According to a report by the International Energy Agency (IEA), the global energy-related CO2 emissions flattened in 2019 at around 33 Gigatonnes (Gt), after consecutive increase over the last two years.
As the world grapples with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the energy sector, as others, continues to be impacted. The energy sector not only has the potential to boost sustainable living, but can also play a key role in economic recovery.
Energy efficiency is gaining wider attention, with standards being set for appliances, buildings, and industry. Energy efficiency can be achieved by limiting greenhouse gas (GHG) emission and reducing indoor and outdoor air pollution under India’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC). This calls for efficiency gains across different sectors such as industry, services and agriculture, transport, including residential buildings.
To achieve energy efficiency, energy-efficient technologies will play a key role.
Solar panels have emerged as a viable option. Solar panels, apart from cutting down the electricity bills, consume lesser electricity from the grid. Solar panels can also be used to run electric generators. Solar panels are suitable for residential, as well as, commercial consumers, who are willing to ‘go green’ and reduce carbon footprint. According to the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, the Central Government pays 30 percent of the installation cost as a subsidy to the installer to encourage the use of solar panels.
Billing inefficiencies, unauthorized power consumption, etc. can be reduced with wider adoption of smart meters. Smart Meter sends the details of consumption to the energy supplier via communication technology (GSM, GPRS, RF), reducing manual dependence on activities such as bill generation, bill collections, etc. Along with energy monitoring and management functionalities, it could enhance end-user energy efficiency and could help reduce billing losses.
The Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All (UJALA) programme is another step by the government to streamline the LED affordability and usability. It brought down the pricing of LED bulbs, along with creating manufacturing jobs to meet the demands of energy-efficient lighting. The use of LEDs results in energy saving and a reduction in CO2 emission.
A green building promises a healthier space for its occupants along with optimum utilisation of construction resources. It also generates less waste and aids in energy efficiency. The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has been at the forefront when it comes to encouraging Indian industry in adopting energy-efficient practices. The Indian Green Building Council (IGBC), part of CII, was formed in 2001 for spearheading the green building movement in India. CII-IGBC has facilitated over 5,818 p green building projects so far. The CII-ITC Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Development also promotes sustainable practices to drive sustainability and energy efficiency across India.
A CII White Paper on “Sustaining India’s Power and Renewable Energy Sector in the Wake of COVID19” suggests short-term measures and medium-term solutions to reduce the impact of Coronavirus and ensure the continued viability of the sector.
Energy-efficient technologies in the post-COVID world will be twice as important as the world veers towards optimal and careful use of resources.