Every day should be National Energy Conservation Day | Mint

Every day should be National Energy Conservation Day

Light bulbs, one of the most common electric appliances, account for about 15% of India’s total electricity consumption (Photo: Bloomberg)
Light bulbs, one of the most common electric appliances, account for about 15% of India’s total electricity consumption (Photo: Bloomberg)

Summary

  • Energy efficiency is just as important as energy generation, and has tremendous potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while making Indian businesses more competitive. We must adopt it as a way of life.

India observes National Energy Conservation Day on 14 December every year to celebrate its achievements in energy efficiency and conservation. On this occasion, let us reflect on the many ways that we – as individuals, communities, businesses, institutions and governments – can contribute to energy conservation by embracing energy efficiency in various ways.

Fans and air-conditioners

In India, fans are used extensively both in households and small commercial establishments. However, most of them are conventional fans, which consume almost three times as much as the most efficient ones available today. India has more than 66 crore fans, which on average run for 18 hours a day at least nine months a year, so there’s huge potential for saving energy here. The Bureau of Energy Efficiency’s rule that all ceiling fans must have star ratings from January 2023 is therefore a welcome development. 

While conventional fans typically consume 75-80W of power, 3-star fans require 40-45W, and 5-star fans as little as 28-32W.  Efforts are underway to give consumers the option to buy super-efficient 1.5 TR inverter split air-conditioners at prices comparable to those of other energy-efficient air conditioners. These super-efficient ACs are 10% and 30% more efficient than the average BEE 5-star and BEE 3-star ACs currently available.

Streetlights

Light bulbs, one of the most common electric appliances, account for about 15% of India’s total electricity consumption. A 7W LED bulb provides the same amount of light as a a 14W CFL or a 60W ICL. A BEE 5-star rated LED bulb is 35% more energy-efficient than a standard 9-watt LED bulb. By switching from a regular LED bulb to a BEE 5-star rated ones, we can achieve energy savings of 35 units per bulb per year and monetary savings of 140 per bulb per year.  

The 36.86 crore LED bulbs distributed since 2015 under the UJALA scheme alone have enabled savings of over 19,152 crore on energy bills and cut energy use by 47,880 million kWh a year. Similarly, the 1.329 crore LED streetlights installed under the Streetlight National Programme have reduced CO2 emissions by over 6.15 million tons, and energy consumption by 8928.34 MU a year.

Solar induction cookers

Induction cookstoves make cooking faster and more energy-efficient. They are 5-10% more efficient than conventional electric resistance units and about three times more efficient than gas stoves. Solar induction cookers also reduce indoor air pollution, which poses a risk to human health. 

Electric cooking can thus help fulfil India’s ‘Mission Life’ by promoting healthy, sustainable lifestyles. Today, around 2.7% of all rural households and 10.3% of all urban households use some form of electric cooking, and there is an immense potential to increase this manifold.

Old buildings and public spaces 

The air-conditioning systems in many old buildings were not designed for high levels of ventilation or filtration. By retrofitting these systems, we could improve energy efficiency and air quality as well as comfort. A programme is already underway across India to retrofit commercial buildings with new lighting and air-conditioning systems. Energy audits of the 12,710 buildings completed so far – including railway stations and airports – have indicated potential energy savings of 30-50%. 

Smart meters 

India is looking to digitise its energy grid starting with advanced metering infrastructure (AMI), of which smart meters are an important element. The data from smart meters, combined with deep analytics and artificial intelligence tools, will help grid operators manage the demand side. 

AMI will not only improve the operational efficiency of discoms but also allow consumers to monitor and manage their energy consumption. This will reduce energy bills and improve energy efficiency. It will also help integrate distributed energy sources and battery storage solutions into the grid. The government’s vision of installing smart meters across the country is a much-needed step in this direction. 

Decentralised solar power

Decentralised solar power projects developed in vacant, unused or excess land near or within discom substations could reduce the burden of electricity generation and subsidies on state governments and help discoms avoid transmission and distribution losses and network augmentation costs. 

Decentralised solar power systems, together with battery storage, could immensely benefit underserved rural communities and farmers by powering agricultural pumps, street lighting, household lighting, and cooking appliances. Decentralised solar power is clean and affordable, and benefits everyone involved. 

IE3-class electric motors

Industries account for about 40% of India’s electricity consumption, and electric motor systems alone account for 28%. However, the motors used in India have traditionally been low on energy efficiency, making businesses less competitive. 

The adoption of high-efficiency IE3 motors by industries could help address these challenges. This calls for the creation of a robust ecosystem for such motors and innovative financing models for small and medium businesses. Aggregating demand and procuring in bulk is a good way of creating a market for high-quality yet affordable IE3 motors.

It's Important to remember that energy efficiency is just as important as energy generation and has tremendous potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We must pledge to take up energy efficiency as a way of life and make every day National Energy Conservation Day.

Vishal Kapoor is chief executive officer, EESL and Convergence Energy Services Limited (CESL).

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