By Yogesh Bhandari:
A senior official of the United Nations recently stated that India can lead the world in the area of sustainable energy from renewable sources, as its clean energy target is way ahead of UN global goals. Our gregarious growth and energy demand is being met by erecting solar power plants, using decentralized distribution, wind power generation, and waste to gas generation. These generation techniques are abetting India to meet its global challenge of providing electricity to the most accessible areas of India.
But moving forward on this path of a sustainable future, there is another area of concern. What about the sustainable energy growth in the urban areas of India?
According to a 2011 census report of India, more than 377 million population, constituting 31.16% of the total population live in urban areas. For reducing the net carbon footprint, these metropolitan cities are one of the prime causes of concern, as they are a breeding ground for energy draining, commercial buildings like malls, restaurants etc.
The solution is not simply employing rooftop solar energy, as that can hardly make any difference due to space limitation and economic viability. What’s the need of the hour, is working on energy efficient measures, and strictly following the Energy Conservation and Building Code (ECBC). Further, there is a need to make the Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) of buildings more energy saving as it consumes 60% of the total energy of the building on an average. Even though these energy efficient measures look lucrative, but modern day population of India is still apprehensive because of the stigma of high price associated with these measures.
There is hope, as companies like Promethean are using innovative technology to design their own retrofit heat exchangers for cold storage applications, start-ups like Smart Joules which are clean and energy effective service providers, are working on making metropolises like Delhi more energy efficient.
The aim of providing energy efficacy to new, emerging urban cities is that there can be a net drop in energy consumption which in turn directly lowers the demand, and hence considerable reduction in carbon dioxide and other emissions from power plants.
Even though remarkable growth has been observed in the renewable energy market of India and many new projects have been commissioned at a very rapid pace, what’s missing and is paramount for this untapped market is the availability of subsidies from the government and crowd funding for supporting startups at a rudimentary stage for the development of these capital intensive, energy saving innovations. Moreover, stringent rules and regulations, as well as usage of only energy saving equipment can aggrandize our efforts of making a sustainable, urban India.