In Conversation With Venkatesh Dwivedi, Director at Energy Efficiency Services Ltd

Venkatesh Dwivedi from EESL shared his views on various topics which the power sector is currently dealing with along with the company’s roadmap for energy efficiency. 

EESL has been working towards removing various hurdles to facilitate the growth of electric mobility in the country. With our approach of demand aggregation and bulk procurement, we have been able to contribute to addressing significant challenges like low demand, the high upfront cost of adoption, and so on, said Venkatesh Dwivedi, Director (Projects), Energy Efficiency Services Limited, a government-owned energy efficient solutions provider and South Asia’s first and foremost energy efficiency leader.In conversation with Manu Tayal, Associate Editor, Saur Energy International, Dwivedi shared his views on various topics which the power sector is currently dealing with along with the company’s roadmap for the energy efficiency. 

Q. Recently, EESL launched superefficient ACs with 40% higher efficiency than the current 3-star ACs. Will we see the offer taken to other markets beyond Delhi?

With this launch, EESL will create a roadmap for other municipalities to emulate, which will bring substantial benefit to the nation and strengthen government’s India Cooling Action Plan (ICAP). We are initiating this pilot in association with BSES Rajdhani. We are keen to take this programme across India and we are already speaking with other ULBs and DISCOMs to join us.

Q. How much can energy efficiency help India in achieving its commitment towards COP-21 Paris Agreement?

Energy efficiency is one of the most environmentally sustainable pathways to meet India’s Paris Agreement commitment of reducing carbon intensity by 33-35 percent by 2030 from 2005 level, while also significantly contributing to energy security. Energy cost reduction, decarbonization and air pollution mitigation, energy security, and energy access can all be enhanced by strong energy efficiency measures. Energy efficiency will also make the energy transition cheaper, faster and more scalable.

The energy efficiency measures of Government of India implemented by Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) alone have led to energy savings of over 41 billion kWh and reduced India’s greenhouse gas emissions by 32 million tonnes.

Q. What is your view on the impact of programs like UJALA and Solar Street Lights?

With the UJALA programme, EESL has provided an impetus to the growth of the industry creating favorable market conditions for new industries to develop. The Indian LED market grew by 10 times in five years and annual domestic production increased from approximately 3 mn LED bulbs in 2013 to 62 mn in 2015. UJALA has played an important role in this rapid growth. EESL’s approach of bulk competitive procurement attracted tremendous interest and participation from industry. EESL’s model resulted in lowering the manufacturing cost of LED bulbs enabling the benefit of price reduction to be passed on to the consumers. Through UJALA, the cost of LED bulb has been brought down by 85 percent over a period of three years. This, in turn, has led to a much larger pool of bidders enhancing competition. Further, EESL’s specifications including the three-year warranty requirement have ensured that LED bulbs procured meet high quality standards. This is helping build market confidence in the product.

EESL has been distributing the superior quality LED bulbs to domestic consumers at Rs. 70 leading to energy savings up to 90% in comparision to incandescent bulbs.

The scheme has been readily adopted by all the states, and as of now over 34 crore LED bulbs have been distributed which has saved over Rs. 17,000 cr in cost and saved 44,347 mn kWh of energy per year. Consumers have saved money, improved their quality of life, and contributed to India’s economic growth and prosperity.

India has firmly established solar energy as its leading pathway to a sustainable energy future. Bringing solar to the grid can provide an affordable, renewable, and low-carbon source of energy that can power India’s underserved regions. Towards this goal, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) launched the Atal Jyoti Yojana (AJAY) to illuminate dark regions across five states through solar power with high mast solar LED street lights.

These lights will be installed on major roads, markets, and public places, thereby contributing to safety, and enabling a better quality of life. EESL is implementing the programme in rural, semi-urban, and urban areas that face less than 50% grid connectivity in states of Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand, and Odisha with 300,000 high-mast solar LED street lights.

Q. Kindly tell us how you successfully implemented the pay-as-you save model for LEDs? Is this model viable for EVs also?

We follow an innovative business model of zero-subsidy, zero-capex and pay-asyou-save for all our programmes, which obviates the need for any upfront capital investment in any interventions. The upfront cost is borne by EESL and the monetised savings over time are used to recover the cost of investment. This leads to a reduction in the initial cost of adoption of transformative solutions. This is done through the following:

  • Innovative risk allocation of procurement, installation, service and maintenance
  • Aggregate demand by including incentives for all stakeholders & consumers
  • Putting out large procurements to leverage economies to scale
  • Passing on the benefits to end users for more demand aggregation– virtuous cycle

We have witnessed the success of this model in UJALA and Street Light National Programme and we are confident that the same will be replicated in EVs and all our other programmes.

Q. What do you think is the single biggest bottleneck in the adoption of EVs in India? Do you believe 25% of all cars as EV’s is a possible target by 2030?

Electric vehicles are a critical imperative to India’s sustainable growth. The Government of India is working towards enabling systematic adoption of EVs in the country. Measures to promote e-mobility in government fleet, public transportation, supported by adequate public charging infrastructure and, availability of battery systems will be conducive to the growth of electric mobility in the country. This will not only help the industry to grow but also enable greater access to greener transportation to consumers and ultimately lead to more significant benefits for the environment.

In line with this, EESL has been working towards removing various hurdles to facilitate the growth of electric mobility in the country. With our approach of demand aggregation and bulk procurement, we have been able to contribute to addressing significant challenges like low demand, the high upfront cost of adoption, and so on.

Q. In your view, what needs to be done on priority to promote and reduce the cost of battery storage in the country?

The Government of India is committed to promote Clean, Connected, Shared and Holistic Mobility Initiatives. Also, it acknowledges that affordable, accessible, inclusive and safe mobility solutions are primary strategic levers for rapid economic development and improving ‘Ease of Living’. Thus, recently, Union Cabinet has approved the National Mission on Transformative Mobility and Battery Storage to encourage setting up of large-scale, export-competitive integrated batteries and cell-manufacturing Giga plants in India through Phased Manufacturing Programme (PMP). This will enable holistic and comprehensive growth of the battery manufacturing industry in India. This localisation of production will enable reduction of costs of battery storage which will drive further adoption of EVs and enhance the uptake of renewable energy and storage solutions.

Q. What has been the progress on the project with ISA for global solar water pump tender?

We are working on the tendering process and we are hopeful that we will successfully complete the same in next couple of months.

Q. Kindly tell us something about EESL’s work outside India. What market scope have you seen there?

EESL is constantly looking to unlock and sustain markets for energy efficiency. It aims to become a global market leader in implementing innovative business models, to promote the rapid and profitable adoption of energy efficiency solutions. Our ongoing international projects include:

Saudi Arabia: Providing consultancy services to the National Energy Services Company of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, to enable replication of India’s successful domestic and street lighting programmes

  • Malaysia: Distributing 1 million 9-W LED bulbs to households across Melaka
  • Nepal: Supplying 10 million LED lamps and initiating programs for smart metering and street lighting
  • Bangladesh: Initiating programs for domestic lighting
  • UNEP: MoU to accelerate energy efficiency across 66 developing and emerging economies
  • EESL has acquired Edina UK Ltd. to harnesses the potential for synergies between these two nations’ efforts, while building on the commitment made by the Prime Ministers of India and UK for an enhanced ‘Energy for Growth’ Partnership. In line with -this investment commitment, EESL is expanding its portfolio with a successful turnkey trigeneration product and service offering. The acquisition will enable EESL in accessing and financing a wider international market for its bespoke, containerized solutions. Additionally, EESL is also exploring strategic partnerships with cleantech organizations across Europe.

Q. What are the other areas EESL could get into in the coming time? Do you see a higher engagement with the private sector?

EESL is constantly looking for new technologies and to sustain markets for energy efficiency in India. This market has been estimated at US $12 billion, with a potential to reduce energy consumption by up to 20 percent.

EESL is already attempting to transform and scale the markets for several energy efficiency solutions like agriculture and municipal pump sets, domestic and street lighting, smart meters, electric mobility, solar lamps, solar rooftops, trigeneration and energy efficient motors.

We will continue to attempt stimulating markets for solutions, that are relevant to the bulk of the society and recalibrating the ecosystem to enable adoption of these solutions, along with driving largescale social impact.

EESL’s approach of aggregating demand ensures that the market attracts private players and foster industry participation – large, medium and small, while passing the benefits of cost reduction – created through bulk procurement – on to energy consumers.

Published with permission from Saur Energy and inputs from Manu Tayal

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Sneha Verma

Sneha Verma

Sneha has worked with News agencies such as DD, PTI and ANI and after covering politics, in search for fresh air, she later joined Iamrenew team. She has done her graduation in Journalism & Masscom. from IP university and PGD in HR from TISS.

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