India, a country with a population of more than 1.4 billion, is rapidly expanding. This merely indicates that the need for energy will rise steadily. Therefore, there are many prospects in the mining and hydrocarbon sectors. Prior to the pandemic, projections indicated that by 2030, India's energy demand would have increased by around 50%. But now that the pandemic has hit, it is anticipated to be approximately 35%. By 2040, India's energy consumption could, nevertheless, treble. By 2040, India wants to have an economy worth $5 trillion, and expanding the energy industry would be necessary to do so. By 2030, the Indian government wants to increase natural gas's contribution by 15%.
In order to meet India's projected 74% growth in oil consumption, 8.7 million barrels per day will be needed by 2040. Given that local oil and gas production has been static for years, India's dependence on fossil fuel imports will increase over the course of the next 30 years at the very least. India wants to achieve energy independence by 2047 in order to avoid paying a hefty energy import bill.
According to a Geological Survey of India (GSI) assessment, Northeast India has mineral deposits of Rs 10 lakh crore that are either underutilized, unutilized, or mishandled. In accordance with the 'Act East Policy,' GSI has undertaken 108 projects in NER on various mineral commodities over the last five years, and 23 mineral exploration projects are now being carried out during the current fiscal year 2022-23.
Solar, hydro, and bio-energy
The Northeast is blessed with a 65,837 MW untapped potential for renewable energy from sources including solar, small hydro, and bio-energy. Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Meghalaya, and Assam have the most potential for small hydro in the Northeastern Region (3,261.49 MW), whereas Assam has the greatest potential for bioenergy (276 MW). Assam, Manipur, and Mizoram have the most significant solar potential out of the NER's total 62,300 MW.
NER has 1,738 million tonnes of coal resources, mostly in the states of Meghalaya, Assam, and Arunachal Pradesh, and there is plenty of room for the growth of coal-based businesses in addition to electricity generation. Coke can be made from coal for use in steel mills, the graphite industry, and other applications. Assam coal is suitable for making fertilizer due to its high sulphur concentration and low ash content.
The northeastern portion of India's hydrocarbon resource potential can be a boon in a situation like this. The Upper Assam Shelf and Assam-Arakan Fold belt sedimentary basins in the area have enormous hydrocarbon resource potential of 7,600 MMtoe, of which only about 2,000 MMtoe have been found thus far.
In this circumstance, India's northeastern hydrocarbon resource potential can be quite advantageous. Only around 2,000 MMtoe of the vast hydrocarbon resource potential of the Upper Assam Shelf and Assam-Arakan Fold belt sedimentary basins in the region have been discovered thus far.
With a hydropower potential of 60,000 MW (> 25 MW), or 42.54% of the country's total capacity, the Northeast, often known as the "Future Power House of India," is mostly made up of the states of Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, and Meghalaya. By November 2021, however, just 3.47% (2027 MW) of that potential had been used. The first state in the region to begin a hydroelectricity boom was Sikkim in 2001–2002. Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, and other states quickly followed.
The Northeast was a major focus of the Ministry of Power's 50,000 MW hydro initiative, and at the Northeast Council's Sectoral Summit on the Power Sector, the "Pasighat Proclamation on Power" was adopted, designating the region's "hydropower potential" as a top priority area with regard to India's energy security.
On the basis of the "43rd Report on Hydropower" that the Standing Committee on Energy (SCE) presented to the Lok Sabha on January 4, 2019, the Government of India (GoI) designated hydropower projects with a capacity of more than 25 MW as sources of "renewable energy," with a particular emphasis on utilizing the full potential of hydropower in the underdeveloped regions of the Northeast as well as other parts of the nation.
The rich biodiversity of the area must be adequately protected while working toward development, taking into account the effects of massive natural gas flaring during oil and gas exploration and production (E&P) activities, as well as the effects of mineral extraction, particularly coal mining in Assam, uranium mining in Meghalaya, and limestone mining in Meghalaya, which have all been linked to significant deforestation, water pollution, and toxic discharge into rivers and other water systems.