Interview

EESL: Transforming energy efficiency market in India through innovation

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Venkatesh Dwivedi

Venkatesh Dwivedi, Director (Projects), EESL

Implementing the world’s largest energy efficiency programmes and deploying innovative technologies to develop a robust infrastructure to help India achieve its environment sustainability objectives, Energy Efficiency Services Ltd has pioneered innovative new energy service model, and its success has created a blueprint for commercial growth of energy service companies in India’s energy efficiency space, says Venkatesh Dwivedi, Director (Projects), EESL, in an interview with Sudheer Goutham of Elets News Network (ENN).

Please brief us about the various energy efficiency initiatives taken up by EESL.

Established in 2009, EESL is a Super Energy Service Company (Super ESCO) seeking to unlock the energy efficiency market in India, estimated to be at USD12 billion (Rs 74,000 crores), by way of innovative business and implementation models.

To meet this objective, EESL is implementing the following programmes: The world’s largest LED programmes— Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All (UJALA) and Street Lighting National Programme (SLNP)—which have not just transformed the industry but also transformed consumer behaviour, in their acceptance to energy efficient technologies. Also, most importantly, the nation benefited with significant reduction in CO2 emission. UJALA has led to an estimated GHG emission reduction of 36.91 million tonne CO2 per year and SLNP has led to an estimated GHG emission reduction of 4.23 million tonnes CO2 per year.

Also Read: EESL helps NITI Aayog save Rs 2.67 crore annually

Under National E-Mobility Programme, EESL has completed the procurement of 10,000 e-cars and as on date, 1,510 e-cars have been deployed and under registration/allocation. Besides this, we are also exploring synergies with various urban local bodies to develop a robust public charging infrastructure for EVs, so that customers don’t have to commute long distances for their next car battery fuel-up. After New Delhi, we have joined hands with various municipal bodies such as Ahmedabad, Jaipur and Chennai to set up public charging infrastructure, deploy EVs on contract basis and facilitate their e-mobility transition. Gradually, we will put up public charging stations across 11 cities. As on date, 295 AC and 161 DC chargers have been commissioned.

Under the Smart Meter National Programme (SMNP), EESL has procured one crore smart meters and system integrators and has floated another tender for 50 lakh smart meters. Till date, three lakh smart meters have been installed in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Bihar and NDMC- Delhi. By EESL’s smart metering project, NDMC becomes the first utility to have all their consumers connected with smart meters without any upfront investment from NDMC. Under the Building Energy Efficiency Programme (BEEP), EESL has completed building energy efficiency projects in 10,236 buildings including railway stations. The energy audits show energy saving potential to the tune of up to 30-50 percent in these buildings.

EESL is implementing the Agricultural Demand Side Management (AgDSM) programme to distribute ‘BEE 5-Star’ energy efficient agricultural pumps. Pilot projects have been completed in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Rajasthan. As on date, EESL has installed over 69,800 pumps in Andhra Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.

EESL and Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL) have signed an agreement for 200 MW decentralised solar power projects with capacity ranging from 0.5 MW to 2 MW in vacant/unutilised/spare lands of MSEDCL, Maharashtra. Till date, solar power plant of 27.28 MW cumulative capacity has been commissioned.

To provide students in remote areas access to clean and affordable lighting in the evening hours for their studies, EESL is implementing the 70 lakh Solar Study Lamps Scheme of MNRE. As on date, EESL has distributed over 48.49 lakh solar study lamps in Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Odisha and Jharkhand. In another programme of MNRE, Atal Jyoti Yojana (AJAY) Phase I and II, as on date, EESL has installed over 1.37 lakh solar LED streetlights under AJAY Phase-I in Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Odisha and Jharkhand.

Under Phase-II of the scheme, EESL has carried out the tendering process and awarded the work for the installation and maintenance of 3,04,500 solar LED streetlights in more than 15 states. As on date, over 10,000 solar lights under AJAY Phase II have been installed in Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Odisha.

EESL’s first-of-its-kind programme for industrial sector, National Motor Replacement Programme (NMRP), was conceptualised after due consultation with industries and other stakeholders. In the first phase, EESL did the procurement of 1,20,000 motors ranging between 1.1 KW to 22 KW. EESL targeted large, medium and small industries.

Through the Super Efficient AC Programme, EESL in partnership with BSES Rajdhani) and BSES Yamuna and Tata Power Delhi Distribution Limited, is distributing 50,000 super-efficient ACs which are 20 percent more efficient than the 5-star ACs at a rate comparable to 3-Star AC available in the market. EESL is creating a roadmap for municipalities to emulate, which will bring substantial benefit to the nation and strengthen government’s India Cooling Action Plan (ICAP).

EESL has also ventured into Electric Vehicle (EV), charging infrastructure, green and clean transport. Tell us about progress on this front. What are the plans laid for it in the next few years?

EESL’s EV programme is creating an enabling ecosystem by establishing a substantial presence for EVs, their affordability, and supporting charging infrastructure, to encourage more participation of the industries and adoption by consumers. EESL has completed the procurement of 10,000 e-cars and as on date, 1,510 e-cars have been deployed and under registration/ allocation. Though we did not reach the numbers we wanted to, but there has been an increment in the vehicles running, and most importantly, it has triggered off several other things which otherwise were not moving in the system. The perceptions about EVs have changed when people started using them, resolution on some issues like e-vehicle charging infrastructure and sale of power.

Further, we are working towards strengthening charging infrastructure which is critical for boosting consumer confidence on EVs and address range anxiety. We are putting up public charging stations in Delhi, knowing the early adopters will be in this city. We have installed 39 DC001 (15 KW) chargers already. In a month’s time, we will have 150 more chargers installed at all prominent places in Delhi. EESL has received all the bids for the new tender of 200 combo chargers but are yet to open the bid.

Recently, EESL entered into a partnership with Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) to establish enabling infrastructure for EVs in AMC area over a 10-year period to fast-track the adoption of e- mobility in Ahmedabad by installing around 100 public charging stations and promoting electric vehicles on rental and purchase basis in AMC area.

Tell us about EESL’s work in energy generation sector.

While promoting energy efficiency, EESL is actively promoting the usage of clean energy through programmes like 70 lakh Solar Study Lamps Scheme, AJAY and decentralised solar projects. We aim to work actively on all the projects as the potential to scale up these programmes is huge.

In addition to this, through our subsidiary EPSL Trigeneration Pvt Ltd, we are promoting the usage of trigeneration which is a highly fuel efficient energy process for simultaneous production of power, heat and cooling in a single integrated system using one primary fuel – natural gas.

What are the best practices and innovations that EESL is encouraging and promoting in energy sector?

EESL has been leading the mandate of demand side management of energy in India for almost 10 years while implementing the world’s largest energy efficiency portfolio.

The company has pioneered innovative new energy service model, and its success has created a blueprint for commercial growth of energy service companies in India’s energy efficiency space. These include cost reduction attributed to aggregating demand and economies of scale, which have stimulated India’s private energy efficiency investments.

Further, EESL is also providing a platform which enables multistakeholder collaboration to promote new innovations in energy efficiency. It has been organising an annual symposium, ‘International Symposium to Promote Innovation & Research in Energy Efficiency (INSPIRE)’. This event presents a unique opportunity to meet and exchange ideas with key Indian and global experts and incubate partnerships and collaborations. Last year, EESL started the first edition of ‘#InnovateToINSPIRE’, a first-of-its kind energy innovation challenge, which was organised to invite ideas for scalable solutions in the realm of energy efficiency.

Throw some light on EESLs national and global presence.

EESL aims to become a global leader in implementing innovative business models, to promote the rapid and profitable adoption of energy efficiency solutions. We are implementing energy efficiency projects in Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Maldives, Bangladesh, SE Asia (Vietnam/ Thailand) and Myanmar.

Could you brief us about EESL’s work in the urban development and smart cities spaces?

Energy efficiency is a key enabler for Government of India to help India transform into a clean energy hub without compromising upon its growth objectives.

Under the Street Lighting National Programme, a Central Control and Monitoring System (CCMS) ensures that urban local bodies, municipalities and public-sector utilities have ease of maintenance in taking care of the LED streetlights installed. The lights can be controlled remotely depending on requirements, preventing electricity wastage. As they are linked to an Internet-of-Things (IoT) interface, they can also be monitored remotely, reducing downtime for repair and maintenance. Such digital real-time vigilance will also be achieved by the millions of smart meters that are being installed, ensuring that utilities and consumers directly receive useful information.

Such efficiencies and benefits are essential for a rapidly urbanising India and its corresponding increase in energy usage. It is the foundation of India’s vision for 100 Smart Cities, which will be equipped with sustainable, modern, efficient urban infrastructure. Implementation of electric vehicles and charging infrastructure, and other energy efficient interventions in public lighting, appliances and buildings will be made in cities selected under the Smart Cities Mission.

What are EESL’s expansion plans for the next 10 years?

EESL is working towards providing universal access to sustainable energy solutions to enable a low carbon future, with significant economic and social impact. We will continue to work towards that vision.

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