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Energy is a fundamental need for the essential services of cooking, heating, cooling, lighting, mobility, operation of appliances, information and communications technology and machines in every sector of every country. The lack of access to reliable and clean energy supplies is now considered as a major barrier to improving human wellbeing around the globe. Energy Conservation and energy efficiency goes a long way in tackling several challenges related to energy. It can be done by using less energy to avoid the unnecessary uses of energy and save it for the future usage. Globally energy conservation has tremendous potential to boost economic growth and avoid Greenhouse Gas emissions. India embarked on implementing energy conservation measures more than two decades ago and has established a clear policy architecture for promoting energy conservation. Many of these initiatives have resulted in substantial energy saving and consequently lowered carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

Energy Conservation

  • Energy Conservation as the name specifies it is to conserve energy. We have limited amount of energy at our disposal. The primary energy comes from coal or fossil fuels. Almost 85 to 90% of primary energy comes from fossil fuels. Some come from water resources, nuclear sources and other renewable sources.
  • Energy conservation means conserving fossil fuel sources. These are limited in supply which is especially true in Indian context. Electricity is produced from fossil fuels (basically coal) and is fed to different power utilities. During transfer of energy from one place to other place, there is loss of energy which is called Transmission and Distribution Losses. It has been estimated that if we save 1 unit of electricity, it translates to the saving of 1.2 units of energy.

Measures taken by Government to Conserve Energy

  • Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC):
    • India has expressed a strong resolve to work towards low carbon emissions, while simultaneously achieving all developmental targets. We aim to reduce the emission intensity of GDP by 33 to 35% by 2030.
    • To protect the poor and vulnerable from the adverse impacts of climate change, it is an imperative that the world adopts a sustainable lifestyle.
    • India’s INDC proposal also highlights the need for a sustainable lifestyle as one of the integral solutions to climate change.
  • The National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency (NMEEE) seeks to achieve a total avoided capacity addition of 19,598 MW, annual fuel savings of around 23 million tonne and reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 98.55 million tonne per year at its full implementation.
  • Government has introduced various measures. As per Energy Consumption Act of 2001, the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) was established which has made policies and implemented throughout various energy systems. According to Government of India sources 2015-16 by taking various energy efficiency conservation methods government was able to save more than 9500 MW capacity of power resulting into saving of around 1900 crores unit of electricity which translates into saving of carbon emissions of 4 crores tonnes.
  • The BEE has started giving ratings to different electrical appliances. The higher is the rating the less energy it is consumed. The government encourages the appliances with higher rating. The cost is slightly higher because of the investment made and in the longer run there is energy saving.
  • In automobile sector efforts are made to enhance the efficiency of automobiles. There are emission norms like Euro norms and BS norms which help in environment purification.
  • In India the conservation drive or the governments conservation programme are pushing people to adopt energy efficient methods in parallel to their focus on renewable energy.

Methods to Conserve Energy

  • Alternate sources of energy may be one of the methods of conserving the energy resources. There are other methods as well. Energy can be saved in the utilities.
  • Enhance the production efficiency, that is getting more electricity from the same amount of fuel.
  • Government can introduce taxation incentives to promote energy conservation.
  • One of the methods to conserve energy is in lightning sources. The CFL and LED lights have been introduced which consumes less energy and have got much longer lifetime. This programme has been quite successful and the government has encouraged LED usage in various sectors by reducing the cost and sometimes by distributing it free of cost.
  • Promote practices to save energy at houses. In summer the ACs are used at home. It has been found that if the room temperature is kept at 25 to 27 degrees which is quite comfortable a lot of energy can be saved as compared to cooling down to 20 or 18 degrees.
  • Sometimes water cooler can also be quite effective. Besides this we should fix the air leakages which consume lot of energy.
  • Switch of the electricity supply to the appliances whenever they are not in use and usage of smart windows.
  • There are different slabs in electricity bill like upto 200 units there are certain rates and after that there are higher rates and this encourages less consumption.

Areas of Concern

  • People waste lot of energy despite the government publicity measures and incentives for industries, household and offices.
  • As far as taxation incentives are concerned we do not see enough taxation incentive available from the centre or the state government.
  • Energy efficiency appliances being used by industries, household appliances and irrigation pumps there is lack of fiscal incentives by way of tax concessions on these appliances.

Need of the Hour

  • A combination of taxation and technology can make energy efficient appliances more affordable. There are some constrains. For example in LED industry to promote domestic industry some tax has to be imposed on imported items. The cost of the product can be distributed through electricity bills say Rs 10 a month so that over a period of time the cost of the appliances can be recovered without much burden.
  • Public transport has got lot of potential towards saving of energy. For example in railways, buses and metros. Metros have earned carbon credits from European Countries because of controlled emissions.
  • Extraction Techniques: coal mining has been done with outdated technology in India. So we can bring out better technologies. Similarly oil and gas can be extracted in more efficient ways.
  • In agriculture sector there are lot of diesel operated pumps. We need to promote efficient pumps and solar operated pumps.
  • For extracting electricity out of coal we are using sub critical boilers whose efficiency is around 36 to 38%. The super critical boilers have been developed which have got efficiency of about 42%. The super high critical boilers are in the process of development which are 35% efficient and ultra super critical have around 50%.
  • In Electricity extracted from coal out of 100 calories only 36% are converted to electricity. Rest are going to the atmosphere which is bad for the environment. By enhancing the efficiency of 200 MW power plant by 1%, 1 million ton of coal can be saved.