Energy inefficiency can short circuit cooling India
GS 3- Infrastructure: Energy
Context: In the given article the writer talks about the rising temperature and it’s impact. She also talks about the mitigation strategies.
What’s the matter?
More frequent and intense heat waves are expected with a rise in global temperatures due to climate change. In the last three decades, there have been 660 heat waves across India causing 12,273 deaths.
The India Cooling Action Plan projects the number of room air conditioners to become about four times in the next 10 years, making India the world’s largest energy user for cooling.
Despite its clear importance, the implications of an increase in residential cooling demand have not been carefully examined.
Estimates of AC ownership and usage, the two factors which will determine the extent of future cooling demand, have little empirical backing.
The pursuit of energy efficiency, too — for instance, who buys efficient technologies and why — remains underexplored.
Delhi survey results
In a recently published paper in the Environmental Research Letters, household cooling patterns, and unpack household characteristics are leading to increased use of air conditioners and adoption of energy efficient choices.
We find that the desired levels of cooling vary greatly even among relatively homogenous communities.
India Cooling Action Plan in its estimation of residential cooling demand, assumes that an average household uses an AC for eight hours a day, which as per our study seems to be an upper bound.
Wide range of preferred AC temperatures have important implications on energy demand requirements, as every 1°C increase in AC set-point temperature can lead to additional 6% energy savings.
Energy efficiency does not feature as a priority in the purchase of cooling appliances.
Large-scale adoption of efficient cooling appliances will be essential to providing the required thermal comfort in a low carbon manner.
We find that low levels of energy efficiency awareness are a major bottleneck that hinders the purchase of more efficient appliances.
Higher upfront cost and low market availability of more efficient air conditioners (four-star and five-star) are other reasons for buying a less efficient AC.
The impending cooling demand transition in India offers a potential advantage. Because a majority of investments in cooling technologies, infrastructure, and behaviours are yet to be made, there is a unique opportunity to lock-in energy efficient consumption patterns.
Awareness campaigns on the benefits of energy efficiency along with subsidies and financial incentives that help with the higher upfront costs can help drive up the adoption of more efficient technologies.
Encouraging the use of passive cooling alternatives including energy efficient building designs can help provide the desired thermal comfort with reduced dependence on energy intensive cooling technologies.
17th June, 2021 Mains Expected Questions
Q.1) What are the negative implications on the Indian Economy of Foriegn Portfolio Investment and the govt. initiatives to tackle it.