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Sansad TV: Bills: An Insight- The Energy Conservation (Amendment) Bill, 2022

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Introduction:

The Bill proposes to Reduce India’s power consumption via fossil fuels, Minimise nation’s carbon footprint, develop India’s Carbon market and Boost adoption of clean technology. The Bill seeks to amend the Energy Conservation Act, 2001.   The Act promotes energy efficiency and conservation.  It provides for the regulation of energy consumption by equipment, appliances, buildings, and industries.

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):
  • The National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency (NMEEE)
  • Government has introduced various measures. As per Energy Consumption Act of 2001, the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) was established

Analysis and Key highlights:

  • Obligation to use non-fossil sources of energyThe Act empowers the central government to specify energy consumption standards.  The Bill adds that the government may require the designated consumers to meet a minimum share of energy consumption from non-fossil sources.  Different consumption thresholds may be specified for different non-fossil sources and consumer categories.  Designated consumers include:
    • industries such as mining, steel, cement, textile, chemicals, and petrochemicals
    • transport sector including Railways
    • commercial buildings, as specified in the schedule.
  • Carbon trading:  The Bill empowers the central government to specify a carbon credit trading scheme.
    • Carbon credit implies a tradeable permit to produce a specified amount of carbon emissions.
    • The central government or any authorised agency may issue carbon credit certificates to entities registered under and compliant with the scheme.   The entities will be entitled to purchase or sell the certificate.
    • Any other person may also purchase a carbon credit certificate on a voluntary basis.
  • Energy conservation code for buildings:  The Act empowers the central government to specify energy conservation code for buildings.  The code prescribes energy consumption standards in terms of area.  The Bill amend this to provide for an ‘energy conservation and sustainable building code’.  This new code will provide norms for energy efficiency and conservation, use of renewable energy, and other requirements for green buildings.
  • Applicability to residential buildings:  Under the Act, the energy conservation code applies to commercial buildings:
    • erected after the notification of the code
    • having a minimum connected load of 100 kilo watts (kW) or contract load of 120 kilo volt ampere (kVA).
  • Under the Bill, the new energy conservation and sustainable building code will also apply to the office and residential buildings meeting the above criteria.  The Bill also empowers the state governments to lower the load thresholds.
  • Standards for vehicles and vessels:  Under the Act, the energy consumption standards may be specified for equipment and appliances which consume, generate, transmit, or supply energy.  The Bill expands the scope to include vehicles (as defined under the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988), and vessels (includes ships and boats).
  • Regulatory powers of SERCs: The Act empowers the State Electricity Regulatory Commissions (SERCs) to adjudge penalties under the Act.  The Bill adds that SERCs may also make regulations for discharging their functions.
  • Composition of the governing council of BEE: The Act provides for the setting up of the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE).  The Bureau has a governing council with members between 20 and 26 in number.   These include: (i) secretaries of six departments, (ii) representatives of regulatory authorities such as the Central Electricity Authority, and the Bureau of Indian Standards, and (iii) up to four members representing industries and consumers.  The Bill instead provides that the number of members will be between 31 and 37.  It increases the number of secretaries to 12.   It also provides for up to seven members representing industries and consumers.