India marks December 14 as National Energy Conservation Day, so it is essential to discuss energy conservation and the need for renewable energy.
Energy conservation refers to the efforts made to ensure that energy is used efficiently by either using less energy for a particular constant purpose (switching off lights and fans when not being used) or reducing the use of a particular service that uses energy (driving less and using public transport instead). Energy conservation is a conscious individual effort; it leads to energy efficiency at the macro level. The end goal of energy conservation is to reach towards attaining sustainable energy.
Here is a look at India’s macro efforts of undertaking renewable and sustainable energy production.
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The world is in a transition phase, and energy is central to it. India has been responsible for almost 10% of the increase in global energy demand since 2000.
India’s energy demand in this period has almost doubled, pushing the country’s share in global demand up to 5.7% in 2013 from 4.4% at the beginning of the century. The primary energy demand in India has grown from about 441 Mtoe (Million or Mega tonnes of oil equivalent) in 2000 to about 775 Mtoe in 2013.
This demand is expected to increase from about 1250 (estimated by International Energy Agency) to 1500 (estimated in the Integrated Energy Policy Report) million toe in 2030.
How are global manufacturers using technology to conserve energy?
In other parts of the world, almost 45.2% of energy companies use IoT technologies to monitor production.
According to Gartner, IoT usage in the energy sector is expected to grow to 50 billion devices by 2020 and manufacturers are taking advantage mainly on the data this technology could provide them to cut energy costs.
Coming back to India, while the industrialists are taking steps to shift towards sustainability; a study was conducted by the Ministry of Power on the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) sector to assess energy use and technology gap at unit level.
It was pointed out that as a large percentage of energy audits conducted in the units were free and not paid by the units, hampering the seriousness of adapting to the new technologies and replicating it was low.
Thus any means of proper energy conservation is apparently slower at this division and is also a reason why India is lagging behind.
Given the circumstances, if India wants to become an energy efficient economy, it certainly needs to mend the matters at stake with SMEs so as to create more awareness about the rising need and use of technology to bridge the gap.
This will help in creating a more sustainable environment thereby making India not only the largest producer and consumer but also an energy efficient economy.
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Future of Renewable Energy in India
The Energy Conservation Act 2001 provides a framework for regulating energy consumption and promoting energy efficiency and conservation. The Act has set up the Bureau of Energy Efficiency to recommend regulations and standards for energy consumption. These apply to appliances, vehicles, industrial and commercial establishments and buildings. Efforts on these fronts lower the energy generation requirement and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. These also have positive implications for energy security in India, which relies on imports to meet some of its energy needs.
During the COP-26 summit in 2021, India made the following commitments which may be relevant for energy efficiency efforts:
(i) Reducing total projected carbon emissions by one billion tonnes by 2030.
(ii) Reducing the economy’s carbon intensity by 45% by 2030 over 2005 levels.
Carbon intensity is the volume of carbon emissions per unit of GDP. In addition, India aims to have 500 GW of non-fossil energy capacity and meet 50% of its energy requirements from renewable energy by 2030.
Against this backdrop, the Energy Conservation (Amendment) Bill 2022 was introduced in Lok Sabha in August 2022. The Bill was passed by Lok Sabha and is currently pending before Rajya Sabha.
The Bill seeks to amend the 2001 Act to:
(i) Facilitate the achievement of COP-26 goals.
(ii) Introduce concepts such as mandated use of non-fossil sources and carbon credit trading to ensure faster decarbonisation of the Indian economy.
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If we were asked, “where does our ‘energy’ to work come from”? We would probably reply from the food that we eat.
Similarly, the energy used for cooking food comes from burning wood, coal, cow dung cakes, kerosene, gas and electricity. The energy to run our fan or T.V. comes from electricity. In this way, we are all aware of using energy in its different forms.
But have you ever stopped to think what the world would be like if there was no light or heat from the sun or if there was no electricity to light up your home? You are also aware that electricity can be in short supply, so there are power cuts for short/long durations.
So, this makes it more important to understand the concept of energy conservation.
Climate change is a global problem, and the conservation of the environment is a social responsibility. The infrastructure sector has massive potential to accelerate our country’s journey towards its net-zero goals – a fact that the real estate, construction and building design community has taken seriously. The sector has played a massive role in shaping our economy’s growth, and it also plays a significant role in shaping the future. As the populace gears up today to celebrate Earth Hour – by turning off all the non-essential lights to create awareness about Climate Change and show their solidarity – let us, as an industry, recognise the responsibility we all have on our shoulders, which is larger than a one-hour initiative, but more a 24×7 effort.
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