Synopsis- Grid failure in Texas and flash flood in Uttarakhand highlighted the issues in the process of decarbonization.
Almost every major country has agreed to a time-bound, “net-zero” carbon emissions target. They are also in agreement over the steps required for decarbonization. However, it is not sufficient to just set the targets. There are certain legacy hurdles in the way of decarbonisation, such as:
- Poorly designed planning systems.
- Poor regulatory mechanism for the energy ecosystem and lack of decision-making.
- Lack of investment in energy infrastructure.
2 recent incidents, i.e. The Nanda Devi flash flood and electricity grid system failure in Texas highlights these issues.
What is decarbonization?
Decarbonization – It is the process of eliminating or reducing the carbon emissions sent into the atmosphere. Reducing the amount of CO2 output is essential to meet global temperature standards set by the Paris Agreement [Net zero carbon emissions target by 2050]. The Following are some steps required for decarbonization;
- Reduce– Reduce greenhouse gases and use renewable energy sources like solar power and wind power.
- Use of Electric vehicles instead of combustion engines.
- Energy conservation- Energy demand should be conserved by reducing wastage and losses and using it more efficiently.
How incidents of grid failure in Texas and flash floods in Uttarakhand highlight the issues in the decarbonization process?
- First, lack of preparedness- The planners had incorporated emergency response procedures for cold waves and floods. However, they didn’t prepare for such extremes of weather conditions.
- For example– In Texas- The authorities planned a worst-case scenario based on a 15GW drop in generating power. However, they lost 30GW, which resulted in a total blackout.
- One reason for this is experts presume every scenario based on historical data. Thus
- Second, poor regulatory and institutional mechanism. It is evident in both Grid Failure in Texas and Uttarakhand flash flood.
- No umbrella authority was present to manage the disaster with responsibility for the entire system.
- The recommendations made after the Kedarnath floods about land use and watershed management were not implemented.
- Third, lack of investment in energy infrastructure-
- In Texas, the grid was not resilient enough to absorb the surge in the flow of intermittent renewable electrons.
- India’s transmission system is also not capable of managing the energy transition. The Transmission issue slows down the adoption rate of solar power by failing to introduce green energy to the grid.
All of these factors have negative effects on the decarbonization process. They must be resolved in order to reach the Paris Agreement’s global temperature goals.
To ensure the sustainability of the decarbonisation process the following steps are required-
- Policymakers need to create robust mechanisms. It will facilitate inter-ministerial and inter-state collaboration within the country and multilateral cooperation internationally.
- Poorly designed planning systems, inadequate regulatory frameworks, and a lack of investment are all challenges that policymakers must tackle.