Bridge the Gap


Dear Sir/Madam,

We’re reaching out to you on behalf of GAIL (India) Limited and would like to invite you participate in our online debate #BridgeTheGap. The debate is based on the notion whether Natural Gas can be used as a bridge fuel between fossil fuels and renewable energy. This debate starts on the 8th of August and will conclude on the 15th of August. If you know anyone who might be interested in the above, please feel free to forward this email along.

You can participate in the debate Here.

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Writer & Blogger


  • India cannot go slow on economic growth as it has to grow to the full of its potential to lift millions of people trapped in abject poverty and catch up with countries at the top of the development chart. However, India cannot take the same high-carbon growth trajectory as was followed by developed countries. The country has already become the proverbial “elephant in the room” for its high greenhouse emissions.
    Given the exigency of fighting global warming and saving our planet from doomsday scenario, India’s current energy mix which heavily relies on coal is untenable. India must shift to a clean energy path if it wants to sustain its long-term growth. But that is easier than done. The country is richly endowed with renewable energy resources, especially solar and wind. But renewable energy alone cannot meet our growing energy needs due to its intermittent nature and low conversion efficiency, at least not in the current technological scenario. That is why the possibility of India leapfrogging from fossil fuels to renewables seems far-fetched.

    Though much cleaner compared with dirty coal, natural gas is not favoured as a fuel by the power sector due to poor cost economics. Unless power sector shifts to natural gas on a large scale, there is little possibility of promoting usage of the clean fuel in India.

    Natural gas will need regulatory leg-up in the form of special tariff if it is to be made competitive for the power sector. Regulators can stipulate peak hour tariff. Gas-fired power plants in an open cycle mode can be switched on and off at a very short notice unlike coal-based stations and are best placed to operate as source of power to mitigate our peak-hour electricity shortages which remain high despite fast-paced capacity addition in coal generation.

    The ball is obviously in the central government’s court. But before it asks the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission to frame such a policy, it will have to get states on board. Since financial health of the state power distribution companies is in a mess, states are likely to resist such initiatives.

    So it is clear that if natural gas consumption has to be promoted in the power industry, states will have to be persuaded by the Centre to expedite critical reforms to address issues like power theft, below-cost electricity supply to certain categories of consumers and monopoly of state-owned entities in power distribution business.

  • harindra kumar

    I am of the opinion that the scope of capturing solar power or wind power is limited. Do we think of covering the whole world with solar panels or wind turbines? the answer is obviously No. So we have to look forward to some alternative and cleaner fuels such as hydrogen or natural gas. Hydrogen has some inherent problem of handling as its flame is invisible and may prove more dangerous to handle due to risk involved. At the same time to generate hydrogen, fuel cells are used which are again running on natural gas. So ultimately, we have natural gas as the bridging fuel more because of its abundance and formation when some thing rottens which makes it kind of regenerating fuel – a kind of renewability.

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