Interview: Venkatesh Dwivedi

Venkatesh Dwivedi,
Director (Projects) at EESL
 

“How would you describe EESL's decade long journey to unlock the true potential of energy efficiency in India?”

EESL was established with the vision of achieving universal access for sustainable energy solutions that can enable a low carbon future and deliver social and economic impact. The early success with our domestic street lighting programme deepened our commitment and accelerated our mission for driving widespread energy efficiency adoption. Since then we have diversified into more energy-efficient and clean energy technologies.

On our agenda in the near and medium-term are buildings energy efficiency programme, Agriculture Demand Side Management, smart meters, trigeneration, electric vehicle infrastructure, decentralized solar power plants, and gram panchayat LED street lighting programmes.

Our Buildings Energy Efficiency Programme offers a uniquely designed solution for buildings of the government, industry, and institutions to implement and retrofit energy-efficient appliances and systems at affordable prices. As on date, we have completed building energy efficiency projects in 10,344 buildings including railway stations and airports. The energy audits show energy-saving potential to the tune of up to 30-50% in these buildings. The major interventions in these buildings are in the area of lighting and air-conditioning systems.

We are implementing Agriculture Demand Side Management (AgDSM) for the replacement of old pumps with BEE 5 Star rated pumps. As on date, we have installed over 73,900 no. of pumps in the state of Andhra Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.
We are also focused on a technology called trigeneration where heating, cooling, and power are generated simultaneously. EESL offers an integrated turnkey solution, providing end-to-end service and maintenance. Our acquisition of Edina, UK's leading supplier, installer and maintenance provider for combined heat and power (CHP), gas, and diesel power generation solutions enables us to capture the international market potential for trigeneration. The market for trigeneration technology has been estimated at 20,000 MW in India, with the bulk of the demand expected to be driven primarily by commercial real estate, airports, industries, and service establishments. EESL aims to harness these capabilities and introduce a compelling turnkey solution and servicing model to India, the past absence of which has restrained the wider adoption of trigeneration technology in India.

We are also working towards providing reliable solar power supply to agricultural pump sets by setting up solar mini-grids. These PV pump sets will be used to irrigate the farms during the daytime, thereby reducing dependence on diesel. EESL will finance, design, install, own, and operate solar-PV pumping in the farms. To date (24th February 2020), solar power plants of approx. 100 MW cumulative capacity has been commissioned.
With a mission to promote e-mobility in India, we are developing Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure and have signed MoUs with multiple stakeholders across municipalities, DISCOMs for locational assessment study and setting up of charging infrastructures in their jurisdiction locations. Till date, 68 nos. of Public Charging Stations (PCS) have been installed in NDMC Delhi, CMRL Chennai, Maha Metro Nagpur, Noida Authority and SDMC Delhi
Under the Gram Panchayat Street lighting Programme, we have replaced more than 16 lakh conventional lights with LEDs in Andhra Pradesh and a similar programme has been undertaken in Jharkhand as well. Further, we are about to commence this programme in Telangana, Maharashtra and a few other states.

Under the Smart Meter National Programme, we have over 10 lakh smart meters installed in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Bihar, and NDMC-Delhi.

We're proud to see that since the early days of 2015, energy efficiency has grown more prominent in the consumer's conscience. Our programmes, grounded firmly in creating demand momentum for energy efficiency, have played a critical role in transforming India's growth story, and we fully intend to continue expanding our footprint and exploring new avenues and markets to sustain a global transformation towards responsible energy consumption and generation.

“What have been some of the most important learning over this decade w.r.t implementation of energy efficiency plans in a common man's everyday routine?”

We have realized that if any energy efficiency solution is affordable, accessible, and sustainable, the consumer behavior will change towards that and this is core to our approach at EESL. We have witnessed this with our LED programmes like the UJALA and Street Lighting National Programme that have not just transformed the industry but also altered consumer behavior, by increasing their acceptance of energy-efficient technologies.

EESL adopted an innovative mass procurement strategy, which lowered the manufacturing cost of the LED bulbs. The benefit of this price reduction has been passed on to the consumers, who have benefited from reduced bills due to the usage of LED bulbs. The DISCOMs and ULBs too benefited from increased savings.

EESL also enrolled Self-Help Groups (SHGs) for LED bulb distribution, as part of its inclusive growth strategy to enable growth in lower-income communities. With this programme EESL has also provided an impetus to the growth of the industry, creating favorable market conditions for new industries to develop. As on date, under UJALA, EESL has distributed over 36.18 crores LED bulbs across India. This has resulted in estimated energy savings of 46.98 billion kWh per year with an avoided peak demand of 9,407 MW and an estimated GHG emission reduction of 38.05 million t CO2 per year. Additionally, EESL has distributed over 71.77 lakh LED tube lights and 23.17 lakh energy-efficient fans.

Under SLNP, as on date, EESL has installed over 1.06 crore LED streetlights across India. This has resulted in estimated energy savings of 7.14 billion kWh per year with an avoided peak demand of 1,190 MW and an estimated GHG emission reduction of 4.92 million t CO2 per year.

We are now replicating the revolution brought about by the LED programmes to our other initiatives such as Smart Meter National Programme, Trigeneration, Decentralised Solar Plants, and National E-Mobility Programme.

Apart from these key programmes, we will also be looking at scaling some of our other initiatives such as the Building Energy Efficiency Programme and the National Motor Replacement Programme parallelly.

“How does the company plan to become an INR 10,000-crore company in the next three years?”

The projected investments in the last 2 years and next 3 years in Smart Meter National Programme (SMNP) and decentralized solar programme are to the tone of Rs 15000 crores. Additionally, the revenue contribution from Street Lighting National Programme (Rs 2000 crore per year average) and other value-added services will take us to a top line of Rs 10,000 crore by 2023-24.

“Please share details of the new upcoming programmes from EESL”

With our vision to provide universal access to sustainable energy solutions and enable a low carbon future, along with delivering socio-economic impact, we always strive towards unlocking the energy efficiency market in India. We will be majorly focusing on the following 4 programmes for the next 4-5 years:

Smart Meter National Programme (SMNP): EESL has been awarded a contract for the procurement of 10 Million smart meters and system integrators and has floated another tender for 5 million smart meters. We are providing smart meters to utilities on a rental basis to replace the conventional meters. To date, we have over 10 lakh smart meters installed in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Bihar, and NDMC-Delhi.

Trigeneration: Trigeneration is a unique technology where heating, cooling, and power are generated simultaneously. EESL offers an integrated turnkey solution, providing end-to-end service and maintenance. It also guarantees performance with Service Level Agreements (SLAs). As on date, our Mahindra and Mahindra Trigeneration project of 800 kW is already underway. EESL has also signed SLA with Data Center in Navi Mumbai for setting up of 2.0 MW Trigeneration with 450 TR VAM (along with fully standby system).

Decentralized Solar Power Projects: We are working towards providing a reliable solar power supply to agricultural pump sets by setting up solar mini-grids. These PV pump sets will be used to irrigate the farms during the daytime, thereby reducing dependence on diesel. EESL will finance, design, install, own, and operate solar-PV pumping on farms. To date, solar power plants of approx. 100 MW cumulative capacity has been commissioned. We plan to replicate this program in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, and Jharkhand. There are 30 million agriculture pumps in the country with an average capacity of 5 kilowatts. With 200 GW worth of decentralized solar projects, we can move the entire agricultural land away from conventional sources of electricity.

National E-Mobility Programme (NEMP): In line with India’s vision to make the country go electric, we have commissioned 300 AC and 180 DC chargers across India, with 68 public charging points that are currently operational across the country. In the pursuit of increasing charging infrastructure penetration, we have also partnered with Urban Local Bodies in Hyderabad, Noida, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Chennai, and are in discussion with others across India. We have also recently partnered with private organizations such as Apollo Hospitals to set up public charging stations across the country.

Apart from these key programmes, EESL will also be looking at the below schemes parallelly:

Building Energy Efficiency Programme (BEEP): With the government’s mandate to implement this programme in all central government buildings, EESL has completed building energy efficiency projects in 10,344 buildings including railway stations and airports. The energy audits show energy-saving potential to the tune of up to 30-50% in these buildings. The major interventions in these buildings are in the area of lighting and air-conditioning systems.

National Motor Replacement Programme (NMRP): It is EESL’s first of its kind programme for the industrial sector and was conceptualized after due consultation with industries and other stakeholders. The programme was launched in January 2018. The market assessment reveals that there is a potential of about 15 million motors that can be replaced with more efficient variants. Accordingly, in the first phase of the programme, EESL did the procurement of 1,20,000 motors ranging between 1.1 kW to 22 kW. EESL has targeted large, medium, and small industries to promote the use of Premium Efficiency Motors (IE3).

“What are India's biggest challenges in achieving its potential in energy efficiency?”

The major challenge right now is the lack of awareness about adopting energy efficiency practices by society. The next big challenge is payment recovery for the investments being done by any Energy Servicing Companies (ESCO), which needs to be on time from the beneficiaries. In a bid to make energy efficiency more effective and financially viable, this needs to be dealt with in a much more holistic manner. Last but not least, more financial institutions should come forward to support energy efficiency projects by promoting lending more aggressively and proactively. The focus on next-generation efficiency technologies will help us generate more revenue for the company, which will eventually lead us to us achieving our vision of being a 10,000 crore ESCO.

Interview 11/05/2020 by News Bureau
 
 
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