inaugural address of the India Energy Forum.
“India’s energy future is bright and secure,” the leader said in a video-conference, also attended by Saudi prince and Petroleum Minister Abdul-aziz Bin Salman, United States Energy Secretary Dan Brouillete and Daniel Yergin, the vice president of British consultancy IHS Markit.
According to Modi, India – the third biggest aviation market that has he fastest growing domestic aviation sector – is set to witness a rapid growth in its airlines’ fleet, with Indian carriers expected to double the number of planes from 600 to 1,200 by 2024.
Similarly, the country’s oil and gas refining capacities are “expected to grow from about 250 to 400 million metric tons per annum by 2025” according to the prime minister, who added that this was part of a shift towards a gas-based economy.
Indian authorities also expect to increase the renewable energy installed capacity to 175 gigawatt by 2022 and 450 GW by 2030.
“We will continue to make efforts to fight climate change,” insisted Modi, stressing his commitment to achieving the goals over the use of renewable energy.
Saudi Prince Abdul-aziz highlighted the importance of partnering with India in its energy growth, and said that his country viewed New Delhi as an ideal ally.
He said that Saudi Arabia was the largest energy exporter and India was one of the fastest-growing energy markets, making it a mutually-beneficial partnership.
Abdul-aziz added that it was the right moment for India to lead a worldwide shift towards sustainable energy.
The South Asian country witnessed an unprecedented 23.9 percent contraction in its GDP in the first quarter of its financial year – between April to June – due to lockdown measures to contain the spread of the new coronavirus.
The government has prioritized economic recovery in recent months, lifting almost all restrictions as part of a gradual reopening.