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Energy Efficiency: Where does India stand?

The big challenge in energy conservation is awareness; even bigger is acceptance. But the latest development on the importance of energy cost has caught the attention of the manufacturers and processors. Though the famous ‘Make in India’ might have failed to boost manufacturing but it seems to have certainly shed some light into the cost of productions.

Looking into stats, India is expected to become the fifth largest manufacturing country in the world by the end of the year 2020. Which also means that the country’s energy consumption is set to grow by more than 4.2 per cent per annum overtaking China. Let’s break down to electricity. Power consumption is expected to more than treble(*3 times), growing by over 241 per cent.

How is India managing the growing demand for energy?

The small scale manufacturing industries play an important role in the social and economic development of India (whose share in GDP is 6.11%). And also is the largest consumer of total commercial energy in the country.

Research shows by the energy audits carried out in various MSME units that major developments in the space of energy efficiency exist. The energy saving potential in the entire MSME sector is significantly higher (about 1.14 Mtoe). Having identified the opportunity the industry sector needs to build momentum.

In 2015, the then BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi called for “Energy Revolution”. And in his tenure as Prime Minister, India has taken important steps on renewable energy with increasing installed capacity. There are favourable signs to energy efficiency but it requires continued effort and access to new technologies. Today, the Internet of Things(IoT) and Artificial Intelligence(AI) has changed the way how energy is being conserved.  A report states that IoT adoption has started gaining momentum in India after the government’s emphasis on Digital India.

How are global manufacturers using technology to conserve energy?

In other parts of the world, almost 45.2% of energy companies use IoT technologies to monitor production. According to Gartner, IoT usage in the energy sector is expected to grow to 50 billion devices by 2020 and manufacturers are taking advantage mainly on the data this technology could provide them to cut energy costs.

Coming back to India, while the industrialists are taking steps to shift towards sustainability;  a study was conducted by the Ministry of Power on the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) sector to assess energy use and technology gap at unit level. It was pointed out that as a large percentage of energy audits conducted in the units were free and not paid by the units, hampering the seriousness of adapting to the new technologies and replicating it was low. Thus any means of proper energy conservation is apparently slower at this division and is also a reason why India is lagging behind.

Given the circumstances, if India wants to become an energy efficient economy, it certainly needs to mend the matters at stake with SMEs so as to create more awareness about the rising need and use of technology to bridge the gap. This will help in creating a more sustainable environment thereby making India not only the largest producer and consumer but also an energy efficient economy.