Meet Kapil Mohan, IAS, Deputy Director-General, Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE)

What would you say are some of the key energy and climate challenges that India faces today?

From India's point of view, we do believe in sustainable development. The PM has already said that our carbon emissions will never reach those of developed nations. However, we need to do work on our own to deal with the effects of climate change. This has to do with ensuring energy efficiency as opposed to just energy conservation. The climate challenge before us today is to reduce carbon intensity.

What is the mission of the Bureau of Energy Efficiency?

Improving energy efficiency is the mission of the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE). The government created the BEE in order to promote energy efficiency-read that as energy intensity. Most of our programs are targeted at this goal. One of the popular programs we have introduced relates to the use of standards. We assign ratings-such as four and five stars-to products, in order to indicate their energy efficiency. These ratings enable consumers to understand and appreciate which products are more energy efficient.

Is there a goal/target that BEE has set for the country?

The government works in Five Year Plan periods. The current plan ends in 2012. The target for the plan is to achieve 10,000 megawatts of energy saving. Simply explained, it means that our aim in the current Five Year Plan is to avoid the generation of 10,000 megawatts of power. We have already achieved 6,500 to 7,000 megawatts and are sure of touching the targeted 10,000 megawatt figure. In the next Five Year Plan, we hope to double this figure to 20,000 megawatts at the least, which is like eliminating five mega power projects, or close to Rs.1,00,000 crores of investment.

How are you marketing the concept of intelligent buildings?

We are creating standards and have started the process by hand-holding corporations to adopt building codes. We go to a state, call a conference, connect up with industry CEOs, invite the officials and together decide how building laws can be amended. We have succeeded in one state-Orissa. Now our approach is to target the municipal corporations and work with them. The other thing we have decided is that we are going to take up some iconic buildings and make them more energy-efficient. We have done a pilot in Rashtrapati Bhavan and it has resulted in energy savings of around 20 percent.

Today, when commercial space is being marketed, companies, specially IT-BPO organizations, who are major buyers of real estate, ask questions about the cost of maintenance. We have told realtors that conducting energy efficient buildings will help them market them better.

What is the role that ICT can play in improving energy efficiency?

ICT can play a very important role in improving energy efficiency. For example, in order to realize energy savings, companies should add sensors, such as light sensors and movement sensors (where lights go off when people leave the room). Next, the sensors need to communicate, for which a communication module is required. Plus, a centralized save is required somewhere, where this data has to be fed. That is where IT software comes in. Take the instance of street lighting. For intelligent street lighting, logic based controllers are needed, which are an element of ICT. Every piece of equipment today, has ICT in it.

Also, ICT can play a big role in power plant operations and maintenance. When there is better load management, the losses come down in the distribution grid. If the plant sizing and process controls are good, then the thermal efficiency of the power plant goes up.

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