Switch to saving

Print edition : June 01, 2007

The Bureau of Energy Efficiency is ready with plans to help regulate energy use so that India sustains its high growth rate.

BY A SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT

The BEE is encouraging the use of CFLs. Despite their high price, consumers are shifting to them.-K.K. MUSTAFAH

INDIA needs to sustain an 8-10 per cent economic growth rate over the next 25 years if it is to eradicate poverty and meet its human development goals. This will need a proportionate growth in the production of commercial energy, most of which is expected to come from fossil fuels and electricity. The increasing consumption of petroleum fuels will lead to more dependence on imports and energy insecurity.

India's energy intensity (0.18 kg of oil equivalent, or kgoe, per dollar of gross domestic product, or GDP, expressed in purchasing power parity, or PPP, terms) is lower than the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) average (0.19 kgoe/GDP-PPP), though the energy intensity of some developed countries is even lower. For instance, Japan has an energy intensity of less than 0.15 kgoe/GDP-PPP. In India, energy intensities of different units in a sector vary substantially; they range from among the best in the world to extremely inefficient units. However, there is room for improvement, with commercially available technologies and improved practices. Increasing global trade liberalisation and competition have made productivity improvement, including energy cost reduction, an important requirement for economic success.

The per capita consumption of energy in India, too, is one of the lowest in the world. It was 530 kgoe per person of primary energy in 2004, compared with 1,240 in China and the world average of 1,770. The annual per capita electricity consumption in the country is 631.5 kilowatt-hour (2005-06). The world average is 2,500 kwh, which is that of a middle-income country. To ensure a sustained economic growth rate of 8 to 9 per cent and to meet the energy needs of all citizens a quarter century from now, India needs to increase its primary energy supply by three to four times and electricity generation capacity by about six times. The demand for energy service will keep increasing because of accelerated industrialisation, urbanisation and an emerging consumer society. Consequently, energy efficiency across all sectors of the economy is essential to decouple energy supply growth from economic growth while ensuring that energy service demands are met.

India faces formidable challenges in meeting its energy needs and providing adequate and varied energy of desired quality to users in a sustainable manner and at reasonable costs. It has no choice but to expand the utilisation of all energy sources such as coal, oil, gas, renewable energy and atomic power, and to improve the efficiency of conventional and non-conventional energy utilisation.

To ensure "energy security", the policy tools of "energy conservation", "energy efficiency", "effectiveness of energy use" and "energy services" are important. The Government of India has rightly integrated them in the Energy Conservation Act, 2001, which came into force on March 1, 2002.

The Act empowers the Central government and, in some instances, the State governments to notify energy-intensive industries, other establishments and commercial buildings as designated consumers; prescribe energy consumption norms and standards for designated consumers; direct designated consumers to appoint certified energy managers, get energy audits conducted and implement schemes for energy conservation; prescribe energy conservation building codes and ensure compliance with them; and specify energy consumption standards for notified equipment and appliances. The E.C. Act defines the powers of a State government to designate State Designated Agencies in consultation with the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) to coordinate, regulate and enforce the provisions of the Act in the State.

The BEE was established on March 1, 2002, under the provisions of the EC Act. Its mission is to assist the government in developing policies and strategies to reduce the energy intensity of the Indian economy. This will be achieved with active participation of all stakeholders, resulting in accelerated and sustained adoption of energy efficiency in all sectors.

The major functions of the BEE are to develop and recommend to the Central government norms for processes and energy consumption standards, minimum energy consumption standards and labelling design for equipment and appliances, and specific energy conservation building codes; recommend any user or class of users of energy as a designated consumer; and create awareness and disseminate information for efficient use and conservation of energy.

The Central government has released Rs.50 crore to the BEE as corpus for establishing an Energy Conservation Fund. The interest earned on this is to be utilised for its annual recurring and non-recurring expenditures. The BEE is also authorised to collect appropriate fees for functions assigned to it and to raise funds from other sources. The Ministry of Power has sought an allocation of Rs.502 crore during the Eleventh Five-Year Plan. Of this, Rs.69.4 crore has been allocated in 2007-08.

The industrial sector accounts for about half the total commercial energy consumption in the country. Six key industries - aluminium, cement, fertilizers, pulp and paper, petrochemicals and steel - account for about 65 per cent of the total energy consumed in the industries. The energy intensity in some of these industries is reported to be higher than that of such industries in developed countries. The main reason for the higher energy use is the obsolete and energy-inefficient processes. Regular energy audits and implementation of economically viable recommendations and energy management systems will help establish energy-efficient processes and technologies.

The Indian Industry Programme for Energy Conservation (IIPEC) provides a forum for cooperation between <147,4,0>the government and industries to work together in exploring ways to improve energy efficiency through the exchange of information on the best practices and to identify energy-efficiency potential, establish efficiency targets and implement and manage conservation programmes. Further, it supports Indian industries in developing specific energy consumption norms. The participating units set their own targets for energy saving. This voluntary programme has met with full acceptance in seven sectors of industry, including aluminium, cement, chlor-alkali, fertilizer, pulp and paper, petrochemicals and refinery and textiles.

In March, the Central government notified designated consumers in nine sectors. The process is on to evolve an institutional framework to facilitate the filing of energy returns according to the E.C. Act. As many as 1,000 energy professionals have participated in the task force workshops the BEE conducted for different industrial sectors.

The industry sector has been exhibiting a steady increase in energy efficiency over the past decade. Large energy-intensive industrial users are addressed through the "Designated Consumer" provision of the E.C. Act. They are required to appoint energy managers, carry out periodic energy audits, report on energy usage and on the implementation of energy audit recommendations, and conform to the energy consumption norms. Efforts are on to promote time-of-day tariffs and incentivise purchase of electricity from captive generation by the grid for energy-efficient units.

Measures to achieve efficient lighting practices include incentives such as price reduction to consumers on bulk purchases of compact fluorescent lamps, or CFLs (as done by Delhi and Haryana and being contemplated by Assam), reduction of value-added tax (VAT) to 4 per cent on CFLs and making it uniform across the States, and promotion of the use of CFLs and equipment that are rated three-star or above.

The building sector also offers tremendous potential for efficient use and conservation of energy. Simulation studies have indicated a potential reduction of 30-40 per cent in energy use by following the Energy Conservation Building Code (ECBC). Launched by Union Minister of Power Sushil Kumar Shinde on May 26, 2007, it will be on a voluntary basis initially and will target large buildings that have a connected load of 500 kw. For old buildings, the government has initiated a programme to promote energy conservation through the public-private partnership model of performance through an Energy Service Company (ESCO). Agriculture accounts for about 27 per cent of electricity consumption in the country; this is largely used for agricultural pump sets. Pump set efficiency is also very poor, largely because free or subsidised electricity for farming provides no incentives for energy saving. Apart from awareness campaigns and incentives to farmers, isolating agricultural feeders and metering could go a long way in promoting energy efficiency.

The Energy Efficiency Standards and Labelling programme is a key area of the BEE. The Union Minister of Power launched the programme on May 18, 2006, in New Delhi. It is likely to result in energy savings of about 18 billion units annually from 2011-12. An institutional structure to ensure credibility for the scheme is being put in place. A massive awareness campaign is on to create the required market transformation.

The Standards and Labelling (S&L) Programme is the most cost-effective programme implemented all over the world. At present, the scheme has been put in place for frost-free refrigerators (FFR) and tubular fluorescent lamps (TFL) on a voluntary basis. As of now, 60 per cent of FFR and 90 percent of TFL are covered. The scheme will be made mandatory later and extended to other appliances. This will ensure that only those products that conform to Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) will be sold in the market.

Minimum energy performance standards have been set for products such as refrigrators.-G.R.N. SOMASHEKAR

Energy audit studies in several office buildings, hotels and hospitals indicate an energy saving potential of 23-46 per cent in lighting, cooling, ventilation and refrigeration. This is largely untapped, partly owing to a lack of effective delivery mechanisms for energy efficiency. Performance contracting through ESCOs is an innovative delivery mechanism for overcoming the barriers.

The first phase of the Energy Efficiency Government Building Programme covered these government buildings: Rashtrapati Bhavan; the Prime Minister's Office; South Block (Defence Ministry); Rail Bhavan; Sanchar Bhavan; Shram Shakti Bhavan; Transport Bhavan; Army Hospital Research and Referral; the Delhi airport; and the All India Institute of Medical Sciences. Seventeen government buildings have been identified for the second phase of the programme.

The ECBC sets minimum standards for building energy efficiency through design and construction while enhancing occupant comfort. The objective of the ECBC programme is to reduce the baseline energy use by ensuring that energy efficiency in buildings is incorporated at the design and construction phase itself.

For the ECBC, a building is defined as any structure or part of a structure having a connected load of 500 kw or a contract demand of 600 kVA and above and intended to be used for commercial purposes. The ECBC will cover only the energy performance aspects of the building and not others such as health and safety. The ECBC has been prepared for five climatic zones (hot and dry, warm and humid, composite, temperate and cold). This code would only apply to new commercial buildings with a connected load of more than 500 kw.

One of the important activities mandated under the E.C. Act is to promote efficient use and conservation of energy in energy-intensive industries (the Designated Consumers) and the use of energy-efficient hardware and services to reduce energy intensities in a financially attractive manner. Certified energy managers and accredited energy auditors in tandem can influence top management decisions on the implementation of energy-efficiency projects. The BEE conducts National Certification Examinations for energy managers and energy auditors. As many as 713 certified energy managers and 2,023 certified energy auditors have qualified in examinations conducted in the past three years. About 4,000 candidates qualified in the fourth National Certification Examinations this April.

The E.C. Act provides for the preparation of curriculum on efficient use and conservation of energy for educational institutions, boards, universities and autonomous bodies. The National Council of Education and Training (NCERT) has revised the textbook for Standard IX, incorporating part of the material provided by the BEE. It has also agreed in principle to introduce a chapter on "Energy Conservation" in the textbooks for Standards VII and VIII. This will make schoolchildren aware of issues and options concerning modest and efficient use of energy resources.

The school education programme covers other activities such as painting, essay, poster and banner competitions in English and Hindi on energy conservation and training and sensitisation of teachers and principals. The project has now been extended to 10 more cities and in five regional languages.

A letter from the Editor


Dear reader,

The COVID-19-induced lockdown and the absolute necessity for human beings to maintain a physical distance from one another in order to contain the pandemic has changed our lives in unimaginable ways. The print medium all over the world is no exception.

As the distribution of printed copies is unlikely to resume any time soon, Frontline will come to you only through the digital platform until the return of normality. The resources needed to keep up the good work that Frontline has been doing for the past 35 years and more are immense. It is a long journey indeed. Readers who have been part of this journey are our source of strength.

Subscribing to the online edition, I am confident, will make it mutually beneficial.

Sincerely,

R. Vijaya Sankar

Editor, Frontline

Support Quality Journalism
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor
×