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Monday, 04 November 2019 14:58

Aligning Energy, Development and Mitigation

"India in a Warming World" is an edited volume published in November 2019. This book, edited by Navroz Dubash of the Centre for Policy Research, brings together many perspectives and views on the climate change challenge with respect to India and its broader development policy. Prayas was invited to contribute a chapter titled "Aligning Energy, Development and Mitigation" to the book. This chapter identifies and describes a few pivotal elements or trends in the energy sector (which is the largest source of climate changing greenhouse gas emissions) that will determine how India responds to the twin challenges of development and climate mitigation in the coming years. The entire book "India in a Warming World" is available free for download from here.

This is one of the three articles on crucial challenges facing the Indian energy sector and some concrete ideas to address them. It is a short opinion piece highlighting the need for effective management of increasing demand of energy at residential level and proposes ideas to improve current mechanisms which can address the challenge of increasing demand.

A version of this article appeared in the Hindu Business Line on 07th April, 2019.

The other articles in this series that appeared in the Hindu Business Line:
100% rural electrification is not enough
Managing the inevitable energy transition

Published in Energy Efficiency
Monday, 08 October 2018 14:34

Comments on India’s Cooling Action Plan

The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) released draft India Cooling Action Plan (ICAP) on 16th September 2018. ICAP takes a holistic and balanced approach to meet cooling demand encompassing both passive and active cooling strategies as well as optimization of cooling loads. It provides a 20-year perspective, with projections for cooling needs in 2037-38.

ICAP, has identified a set of goals and objectives to be met by 2037-38 with an overarching aim of providing Sustaianble cooling and thermal comfort for all while securing environmental and socio-economic benefits for the society. It also identifies priority areas where actions need to be implemented and suggests an implementation framework to ensure the goals are met.

At the outset we commend and appreciate the effort of MOEFCC in drafting an action plan that address a very pertinent and pressing problem that India is facing, in meeting the increasing cooling demand. It is indeed a much awaited plan and addresses most of the issues that can meet sustainable cooling and thermal comfort for all while securing environmental and socio-economic benefits for the society. However, we find that the plan has not given enough attention to certain key concerns including monitoring, verification and enforcement mechanisms, data collection, financial incentives for different players, operational framework for achieving recommendations and targets, and more importantly the aspect of human behaviour as a crucial dimension.

Our comments and suggestions in order to address the above mentioned concerns were sent to MOEFCC. 

Published in Energy Efficiency
Tuesday, 16 October 2018 16:55

For a sustainable approach to cooling India

India got hotter by a degree Celsius over the last century, with the fastest rise in temperature observed in the last two decades. Studies forecast a many-fold increase in the occurrence of extreme heat waves in the future. India also faces a dual challenge, on the one hand, it has to ensure that people at risk get affordable and adequate access to means that provide relief from heat and on the other it has to limit the harm caused by the resultant energy and refrigerants used in mechanised cooling equipment and processes.

To address this challenge, the Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change (MoEFCC) recently released a draft India Cooling Action Plan (ICAP). The Plan estimates an eight-fold increase in the demand for cooling by 2037-38 as compared to 2017-18.It also provides a list of short-, medium-, and long-term recommendations to reduce this cooling demand by 20-25 per cent until 2037-38.

Here is an opinion piece by Prayas (Energy Group) which discusses certain lacunae of the draft cooling action plan, that appeared in The Hindu BusinessLine of 9th October 2018.

Published in Energy Efficiency

This journal paper has been published in Building Research & Information's special issue on Energy & climate change solutions: India's building stock

Residential electricity consumption in India has increased by a factor more than 50 since 1971. India’s electrified households on average still consume less than one-third of the world’s average for electricity. Rapid electrification, increasing incomes and technology development can result in increased appliance ownership and higher electricity use. A better understanding of this demand can help to develop effective energy-efficiency policies, optimize the addition of generation capacity, and tackle challenges of climate change and environmental pollution. However, research on residential electricity consumption has received limited attention in India until now. A systematic examination of determinants of residential electricity consumption will require an interdisciplinary approach involving the fields of engineering, economics (traditional and behavioural), anthropology, architecture and others. A two-step approach is presented to advance understanding. First, a critical literature review from different disciplines is presented that explores residential electricity consumption in India. Public data sets are also analyzed to gather insights and highlight inconsistencies. Second, an interdisciplinary approach is proposed and developed that can be adopted for research on residential electricity consumption in India. The data needs and systems to facilitate such an approach are provided.

Published in Energy Efficiency

LED lighting demand has picked up remarkably in India since 2014 driven primarily by the UJALA programme. However, the demand for incandescent bulbs still remains high albeit gradually declining. In 2017, about 770 million ICBs were sold in India accounting for more than 50% of the total sales of bulbs and tube-lights in that year. In this paper, we examine the demand and supply side aspects of the various lighting options available for Indian households to investigate the continued usage of ICBs in India. Based on the analysis, we recommend a few programme/policy interventions aimed at reducing and consequently eliminating the use of ICBs in India.

This report has been covered by DownToEarth, India Together and Srote (this article in Hindi can be found below).

Published in Energy Efficiency

Residential electricity use has risen 50 times in the past four decades and accounts for about a quarter of India’s total electricity consumption. There are plans of providing reliable electricity to all by 2019, and as income levels increase, more people, most of whom are starting from a low base of development, will require modern fuels and appliances for a better quality of life. The sheer scale of this growth is unprecedented, even if the trend itself is intuitive. What is at stake from this rising power use in homes? What do we know about how we use our electricity?

Radhika Khosla from the Centre for Policy Research (CPR) and Aditya Chunekar from the Prayas (Energy Group) discuss this in an article published in Mint on 8th June, 2018.

Published in Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency can play a crucial role in India’s goal to provide reliable and affordable access to energy in a sustainable and secure manner. A number of policies and programmes aimed at conserving energy, improving efficiency, and managing demand have been implemented in India in recent years. The scale and scope of these programmes is increasing as evidenced in the large scale LED bulb programme, UJALA. However, limited attention is given to comprehensively evaluate these programmes. A comprehensive evaluation systematically investigates all the impacts and the effectiveness of a programme in achieving them. This increases the credibility of energy efficiency programmes and consequent use of the savings estimates in the planning process. Secondly, a comprehensive evaluation provides lessons for reviewing the current programmes and effectively designing new ones to realize maximum possible energy savings cost-effectively.

This report provides broad guidelines to evaluate energy efficiency programmes in India. Towards, this objective, we first identify the barriers precluding periodic evaluations in India along with some recommendations to overcome them. We then review the best practices adopted globally and provide case studies to illustrate them. The report is targeted at the policy-makers, distribution companies, and regulators who can commission comprehensive evaluations of the energy efficiency programmes currently being implemented in India. It can also be used by the energy efficiency institutions in India (BEE, EESL, and the state designated agencies) to incorporate comprehensive evaluations in their programme designs. Finally, the report also aims to highlight the importance of comprehensive evaluations of energy efficiency programmes among consumers, civil society organizations, and researchers in India.

Published in Energy Efficiency

Electricity use in Indian homes – from lights, ceiling fans, televisions, refrigerators, among other appliances – has increased 50 times between today and 1971, even though India’s per capita residential electricity consumption is less than a third of the world average. Residential electricity now outpaces growth in industrial, commercial and agriculture sectors.This striking statistic is on the increase, as India moves towards one of the largest urban transitions in history in the coming decades. What is the implication of this transition for household electricity use, as the urban population grows and income levels rise? What do we know about how electricity is currently used in homes across the country? And what drives our dramatically changing consumption patterns? These questions form the basis of a series on residential electricity consumption, jointly authored by the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi and the Prayas (Energy Group), Pune. The collected insights that formed the series are complied in this document.

This series was translated and published by Eklavya in their Hindi magazine Srot (Vigyan evam technology features). This translation is available in the link given below.

Published in Energy Efficiency

Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All (UJALA) is arguably the world’s largest zero-subsidy LED bulb programme for households. UJALA’s popularity has spurred Energy Efficiency Services Ltd. (EESL), its implementing agency, to use the programme model to sell energy efficient ceiling fans and air-conditioners. We systematically studied the varied impacts and processes of the UJALA programme to draw lessons for increasing its effectiveness and aid the design of similar future programmes in India and abroad.

Our analysis shows that UJALA has succeeded in creating a large and sustainable market for LED bulbs in India. Demand for LED bulbs has increased manifold and the retail market price (for the LED bulbs sold beyond UJALA) has dropped by a third. A number of other indicators point to the sustainability of the LED bulbs market. The demand for LED bulbs has replaced the demand for CFLs rather than incandescent bulbs. Going ahead, EESL should target low income households and small commercial establishments who are still buying incandescent bulbs. The streamlined procurement processes and innovative marketing campaigns from the UJALA model can be used for other appliances as well. Stricter monitoring and evaluation mechanisms should be incorporated in the programme design to ensure the quality of the appliances, compliance of various processes, proper disposal of old appliances, and realistic calculation of achieved savings.

Published in Energy Efficiency
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