Tracking energy efficiency

The coal-based power generation in the country, witnessing a remarkable growth of around 10.13% during April–December 2023, as compared to the corresponding period of the previous year, presents the hard realities of India’s climate goal challenges.
Tracking energy efficiency

 The coal-based power generation in the country, witnessing a remarkable growth of around 10.13% during April–December 2023, as compared to the corresponding period of the previous year, presents the hard realities of India’s climate goal challenges. Overall power generation, on the other hand, has grown 6.71% during the period. An increase in generation signifies rising energy demand, while generation from coal-based power generation implies more coal burning and an increase in carbon emissions. The pressing goal for the country is to increase forest cover and increase the share of renewable energy to offset the increase in fossil fuel burning. Energy efficiency initiatives can play a crucial role in reducing carbon emissions by reducing peak demand, but they require the cooperation of consumers and technology applications to achieve the desired objectives. Coal continues to be a major source of power generation in India, accounting for more than 70% of the total power generation. At the same time, an increase in domestic coal-based power generation means reduced imports. The savings from the cut in the coal import bill can be invested in increasing power generation from renewable sources. According to official data, coal imports for blending have decreased substantially by 40.66% to 17.08 MT during April–December 2023 from 28.78 MT in the corresponding period of the previous year, which is indicative of an increase in domestic capacity to meet the growing energy demand. The National Electricity Plan (NEP), notified by the Central Electricity Authority (CEA), presents the roadmap of electricity demand and supply for the period from 2022–2027 and the prospective plan for the next five years, from 2027 to 2032. The NEP document projected that all of India’s peak electricity demand and electrical energy requirement are 277.2 GW and 1907.8 billion units (BU) for the financial year 2026–27 and 366.4 GW and 2473.8 BU for the financial year 2031-32. The energy requirement and peak demand are inclusive of the impact due to increased adoption of electric vehicles, the installation of solar roof tops, the production of green hydrogen, the Saubhagya scheme, etc., according to an official release. The NEP highlights that the National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency (NMEEE) is one of the eight national missions under the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) that was released in June 2008 by the Government of India. One of the flagship schemes under NMEEE, the Perform, Achieve, and Trade (PAT) scheme, is a mechanism designed to achieve emissions reduction in energy-intensive industries and is based on the concept of reduction in Specific Energy Consumption (SEC). It involves an assessment of SEC in the baseline year and projected SEC in the target year, covering different forms of net energy going into the boundary of the plant and the products leaving out of it over a particular cycle, it adds. The national plan points out that the implementation of PAT cycle I, which was completed in 2015, has led to an energy saving of 8.67 million metric tonnes of oil equivalent (MTOE) which is about 30% more than the notified targets. This energy saving also translates to avoiding about 31 million metric tonnes of CO2 emissions and has been converted to Energy Saving Certificates (ESCerts) tradable at power changes. The Ministry of Power had issued about 38.25 lakh ESCerts to 306 industrial units for excess energy savings, and 110 industrial units have been entitled to purchase about 14.25 lakh ESCerts to meet the shortfall and meet energy saving targets. The total volume of ESCerts traded is about 12.98 lakhs, resulting in a business of about Rs 100 crore during 17 weekly trading sessions. The second cycle of PAT (2016–19) covered 621 Designated Consumers (DCs) from 11 sectors, which include eight existing sectors and three new sectors, viz., railways, refineries, and power distribution companies (DISCOMs). This cycle ended on March 31, 2019 with total energy savings of 14.08 MTOE, which exceeds the notified target of 11.28 MTOE by about 16%. The NEP claims that as a result of implementing the PAT Scheme, it is estimated that about 23 MTOE of fuel would be saved with an emission reduction of 100 million metric tonnes annually. Bringing more energy-intensive industrial and commercial units under the PAT scheme will be crucial to achieving the targeted carbon emission reduction. The State Energy Efficiency Index (SEEI) is an important tool developed by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency to indicate implementation of energy efficiency policies and programmes at the state and local level, highlight best practices, and encourage healthy competition among states. The SEEI 2021–22 placed five states—Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Rajasthan, and Telangana—in the Front Runner category and four states—Assam, Haryana, Maharashtra, and Punjab—in the Achiever category. Factors like industrial growth, technological advancements, population growth, and economic development will continue to push energy demand. Apart from the reduction of coal in the power mix, tracking the energy efficiency of states is crucial to identifying critical areas of India’s climate goal priorities.

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