When global warming threat is so much a reality, the lead must come from India Inc. And it is coming. All that is done to reduce the global warming does also reduce cost as bonus in many cases.
Better energy efficiency (BEE) has become the top priority particularly in energy-intensive industries such as steel, cement, paper and fertilizer. BEE is a cost reduction step, as the electricity bill is 20-40 per cent of production costs of the sectors. According to the Bureau of Energy Efficiency, corporate India’s savings in this area run into crores of rupees every year:
1. Rashtriya Chemicals & Fertilisers has reduced its power consumption by 60 per cent in the past decade using new technologies.
2. With energy comprising 80 per cent of costs, Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative (IFFCO) reduced consumption by 6-14 per cent, with a Rs 8.3-crore upgradation of its Phulpur urea and ammonia plant helping the company save Rs 1.2 crore every year.
3. Jindal Stainless Ltd (JSL) saved nearly Rs 4 crore through waste reduction in 2005.
4. Chemfab Alkalis invested Rs 36.75 lakh to upgrade and replace inefficient pumps and compressors, and initiated other steps, which led to savings of Rs 82.75 lakh in the last three years.
5. Jubilant Organosys’ energy expenses, as a percentage of total costs, came down from 34.5 per cent in 1997-98 to 21.9 percent last year.
Cement kilns have shifted from wet to dry process; the automobile industry is recycling wastewater and re-using the sedimented heavy metals used in electroplating. Textiles firms are adopting cost-effective technologies. Pulp and paper majors like ITC and Ballarpur Industries have cut water usage by half.
The desire to become a global manufacturing hub has impelled auto majors to reduce pollution. Hero Honda has already switched over to asbestos-free brakes in its motorcycles.
Institutions such as Shriram Institute for Industrial Research (SIIR) and The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) have started offering sector-specific solutions.
The concept of green buildings that result in huge reductions in power (30-50 per cent) and water (30-50 per cent) usage are getting acceptance among many corporate that have decided to build only green buildings. From just over 50 green buildings now, the number may double by end-2007.
CII-Godrej GBC has also been able to start a voluntary programme, in which corporate members agree to reduce annual consumption of energy by 2-6 per cent, water by 5-10 per cent, and material by 2-6 per cent, and emissions by 2-6 per cent. Inspiration, perhaps, came from China, which, in 2005, asked its top 1,000 enterprises to reduce emissions by 20 per cent by 2015.
In interesting news, two Indian firms Bangalore-based SELCO (Solar Electric light Company) India and Kerala’s Biotech won the Outstanding Achievement category of the Ashden International Awards, more popularly known as ‘Green Oscars’. SELCO has brought reliable, affordable, and environmentally sustainable electricity to 55,000 homes and plans to reach an additional 200,000 customers by 2010. Biotech has till now, built and installed 12,000 domestic, 220 institutional and 17 municipal biogas plants to generate power from waste.
Lighting consumes a fair amount of energy. About 40 per cent of electric energy consumed globally goes for lighting. In India, it is about 17 per cent. A switch over to the fluorescent lamps from the 100-year-old technology of incandescent bulbs will save a huge lot of energy. It was interesting to hear the new CM of UP announcing a plan of the switch over to CFL in all government buildings. LED will be the next target for lighting for energy saving. Unfortunately, I have myself not done 100%, whereas my friend Sirohi has carried out the exercise. Even the household appliances such as refrigerators and airconditioners have got a mandatory standard about the power consumption. India faces a peak hour deficit of 14%. And the switch over to solar lights and CFLs can change India from deficit to surplus even without any additional generation.
It doesn’t, however, mean that India should not expand and expedite its generation capacity. But it is the responsibility of every person as a global citizen of mother earth to save energy and water.