Energy conservation is the decision and practice of using less energy. It is the prevention of wasteful use of energy wherever possible. Turning off the light when we leave the room, unplugging appliances when they are not in use and walking instead of driving are all examples of energy conservation. It is a conscious decision taken by keeping in mind the depleting energy resources of the world.
Need for Energy Conservation
Over the years, the conventional sources of energy are depleting, causing the price of fuels to rise, thereby increasing cost of production of energy. Non-conventional sources of energy are not fully developed. Therefore, energy conservation is of paramount importance in our country because
• Energy resources in our country are limited. India has approximately 1% of world energy resoui ources but it has 17% of world population.
•We use energy faster than it can be produced. Coal, oil and natural gas-the most utilised source rces take thousands of year for formation.
• Non-renewable energy sources constitute about 80% of our fuel use, they cannot be reused and renewed.
•By saving energy we can reduce pollution as energy production and use account to large proportion of air pollution and significant percentage of Green House Gases (GHG) emissions.
• Electrical power is one of the scarce resources in our country. Generation of electricity is very capital intensive. The cost of setting up a power plant of 1mw (coal/gas) is approximately * 4 crore. This increases the cost of electricity generation
Methods of Energy Conservation
Energy conservation is a multi-dimensional concept which encompasses behavioural aspect to the high end engineering intervention. Some of the methods of energy conservation are given below
•Among behavioural changes, turning off the light and other appliances when not in use is most common method which can be utilised by each and every household.
• Purchasing energy efficient appliances with star level mark by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency
• Use of Public transport facilities for mobility instead of private vehicles.
• Consumption of locally manufactured goods as transportation and shipping of goods requires lot of energy.
•Constructing energy efficient houses with proper ventilation and lighting to reduce lighting and cooling needs.
• Proper awareness among young generation and school going children about importance of energy conservation.
These are few methods of energy conservation which we can inculcate in our personal lives.
Government Measures for Energy Conservation
The government of India has taken various measures to conserve energy and ensure sustainable future for all. Government measures for energy conservation encompasses two main features; first, it is promoting energy conservation through awareness of the concerned stakeholder such as industrial bodies, farmers and households. Second, it has taken energy efficiency measures to use less energy to perform the same task. In addition to it, it has also launched many schemes and programmes for generation of energy from renewable sources. Some of them are discussed below:
Petroleum Conservation Research Association (PCRA), 1978
The main objective of PCRA is to improve the productivity of various sources of energy. It has launched initiatives for improving fuel efficiency of vehicles, energy audits of industries and training drivers of heavy vehicles to ensure energy efficient practices. Besides giving publicity to energy efficient programmes, it also educates women on better cooking habits, use of fuel-efficient stoves and lighting appliances.
Energy Conservation Act, 2001
This act provides the mechanism at the central and state level to start energy efficient drive in the country. Five major provisions of the act relate to Designated Consumers, Standard and Labelling of appliances, Energy Conservation Building Codes (ECBC), Creation of an institutional set up called the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) and establishment of Energy Conservation Fund. The voluntary and mandatory provision of this act guides the energy efficiency programmes in India.
Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE), 2002
The Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) is an agency of the Government of India set up under the Ministry of Power in 2002. The agency function is to develop programs which will increase the conservation and efficient use of energy in India In 2006, BEE launched the standard and labelling programme with an objective to provide consumers with informed about the energy saving potential of relevant market product. Under this scheme, BEE provides for voluntary and mandatory labelling of various electrical appliances.
BEE was also instrumental in success of UJALA scheme which was launched in 2015 with an air of facilitating higher uptake of LED lights by residential users. Under this programme, about 36 crore LED bulbs have been distributed at subsidised prices to consumers which helped in reducing the green house emission by 38 million tons annually besides conservation of significant energy.
National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency (NMEEE), 2008
Under this mission, the Perform Achieve and Trade (PAT) scheme has been launched for industries, in which mandatory targets are assigned to energy intensive industries for reducing the energy consumption. This is followed by Conversion of excess energy saving certificates into tradable instrument called Energy Saving Certificates (ES Certs). As of now (2020) there are over 800 units participating in this energy conservation drive.
Energy Conservation Building Code (ECBC), 2007
The main objective of this code is to achieve energy neutrality in the buildings. It sets minimum energy standards for new building, the updated ECBC in 2017 has included parameters for builders, designers and architects to integrate renewable energy sources in design of buildings. The BEE has also launched ECO-NIWAS Samhita for residential buildings in 2018 besides giving mandatory targets for Hotel industry.
Challenges Associated with Energy Conservation in India
Despite many achievements in energy conservation over the years, few challenges remain which needs to be overcome through effective planning and coordination. Some of the challenges are
• India’s transmission and distribution (T&D) losses are almost 20% of generation, more than twice the world average.
• There is issue of cross subsidisation of electricity, where highly subsidised electricity is provided to farmers, which results in reckless behaviour in energy use.
• Around half of the electrical energy comes from coal-based thermal power plants, many of which are quite old resulting in low productivity.
• There is lack of awareness among the consumers of energy and there is need of a uniform policy regarding training and capacity building in the domain of energy conservation.
The impacts of these energy conservation programmes are being felt in the economy. The battery driven rickshaw has become a common sight on roads in urban areas. Non-energy benefits have also accrued, such as reduced emissions from fossil fuel driven vehicles. The greater awareness of the consumer has had a significant impact on the market for electrical appliances by ensuring that manufacturers produce more energy efficient products. Thus, energy conservation programmes need to be continued with full force to enable India to change from an energy deficient nation into an energy surplus one.
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