- All forms of energy and electricity generation and consumption are for people to enjoy a good quality of life. While energy use can be grouped into different categories like residential, commercial, industrial, agricultural and transport, it is our lifestyle that determines the consumption.
- Perpetually increasing energy consumption will create problems for humankind.
- Human Development Index (HDI) is one indicator of quality of life and takes into account a country’s gdp, per capita income and parameters such as education and health. An hdi of 0.8 is considered to indicate a good quality of life as per “Energy and Human Well-Being”, published by the United Nations Development Programme and this hdi level requires
2,000-3,000 KWh per capita per annum.
- Globally, there is a wide variation between countries in their earnings and electricity consumption.
- Eg: On average, the world’s GDP per capita in 2018 was $16,980, while its power usage was 3,260 kWh per capita.
- In India, Kerala has HDI of 0.8, with a per capita consumption of 757 kWh while Gujarat, with thrice as much electricity consumption at 2,378 kWh per capita, has an HDI of 0.68, similar to the national average which shows that to ensure good quality of life one does not need huge energy.
- The world’s energy usage is projected to double in a few decades.
- “Net Zero by 2050”, a report by the International Energy Agency (iea) 2021, states that per capita electricity consumption will rise from 3,509 kWh in 2019 to 7,342 kWh in 2050, while per capita gdp is stated to rise from $17,588 to $ 32,648 in the same duration.
- As per studies by IEA and the Central Electricity Authority (cea), In India per capita electricity consumption is projected to rise from 965 kWh in 2018 to 2059 kWh in 2040.
- While energy use has to increase to provide a good standard of living, curbs are necessary to reduce consumption.
Important measures for Sustainable Energy Consumption
- Energy efficiency : The International Energy(IEA) Agency calls energy efficiency the first fuel.
- Energy efficiency means using less energy to get the same job done – and in the process, cutting energy bills and reducing pollution.
- Member countries of IEA (mostly high-income countries) have achieved nearly 50% improvement in energy efficiency in all sectors—industry, domestic, transport and agriculture.
- India has done good work through agencies like the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (bee), Petroleum Conservation Research Organization (pcra) and the Gujarat Energy Development Agency (geda), though the organizations remain short-staffed and have limited financial resources compared to power generation and distribution companies.
- Eg: Promotion of led bulbs has been a major success in India and bee’s Standard and Labeling programme has given excellent results.
- As of now there are no stringent guidelines for important equipment like electric motors which consume 75% of the electricity in India.
- Eg: While International Efficiency-3 (IE 3) level has become mandatory throughout the world, in India motors rated IE1 or even lower are widely used.
- Ensuring Energy efficiency is a must for all the nations.
- Limits to conspicuous consumption: Energy guzzling initiatives, projects and vehicles need to be discouraged.
- Eg: SUVs as their price does not reflect their cost in terms of road utilization, emissions, parking space and other externalities.
- In India suvs account for 30% of car sales compared to 50% in the US and steps have to be taken to discourage such vehicles.
- Electric Vehicles can be considered as future options but it also has some externalities.
- Preferring Public Transport rather than Private: Public transport needs a big boost in India.
- Passenger and freight transport in the railways is much less compared to road transport.
- The Railway network needs to be extended for effective Energy Consumption which is only about 60,000 kms as of now.
- Activities like cycling and walking are not given priority and even the share of buses too is coming down.
- India is promoting air transport between smaller cities which does not make sense from the environmental point of view.
- Eg: In Europe, air travel is discouraged in favor of high-speed trains, while cycling is also promoted by city and state bodies while China has the highest network of high-speed trains.
- Another important point for India is its dependence on energy imports. In 2040, oil imports are likely to account for 90% of consumption, as per “India Energy Outlook 2021” and “World Energy Outlook” published by IEA, while gas imports will account for 50% to 70% of India’s energy imports.
- Even 20% of India’s coal is likely to be imported which will disturb the balance of payments since India’s exports are much less than its imports.
- It is, therefore, necessary for India to curb its oil consumption by restricting private vehicle ownership, encouraging railways in place of road travel and promoting walking and cycling.
- Vegetarian diet in place of non-vegetarian diet: Non-vegetarian diets have a huge energy, water and land footprint. Eg: About 10 kg of feed gives 1 kg of beef.
- Meat consumption is rising throughout the world.
- All agencies working in the field of energy and health are clear about the advantages of vegetarian diet for which efforts are required to discourage non-vegetarian diet and to encourage vegetarian diet.
- Material efficiency: Advantages of recycling are obvious for which not only recycling has to be encouraged but the use of material has to be moderated by design.
- Electric vehicles rely on materials like lithium and cobalt, which can be recycled as the availability of materials will be a problem for electric vehicles in future.
- Goal 12 in the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals is “Responsible Consumption and Production” and it’s high time we define responsible consumption and make strategies to meet our targets.
- Thus, Responsible consumption must be encouraged by framing a sustainable policy.
- The International Energy Agency (IEA) is an autonomous body within the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) framework.
- Created in 1974, the IEA works to ensure reliable, affordable and clean energy for its member countries and beyond. Its main areas of focus are energy security, economic development, environmental awareness and engagement worldwide.
- The IEA is made up of 30 member countries. Before becoming a member country of the IEA, a candidate country must meet several criteria.
- For eg: It must have crude oil or product reserves equivalent to 90 days of the previous year’s net imports.
- It must have in place a demand restraint program to reduce national oil consumption by up to 10 per cent.
- India is an associate member of IEA.
- IEA is headquartered in Paris, France.
About Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE)
- BEE is a statutory body under the Ministry of Power.
- It assists in developing policies and strategies on energy conservation and efficiency with the primary objective of reducing the energy intensity of the Indian economy.
- BEE coordinates with designated consumers, designated agencies of the states, and other related organizations to identify and utilize the existing resources and infrastructure, in performing the functions assigned to it under the Energy Conservation Act, 2001.