New Delhi: State-backed Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) is leading the government’s efforts to set energy efficiency benchmarks and to have policies that will reduce the carbon intensity of the economy. At the core of its efforts is the idea that efficient use of energy is the least-cost option to meet the rising energy demand. Abhay Bakre, director general, BEE, explains in an interview how the energy efficiency industry is evolving. Edited excerpts:

How conscious are consumers about choosing energy-efficient appliances?

Indian business and consumers are now more conscious about energy efficiency and the savings it could bring. You will certainly find a consumer looking for a star rating in appliances they are about to buy. There is a huge success of the standard and labelling (S&L) scheme in which appliances with high energy saving potential are made mandatory to have star rating labelled by BEE. Energy-intensive sectors are given the targets by the Bureau to reduce its energy consumption per unit production under the perform, achieve and trade (PAT) programme. But still, I do think that every Indian needs to be made more aware about the efficient utilization of energy they are consuming.

Is there an estimate of the gains we could make on the climate front by adopting energy efficiency?

With energy efficiency, we could save 500 billion units of energy and avoid the need for 100 gigawatts (GW) of power capacity within 2030. This translates into a potential reduction of 557 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emission. Use of energy-efficient products and services entails adoption of new technology and investments into research and development. This opens up business opportunities, fosters entrepreneurship and creates jobs. Use of LED (bulbs) have given a boost to the decentralized lighting industry, which helped in job creation.

Is cost of new technology a challenge in the evolution of a robust energy efficiency market?

We are now going through a market transformation in energy efficiency. We do have an energy-efficiency financing platform and a framework for energy-efficient economic development programme for capacity enhancement of stakeholders related to energy-efficiency financing and for development of fiscal instruments to promote energy efficiency. BEE has institutionalized a “partial risk guarantee fund for energy efficiency" and venture capital fund for energy efficiency for addressing the debt-related issues in financing energy efficiency projects. Many outreach programmes for promoting awareness about energy efficiency, climate change and energy saving have also been held.

What are the new trends in India’s energy efficiency sector?

The overall energy market can be categorized into broad sectors of the industry, appliances, transport and buildings. These sectors are covered by the schemes implemented by BEE for better utilization of energy. Energy-intensive industries are targeted every year under the PAT scheme to raise their efficiency. It seeks to cover more sectors and more of every sector. Similarly, more appliances are considered under the standards and labelling scheme and their standards are being enhanced to global levels. Electric mobility is the trend in transport sectors where fuel economy norms have already been notified for both high duty vehicles and passenger cars. We are trying to ensure that energy conservation building code for commercial and residential buildings is adopted in every state and Union territory in next two years.

How should we go about achieving our climate change goals?

In a world of information, we need real-time data related to energy and climate. We are now preparing a “national strategic plan for energy efficiency" which will lay down the country’s energy efficiency potential and an implementation framework. That will also establish a specific national target for energy efficiency savings and an implementable road map to be achieved both in the next seven years as well as in the long term (15 years).

“Net zero energy buildings" are in the process of implementation. As the name suggests, the net consumption of such building will nearly be zero. The total consumption of the building on an annual basis is roughly equal to the amount of renewable energy generated in that building. BEE is also exploring enhancing cold storage efficiency.

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