The oil ministry is pitching for converting diesel generators (DGs) used by telecom towers to run on natural gas to cut the economy’s carbon footprint by reducing diesel consumption and expanding the clean-burning fuel’s share in India’s primary energy basket.
An oil ministry dossier for states on opportunities in gas-driven economy says the country can reduce diesel consumption by 326 million litres of diesel a year if the 182,000 of the 520,000-plus towers – where conversion is possible –switch to gas.
To give a perspective, the quantity of diesel saved is equivalent to roughly four days’ consumption in Delhi, the country’s largest automobile market. This means if all the identified towers are converted, it will save four days’ emission in Delhi.
The conversion push builds on the government’s drive to make natural gas available across 53% of the country’s area by adding 18,000 km of pipelines in the next few years and launch city gas service in 400 districts covering 70% of the population.
Tower operators are required to provide uninterrupted services 24×7, making diesel-guzzling DGs a necessity in the absence of continuous grid supply, especially in the hinterland. Nearly 80 of these DGs are of 25 KVA capacity, 15% of 125 KVA, while the rest include battery storage and solar.
The dossier suggests guidelines from environment and forests ministry to ban or replace DG sets to gas generators as the fuel becomes available in more areas. It also suggests including gas generator manufacturing in ‘White’ category for easier environmental clearance.