Today’s initiative for better tomorrow

Neeraj Dubey
The 21st century has perhaps seen the best of efforts in relation to energy management and energy security. This century has seen many initiatives in the efficiency targeted towards energy management. Energy conservation means to reduce the quantity of energy that is used for different purposes. This practice may result in increase of financial capital, environmental value, national and personal security, and human comfort. On a larger scale, energy conservation is an important element of energy policy. In general, energy conservation reduces the energy consumption and energy demand per capita. This reduces the rise in energy costs, and can reduce the need for new power plants, and energy imports. The reduced energy demand can provide more flexibility in choosing the most preferred methods of energy production. Energy conservation makes it easier to replace non-renewable resources with renewable energy. Energy conservation is often the most economical solution to energy shortages. The industry has matured from “produce or perish” to “produce at merit”. Power industry in particular is at its spiralling best of optimized use of energy and efficiency in all its business segments namely generation, transmission, distribution and end-user consumption. India’s population is growing at a very rapid rate. Our country’ present power generation capacity is amounting to be 135,000 MW from different sources of energy and to meet the challenges of  1.25 billion people, the total requirements would be of about 800,000 MW. India’s energy demand will increase at a tremendous rate in the future and with the problems of carbon emissions, poor quality of domestic resources and no easy access to foreign energy resources, the Indian Government must take energy efficiency and conservation seriously and bring in stricter regulations in order to achieve the tough goals it has set. Further, there is a focus on reducing the auxiliary energy consumption (energy that is consumed by the power plant to produce power). A significant drop in auxiliary consumption has been achieved, from about 9% to 6-7%, using energy-saving devices such as variable frequency drive motors and steam turbine-driven boiler feed pumps in place of electric-driven pumps. The use of washed coal further lowers the auxiliary consumption, which is an effort that needs to be pursued. The industry has brought in new concepts in many areas such as using screw compressors in compressed air system in place of reciprocating compressors, etc.; modular bus system with IP protocols for instrumentation and control area, doing away with electromechanical relays for power house operation management. In spite of the capital cost being high, many power stations (depending on the location) are opting for “natural draft cooling towers” in place of “induced draft cooling towers” to reduce energy consumption. The concept being, energy saved is energy generated. Coal is the lifeline of the power sector. India till 2005 used to be one of the leaders in wind energy, which was completely an initiative of the textile sector starting in a village in Tamil Nadu. More than 300 companies are recipients of carbon credits on this initiative from developed countries. To reduce transmission losses and efficiency, the transmission sector has taken the lead to install 765 kV and 800 kV AC transmission lines and high voltage direct current lines (HVDC), with state-run Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd commissioning the first 1,200 KV ultra high voltage alternating current system in Madhya Pradesh. These are significant steps in energy saving and optimization with better technology. So also are the initiatives in the distribution segment. Initiatives such as smart grid, demand-side management (DSM) with CFL and LED lamps and signage for promoting efficiency at the supply side have already been taken up in the country. The use of “time of the day meters” for industry is a significant step in this direction which has ensured industry realizes the load cycles better, even though the country still needs to introduce the time of day tariff to make an impact on the savings. Smart grid is a digitally enabled electrical grid that collects information from the field devices such as transformers and circuit breakers on the behaviour of grid participants (generators and consumers) and acts on this information to improve the efficiency, reliability of supply. To promote energy efficiency in end-user consumption, the ministry of power in association with FICCI and CII has mandated the use of Bureau of Energy Efficiency’s standardizing and labelling (S&L) programme under which many products have been registered under the compulsory labelling regime with the objective to increase consumer awareness and develop energy-efficient appliances. There has been a verified energy saving of 2,162MW of avoided generation capacity during the year 2010-11 because of the implementation of the S&L scheme. Reduction in energy demand and consumption at the end-user’s premises can free up electricity generation, transmission and distribution capacity at a fraction of the costs required to provide new capacity. All the initiatives taken in various segments of the power sector to promote energy efficiency have resulted in substantial cost savings and promoting energy efficiency. This is a prudent approach from an economic point of view as well. In India, energy efficiency related programs have been initiated by the Government of India (GoI) through various laws and regulations. These laws and regulations have been gradually introduced in the last 20 years. Following are few indicative laws and regulations observed during this time period that have been instrumental towards encouraging businesses to adopt energy efficient methods in their regular operations:
* Energy Conservation Act 2001 passed to provide an overall thrust to energy efficiency and conservation , Creation of Bureau and Energy Efficiency (BEE), which was set up in 2002 under the provisions of the Energy Conservation Act 2001
* Appliance standards and labeling, Energy consumption norms, and energy-use reporting requirements for energy-intensive industrial units , Energy Conservation Building Code for commercial buildings , Certified Energy Managers and auditors , Installation of energy-efficient infrastructure, equipment and appliances is essential for meeting energy demand.  In the past few years, our country has shown a keen interest in the solar energy sector, because of its tremendous power potential. This particular sector will definitely be one of the more emerging power sectors due to the advancements in technology in the near future because, The Sun provides as much of energy in one hour which the whole world consumes in one year.
(The author is Asstt. Professor GCET Jammu)