by Tashi Mitra
India is one of the world’s fastest growing economies and its cities are extremely polluted. While the energy consumption is lower than the global per capita norms, it is increasing rapidly. The Indian Government has a complex problem to solve – how does it fuel economic growth, which will consume much more energy whilst driving energy efficiency and sustainability. This post primarily focuses on the Indian Government’s approach towards increasing energy efficiency and its initiatives addressing climate change. The Indian Government has put together various nodal agencies: National Mission for Enhancing Energy Efficiency.
The objective of this agency is to address national problems of inefficient energy usage. It has set the target of saving 5% of annual energy consumption. The Mission will spend 12 billion USD to support energy efficiency initiatives including Perform, Achieve and Trade (PAT) Mechanism which targets India’s most intensive industrial units.
Bureau of Energy Efficiency:
The broad objectives of this agency are to establish systems to measure, monitor, verify energy efficiency as well as to make policy recommendations.
Ministry of New and Renewable Energy:
This ageny is responsible for Research and Development, intellectual property protection, international co-operation in renewable energy serves such as wind power, small hydro, biogas and solar power.
National Action Plan for Climate Change:
Set up in 2008, the Plan has created separate missions such as the solar mission, mission for enhancing energy efficiency, mission for sustainable habitat, mission for water, mission for sustainable agricultural, and mission for strategic knowledge for climate change.
There is a lot being done in a difficult and complex environment with many real but often conflicting objectives. There are many stakeholders, and democracy does not make consensus and execution easy. There is political will, even to do the difficult things – the odd-even car plate-number policy, where only certain cars are allowed to move on the roads each day in Delhi, is an example of how citizens can play a role within a defined policy framework.
The real issue is regarding the execution. The bureaucracy, with its high levels of corruption and inefficiency, fails to make significant change. It has been found that Energy Service Companies or ESCO’s have been successful where they have Government support. Bob Taylor, the World Bank energy sector leader for Europe and Asia-Pacific and – author of “Financing Energy Efficiency – Lessons for Brazil, India and China and Beyond” said, “We found if you try to go without any support it pretty tough”. He goes on to say –“ India is a pretty good example of how tough it is”.
Now that India has put the agencies in place and resourced them adequately, the question for India’s Government is: how will they get them to deliver as a collective to solve India’s triple edged equation – GDP growth, energy efficiency and environmental protection.