[Answered] Why is it important to develop a resilient and indigenous supply chain of key minerals for clean energy technologies? Suggest measures to secure the supply of strategic minerals.

Introduction: Contextual introduction.
Body: Explain why it is important to develop a resilient and indigenous supply chain of key minerals for clean energy technologies.  Also write some measures to secure the supply of strategic minerals.Conclusion: Write a way forward.

India aims to reach net zero emissions by 2070 and to meet fifty percent of its electricity requirements from renewable energy sources by 2030. For this there is need for greater indigenisation of manufacturing. India imported 75 percent of its installed solar photovoltaic (PV) modules over 2017-2022 (IEA 2022).

It is important to develop a resilient and indigenous supply chain of key minerals for clean energy technologies due to following reasons:

  • To become more self-reliant, the clean energy manufacturing sector in India will require access to a consistent supply of critical minerals, which are inputs in the manufacturing process.
  • Any supply shock can severely imperil the economy and strategic autonomy of a country over-dependent on others to procure critical minerals.
  • The ongoing supply chain crisis caused by the war in Ukraine and the COVID-19 pandemic highlights the challenges associated with sourcing critical non-fuel mineral resources.
  • They are critical as the world is fast shifting from a fossil fuel-intensive to a mineral-intensive energy system. So, it is critical for energy security.
  • Their production is often controlled by a few firms, often from countries that are geostrategic competitors.

Measures to secure the supply of strategic minerals:

  • Figure out the mineral requirements of the domestic industry by a task force which includes the ministries of power, new and renewable energy, heavy industry, and science and technology.
  • Create five-year road maps with clear targets for deployment and indigenous manufacturing across clean energy applications.
  • KABIL could collaborate with domestic industry to bolster its market intelligence capabilities for tracking global supply-side developments.
  • The private sector should be encouraged to secure minerals for its own requirements.
  • The government should jointly invest in mining assets with geostrategic partners or private sector entities with expertise in specific geographies. E.g. establishing resilient clean energy supply chains is a priority for the Quad.
  • India could incentivise investments in technologies that rely on local raw materials. It could also propose co-development of such technologies with geostrategic partners.
  • Develop policies on urban mining aimed at recycling mineral inputs from deployments that have completed their useful life. These could help further reduce dependence on international sourcing.

As securing access to a steady source of non-fuel mineral inputs is a strategic imperative for India, there is need of involving the development of institutional capabilities, careful assessment of key policy choices, and close coordination between several actors.

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