Ef­fi­ciently Yours!

The con­cern of de­pen­dance on fos­sil fu­els needs to be ad­dressed fast as the avail­abil­ity of coal con­tin­ues to de­crease with each pass­ing year

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The con­cern of de­pen­dance on fos­sil fu­els needs to be ad­dressed fast as the avail­abil­ity of coal con­tin­ues to de­crease with each pass­ing year

Power cuts are a fairly com­mon sit­u­a­tion in In­dia, with close to 40% of our pop­u­la­tion not hav­ing ac­cess to power and ba­sic in­fra­struc­ture fa­cil­i­ties. With the In­dian econ­omy on an ac­cel­er­ated growth tra­jec­tory, the de­mand for power and en­ergy will con­tinue to rise year af­ter year. The gap to­day is in the range of 10% and is in­creas­ing ev­ery year. Meet­ing this in­creas­ing de­mand calls for an in­crease in ca­pac­ity ad­di­tion. The other way of over­com­ing this de­mand-sup­ply par­ity is by con­serv­ing power, re­duc­ing con­sump­tion or ef­fi­ciently us­ing it.

As an econ­omy, In­dia is heav­ily re­liant on fos­sil fu­els for en­ergy needs. This de­pen­dance on fos­sil fu­els has to re­duce as the avail­abil­ity of coal con­tin­ues to de­crease with each pass­ing year. It is now time to take stock of the ways in which we can in­crease the re­liance on domestic sup­ply of en­ergy and move away from be­ing overly de­pen­dent on im­port of fos­sil fu­els.

Over­com­ing the En­ergy Crises

The first step to­wards re­duc­ing en­ergy us­age in any in­dus­try is by study­ing the pat­tern of en­ergy us­age; for in­stance, 75% of the en­ergy in any large build­ing is be­ing con­sumed by air con­di­tion­ers. Sim­ple op­ti­miza­tion of us­age along with re­duc­tion in con­sump­tion not only helps in sav­ing en­ergy but also re­sults in sub­stan­tial cost sav­ings, which can be de­ployed to other more use­ful pur­poses. Un­til re­cently, the power sec­tor has not re­ceived much at­ten­tion, thereby mak­ing it more chal­leng­ing to suc­cess­fully adopt en­ergy ef­fi­cient prac­tices.

Power is the life­line of any in­dus­try; in­dus­trial growth is sig­nif­i­cantly de­pen­dent on the growth of en­ter­prises, which, in turn, is de­pen­dent on ac­cess to en­ergy. In­dus­tries must look at adopt­ing re­new­able en­ergy sources such as so­lar power to re­duce de­pen­dency on tra­di­tional sources of power. We are for­tu­nate to have over 3,000 hours of sun­shine in In­dia, which can be uti­lized as an al­ter­nate source of en­ergy, with the help of pho­tovoltaic tech­nol­ogy. Yet an­other source is wind where we have large po­ten­tial of the or­der 40 GW per year. The ini­tial cost may be on higher side how­ever the same is coming down at a much faster rate and, with­out fac­tor­ing the car­bon foot­print, will be at grid par­ity by 2017.

What Needs to be Done

Most power plants are not aware of their en­ergy con­sump­tion, since their main ob­jec­tive is profit max­i­miza­tion. Sig­nif­i­cant en­ergy can be saved by just mon­i­tor­ing, man­ag­ing, and con­trol­ling aux­il­iary con­sump­tion. The next step would be to in­vest in en­ergy ef­fi­cient equip­ments to gain long term ad­van­tage and fi­nally, im­ple­men­ta­tion of re­new­able sources of en­ergy to power daily op­er­a­tions.

While lat­est tech­nolo­gies such as car- bon cap­ture and stor­age (CCS) and co-fir­ing with biomass are avail­able, power util­i­ties have to in­te­grate them into the value chain and not de­ploy them in si­los. Im­prov­ing the ef­fi­ciency of en­ergy uti­liza­tion in our power plants is the way for­ward. An emerg­ing econ­omy like In­dia has the op­por­tu­nity to take lead­er­ship in en­ergy ef­fi­cient prac­tices by bring­ing up the per­cent­age of low car­bon foot­print tech­nolo­gies like so­lar, wind, hy­dro, mi­cro, and so on.

We are head­ing to­wards the right di­rec­tion with the in­tro­duc­tion of en­ergy la­bel­ing on ma­jor en­ergy-con­sum­ing ap­pli­ances and a na­tional En­ergy Con­ser­va­tion Build­ing Code for new com­mer­cial build­ings but there is a sig­nif­i­cant scope to im­prove. To­day, on Na­tional En­ergy Con­ser­va­tion Day, it might be time to pause and pon­der. The au­thor is chair­man

IET Power Panel vad­mail@cy­ber­me­dia.co.in

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