As India develops at a robust pace, it’s necessary to deploy energy-efficient systems in driving sustainable development goals that could help safeguard the planet.
The government has drawn up ambitious plans to ensure 24×7 ‘Power for All’ by 2019. While the plans to achieve the target by increasing output of fossil as well as non-fossil fuels, it is still a tall target to achieve. However the efforts to increase power availability can be substantially boosted by the simple process of enhancing energy efficiency of all equipment which uses power. This is also imperative because the country has committed to slash its emission intensity of GDP up to 35 per cent by 2030 from the 2005 levels. It has also promised to increase the share of non-fossil fuels in its energy mix to 40 per cent.
To abide by these national targets and international commitments, energy-efficiency measures need to be accorded priority and pride of place. At the outset, however, it should be stressed that energy efficiency is not solely the responsibility of the government. All industries, business establishments, other entities and even individual families need to lend their mite in making the government’s energy-efficiency mission a resounding success by conserving energy through every possible means.
Industry is already lending support to the government’s PAT (Perform, Achieve and Trade) programme which mandates energy-efficiency enhancement targets for energy-intensive industries. Many industries have even surpassed the regulatory requirements, incorporating energy efficiency as a core business goal in order to curb costs and increase their sustainability quotient.
As a major developing economy, it’s indisputable that India needs to drive macro development and all-round growth. Nonetheless, this can and should be implemented in a manner that is sustainable, inclusive and energy efficient. For this, the government and the nation at large must adopt systems and processes that adhere to the aforementioned criteria. Where the power sector’s targets are concerned, energy efficiency therefore needs to become the main mantra. Energy efficiency also takes centre-stage because it is an indispensable tool in combating climate change.
According to 2015 estimates, India’s energy-efficiency market is pegged at approximately Rs 74,000 crore or $ 11.57 billion. Significantly, India’s National Mission for enhanced energy efficiency plans to avoid the creation of 19,000 MW fresh power generation by driving energy efficiency. Be that as it may, it is still necessary that the average industry, company or individual contributes in their own way to reach this national target.
One of the best sources of enhancing energy efficiency has been through innovative LED lighting system. This single word “LED” encapsulates the best representation of energy efficiency mantra for lighting. LED technology has transformed the lighting industry worldwide by emitting light in higher lumens, while consuming much less electricity power. What is even more beneficial for users and the environment is that LEDs are long-lasting. Just this single factor is transforming the dynamics of the lighting industry in India and across the globe. For instance, where incandescent bulbs, CFLs or halogen lamps need to be replaced much more frequently, an LED light could serve satisfactorily for years. Precisely for this reason, many LED manufacturers offer two-years replacement warranty if the light stops working during this period.
Although LEDs cost more than other lights, their long lifespan and energy efficiency more than compensates for the extra money paid. Moreover, the Government has launched various initiatives to promote energy efficiency, which includes subsidy schemes for purchase of LED Lights at much lower rates. Considering this fact, it makes sense for families from even average households to capitalize on such schemes in installing and using LEDs. Given LEDs almost zero or low maintenance cost, even lower middle-class families will benefit through the extra savings derived from the lower power bills that are the norm for LED users. The lower energy usage not only helps reduce the energy usage but also helps save nation’s carbon footprints.
Curbing carbon emissions
At this juncture, the efficiency advantage needs some explanation so that its true significance is clear. Due to their inherent efficiency, energy-efficient LED lights consume only about 2–17 watts of electricity compared to consumption of 100 watts of power previously consumed for the same lumens of light. This is barely one-third to one-thirtieth of the energy consumed by incandescent lights or CFLs for similar lumens of light. Thanks to these advantages, LEDs not only save power but also remain cool while emitting light. The ability to remain cool even when illuminated ensures that the maintenance and electricity bills for LEDs are low. Furthermore, with LEDs, frequent replacements are not necessary and recurring maintenance costs are reduced, since these lights can last for as long as 30,000 to 40,000 hours. Similar benefits are also achieved in small LED flashlights since their battery life is extended by 10 to 15 times, unlike the case of tungsten bulbs.
The importance of LEDs in lowering carbon emissions and using lesser resources are also significant. Worldwide, studies show that when there is 1 per cent growth in global GDP, there is a concomitant rise in CO2 emissions by about 0.5 per cent. In other words, there exists a ‘high-growth, high-carbon’ correlation that creates a survival dilemma for modern development. While it can’t be denied that development is a global necessity, it is equally true that this is triggering an inevitable rise in global warming, which threatens to submerge in the sea all low-lying regions in some coastal countries.
The question then arises: Should modern development and progress be sacrificed at the altar of global sustainability to ensure our planet is safeguarded? The question is understandably redundant because urbanisation, industrialisation and modern development have emerged as irresistible forces gathering a momentum of their own that cannot be stopped. Therefore, the only viable solution is to undertake modern developments in a sustainable manner via energy-efficient tools and techniques.
Besides LED lights, there are other devices and systems that boost energy efficiency. For example, smart grids and smart meters help regulate and monitor energy usage. Take for example power thefts, which are a major problem in many parts of India. Through the use of smart grids, losses due to theft and losses of power in the process of transmission and distribution (T&D) can be considerably reduced. By deploying smart technology, power entities can plan and gauge specific peak demand at different times of the day, which helps boost T&D operations and efficiency. To achieve positive outcomes, specific software
and equipment is installed, which monitors and communicates demand throughout the distribution route. Thereafter, any theft or loss of power due to various reasons is quickly pinpointed for quick rectification.
The proactive messages and rectification help minimise energy loss. Periodic reconfiguration of the network and optimisation of the voltage as per demand then becomes the norm. The timely measurement and constant monitoring then result in controlled usage of power. By using energy-efficient products and services it is therefore possible to ensure savings of up to 30 per cent.
These facts make it clear that though modern development has created the present environmental crisis of global warming and climate change, it also has the wherewithal to address this situation. Energy-efficient tools could accordingly be used to minimise, mitigate and reverse the dangerous trend of global warming. Energy efficiency and energy security will thereby empower the entire nation and help it move progressively on the path of sustainable development, benefitting the country as well as the mankind.
V P Mahendru,
Chairman & Managing Director,
EON Electric Ltd.