Analysis: Energy efficiency initiatives in India


Following the realisation of the impact of energy conservation in helping utilities stabilise grid networks during peak hours, stakeholders in the Indian energy sector including government parastatals and utility firms increased their focus on energy efficiency initiatives.

State governments increased their funding towards expanding their energy efficiency portfolios under efforts to harvest benefits associated with energy efficiency.

In pilot and full-scale energy efficiency initiatives implemented in India and globally, energy efficiency has proved to help energy providers to improve their customer services by helping consumers reduce their energy costs. This, in turn will help utilities to optimise their operational cost by avoiding investing in new energy generation infrastructure.

More importantly, energy efficiency help companies in meeting carbon emission reduction policies as it would pave way for a swift transition to low-carbon energy generation resources such as wind and solar.

The majority of energy efficiency projects so far implemented in India focused on the installation of LED bulbs for residential, commercial and government-owned buildings and streetlights.

Apart from installing energy efficient appliances, efforts have also largely focused on improving consumer awareness on energy conservation and towards the drafting and implementation of regulatory frameworks to pave way for increased implementation of energy efficiency programmes.

Following its approval of a $149.4 million budget to increase the implementation of energy efficiency projects , the Indian state of Andra Pradesh in November announced that it is drafting and will implement a policy to make energy efficiency mandatory for consumers and utilities operating in the state.

The policy would also help the federal government to meet its target to be amongst the top three most energy efficient states in India by 2022.

The decision to draft the policy is in line with recommendations set by the World Bank for the state to increase its energy efficiency savings of 1.5 million units in 2015 through the development of an energy efficiency policy.

Despite efforts by state governments and utility firms to improve energy efficiency, the country’s Energy Efficiency Services Limited has played a leading role in the implementation of energy efficiency measures.

EESL has collaborated with multiple state governments, municipalities and local companies on energy conservation.

In October, EESL even agreed with the Indian Ministry of Urban Development to jointly implement energy efficiency programmes at municipal levels under the country’s Smart Cities Mission.

The two will partner on energy efficiency initiatives with cities selected to deploy smart cities technologies under the Smart Cities Mission.

Funding of energy efficiency initiatives

Not only has EESL relied on funding within India to deploy its programmes but the organisation has also secured funding from international organisations.

In December, EESL was promised financial assistance by the World Bank to expand its energy efficiency initiatives in and outside India following a success in its energy efficiency measures in India.

In a press statement, EESL said it plans to extend its projects to Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand and the UK.

In India, the loan will be used to expand EESL’s energy efficiency services portfolio by including the provision and installation of water pumps and solar powered irrigation systems to municipalities and farmers.

From the kFW Development Bank and Asian Development Bank, EESL secured $216.6 million and $200 million loans respectively.

Energy efficiency MoU’s

Apart from efforts by EESL, the Indian energy efficiency sector has also received positive contributions from agreements between the Indian government and countries and environmental institutions outside Asia.

In November 2016, India’s Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) and the Swiss Agency for Construction and Technologies extended the duration of the Indo-Swiss Building Energy Efficiency Project (BEEP) to 2021.

Introduced in 2012, the BEEP aims to reduce energy consumption in buildings for utilities to meet peak demand periods. Through the programme, the two countries share their knowledge and expertise in the energy efficiency sector by hosting workshops and joint research and implementation of innovative energy conservation technologies.

This year, stakeholders in the country’s energy sector have also shown their interest in improving energy conservation in buildings.

Recently, utility firm Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (Tangedco) partnered with the Coimbatore Corporation, Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) to reduce energy consumption by 1MW in buildings owned by the government, factories and educational institutions in Coimbatore.

In a combined statement, Tangedco said it plans to meet its 1MW energy usage reduction target within the next five months by installing energy efficient equipment in selected buildings as well as to increase energy efficiency awareness of participating owners of buildings through the sharing of tips via social media platforms.

The Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises has in February hosted a programme to enhance energy conservation knowledge amongst medium and small business enterprises in West Bengal, reported the Energy Infra Post.
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At a separate workshop on energy efficiency hosted by the Small Industries Development Bank of India in Telangana last week, calls for financing institutions to increase funding the building energy efficiency sector were raised for the country to achieve its smart cities goals, reported the Telangana Today.

The Jagran Josh also reported of an approval of a Memorandum of Understanding on energy efficiency signed between India and the United Arab Emirates by the Indian Union Cabinet.

On the hand, the North Delhi Municipal Corporation also highlighted its plans to install some 200,000 energy efficient smart LED streetlights to reduce energy consumption by about 64,44% and energy bills from about $676,000 per month. [India announces $149.9m energy efficiency budget].


Image credit: UK India Business Council