Improving Energy Efficiency in India

Look for this Energystar Logo for more efficie...

Look for this Energystar Logo for more efficient Appliances (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

New Delhi, Apr 23, 2012 (Washington Bangla Radio / PIB India) Energy is one of the most sought after things in the present scenario and the same is true for India too. Nationally as well as internationally, keeping in mind the growing energy needs not only there is a need for resource augmentation but also concerted step needs to be taken to conserve energy. Energy conservation is also being encouraged at governmental levels as India is part of the consortium of nations trying to act against the threat of climate change and reducing the carbon footprint.  As a step towards this end, the Government of India has enacted the Energy Conservation Act in 2001. Over the past one decade, energy efficiency in India has been increasing at a good pace and energy intensity declined by about 20-25%. Yet, there are places where energy efficiency opportunities exist and hence can be implemented.

The Energy Conservation Act, 2001 is the most important multi-sectoral legislation in India and is intended to promote efficient use of energy in India. The Act specifies energy consumption standards for equipment and appliances, prescribes energy consumption norms and standards for consumers, prescribes energy conservation building codes for commercial buildings and establishes a compliance mechanism for energy consumption norms and standards.

In order to implement the various provisions of the EC Act, Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) was operationalised with effect from 1st March, 2002. The EC Act provides a legal framework for energy efficiency initiatives in the country.  The Act has mandatory as well as promotional initiatives. The Bureau is spearheading the task of improving the energy efficiency in various sectors of the economy through regulatory and promotional mechanism. The primary objective of BEE is to reduce energy intensity in the Indian economy. This is to be demonstrated by providing policy framework as well as through public-private partnership.

During the 11th Plan Period, the Government of India initiated a number of programmes to promote energy efficiency. This has resulted in avoided generation capacity of 10,000 MW in the last five years. Some of the principal programmes launched included Standards and Labeling of Equipment and Appliances, Energy Conservation Building Code, Energy Efficiency in Industry and Residential Lighting.

Standards and Labeling of Equipment and Appliances

Labeling has been introduced for 16 major energy consuming appliances, providing users with information on the energy use of a model and its relative efficiency. Labeling has been mandatory for 4 products- air conditioners, refrigerators, distribution transformers and tube lights. This programme in 2010-11 has led to saving of 3718 million units of electricity equivalent to avoided capacity generation of 2162MW. With the market for star-rated labeled products growing, there is now a move towards making appliances super efficient i.e. appliances that save as much as 30-50% energy than the most energy efficient versions available in the market. To accelerate this shift and make such appliances affordable, BEE is in the process of launching the Super Energy Efficient Program (SEEP) that would provide manufacturers incentives to produce super efficient appliances. It forms a part of Market Transformation for Energy Efficiency (MTEE) initiative, one of the four initiatives of the National Mission on Enhanced Energy Efficiency. Super efficient appliances have a high cost of production as well as uncertainty of demand. The program envisions that incremental cost can be compensated by incentives on one hand and cost reduction due to economy of scale on the other.

Energy Conservation Building Code

A National Energy Conservation Building Code (ECBC) has been prepared for the design of new commercial buildings. Over 700 ECBC compliant buildings are at various stages of construction. In addition, performance contracting through Energy Service Companies (ESCOs) is being promoted to enable the retrofit of existing buildings so as to reduce their energy consumption. It has resulted in electricity saving of 22.45 million units in 2010-11 which is equivalent to avoided capacity generation of 4.27 MW.

Energy Efficiency in Industry

The Government has notified the energy efficieny improvement targets for the 478 most energy intensive industrial units in 8 sectors. Together, they account for about one third of the total energy consumption in India. Issued under the Energy Conservation Act, 2011 the targets are  to be achieved by 2014-15. Overall, industrial units used 166 million tonnes of oil equivalent energy in 2009-10, which has to be reduced by 6.6 million tonnes of oil equivalent in the target year. The targets, however, are not defined in terms of absolute energy use reduction, but in terms of the amount of energy used to produce a unit of the product. The sectors covered by the notification are iron and steel, cement, fertilizers, aluminum, pulp and paper, chlor-alkali, textiles and thermal power stations. Within each sector, only plants using more than a specified amount of energy are included in the targeted list. An interesting feature of the programme is that these units which are able to achieve greater energy efficiency improvements within the specified targets can capture the excess savings through the issuance of Energy Saving Certificates. These certificates can be traded and bought by other units covered by the programme who may find it expensive to meet their targets through their own actions. Units which are unable to meet their target, either through their own action or through purchase of certificates will be liable for repayment of penalty. The penalty will be related to shortfall in target achievement. A penalty of Rs.10,154 will be levied for shortfall of 1 tonne of oil equivalent in the achievement of the target.

Residential Lighting

The Bachat Lamp Yojana (BLY) provides energy-efficient Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) to households at the cost of incandescent bulbs as the former are expensive and hence not able to penetrate in the domestic sector. Over 20 million CFLs have already been distributed under the BLY programme. The scheme targets to replace 400 million bulbs leading to a possible reduction of 6000MW and about 24 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.

Besides, the Government is also promoting innovative schemes like Energy Conservation Awards etc. In order to accelerate Demand Side Management measures in agricultural sector, BEE has initiated an Ag DSM programme in which pump set efficiency upgradation would be carried out through Public-Private Partnership mode. The BEE has also registered a country-wide Programme of Activities (POA) under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) which enables quick registration of each investor led project as a CDM project under the POAs.

- PIB Features, with inputs from the Ministry of Power, Govt. of India

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