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Thursday, Nov 21, 2019

Lighting the path to true energy efficiency in India, writes minister RK Singh

The SLNP initiative saw positive results. But to achieve our climate goals, every citizen must be actively involved

analysis Updated: Oct 20, 2019 20:23 IST
RK Singh
RK Singh
There is enough evidence to show improvement in safety and business activities due to the LED streetlights
There is enough evidence to show improvement in safety and business activities due to the LED streetlights(Virendra Singh Gosain/HT PHOTO)
         

Energy efficiency is the foundation of a strong, self-sufficient, and sustainable economy. Through nationwide initiatives promoting the affordability of energy efficiency solutions, the government has showcased its strong commitment to the fundamentals of sustainability. We are implementing one of the largest energy efficiency programmes in the world. Our ultimate purpose is to promote energy efficiency as a way of life for every Indian. This vision is aligned with our commitments made under the Paris Agreement.

Under our Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC), India has expressed a strong resolve to work towards low carbon emissions, while simultaneously achieving all developmental targets. We aim to reduce the emission intensity of GDP by 33 to 35% by 2030. To protect the poor and vulnerable from the adverse impacts of climate change, it is an imperative that the world adopts a sustainable lifestyle. India’s INDC proposal also highlights the need for a sustainable lifestyle as one of the integral solutions to climate change. Driven by a strong political commitment and concerted efforts from all stakeholders, we are moving closer to our INDC goals.

The National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency (NMEEE) seeks to achieve a total avoided capacity addition of 19,598 MW, annual fuel savings of around 23 million tonne and reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 98.55 million tonne per year at its full implementation. To achieve these targets, we are undertaking a slew of initiatives accelerating the progression towards an energy-efficient India. These initiatives span standards and labelling of energy efficient consumer durables; promoting India’s first super energy service company – Energy Efficiency Services Ltd; capacity-building of discoms and state bodies; facilitating access to bilateral funding and encouraging innovative solutions such as e-vehicles and smart metres.

The standards and labelling programme provide the consumer an informed choice about energy saving and thereby the cost saving potential of the products. We are also building capacity of discoms to help them reduce peak electricity demand. To incentivise efficiency in energy-intensive industries, we have launched a market-based mechanism called Perform Achieve and Trade scheme which allows trading of energy-saving certificates. Electric vehicles and chargers have penetrated almost every state, and smart metres are rapidly making headway into homes.

Among this plethora of energy efficiency initiatives is the Street Lighting National Programme (SLNP). The installation and retrofitting of energy-efficient LED streetlights under SLNP has crossed one crore. The initiative has enabled annual energy savings of 6.71 billion kwh reducing 4.63 million tonnes of CO2 emissions. The resultant energy savings have enabled the country to free up 1,119.40 MW of capacity during peak hours. Moreover, these energy-efficient street lights have illuminated 270,000 km of roads in India and generated 13,000 employment opportunities. Further, from various surveys carried out to find the satisfaction level of citizens, it is found that about 99% of the respondents feel more comfortable with the new LED installation. They also feel that there has been significant improvement regarding safety and business activities.

SLNP is the world’s largest streetlighting programme and is now being replicated by other countries. The unique pay-as-you-save (PAYS) model under SLNP is the reason for its huge success. The PAYS model encourages the participation of urban local bodies in this energy efficiency programme by eliminating the financial burden of upfront investment by them. Over 1500 urban local bodies have enrolled in the programme. As LED streetlights lead to cost reductions due to savings in energy, no additional revenue budget is needed.

Owing to the energy-efficient LED lights, the visibility on roads has improved significantly instilling a sense of safety among citizens. These smart LEDs installed under SLNP can be monitored and operated remotely through a central control and monitoring system.The government recognises the importance of energy efficiency and milestones like these reinforce my confidence that we will achieve our climate commitments before the targeted deadline.

Any transformation requires concerted efforts. I call on every citizen to contribute towards revolutionising India’s energy scenario. Let’s pledge to reducing our carbon footprint and ensuring that development trickles down to the bottom of the pyramid.

RK Singh is minister of state for power, new and renewable energy (IC) and skill development and entrepreneurship

The views expressed are personal