India is currently facing huge electricity shortage with demand growth consistently outstripping the supply growth. The electricity demand supply gap in India has increased from 48,000 MU (Million Units) to 84,000 MU during last 8 years in spite of the electricity generation increasing by 50% during the period. The supply growth has, however, been lower than the Government Targets (No surprises here 😦 ).
Our main sources of electricity generation are Coal based and Hydro-electric plants with both together accounting for over 80% of the electricity generation. With the inability of Coal India in increasing the coal output and dependence of coal plants on the sole supplier; the generation outlook for these plants remain uncertain and may not be amenable to significant growth. Hydro-electric plants on their own part face significant resistance from the local communities due to Government’s apathy for the displaced population. The generation capacity outlook from traditional sources, therefore, remains muted and we need to focus on renewable sources including solar and wind energy.
Where do we use electricity?
The electricity demand has grown across all the sectors including domestic, industrial and agricultural with the economy growing at a strong pace of around 8% per annum during last decade. The demand from domestic sector has increased at the fastest pace with the increased electrification across India and higher penetration of consumer durables including power guzzling air conditioners and refrigerators.
Where can we make a difference?
We need to reduce our electricity usage to deal with the power shortage in our country; however, we need to first know the current usage patterns to effectively target the key areas. We as individuals have little power to impact the demand patterns in industrial, agricultural and Transport sector as these are majorly impacted by the Government policies and economic conditions.
We, however, have the ability to reduce demand in both residential and commercial settings. In the residential setting, around 60% power is used in lighting and fans while 20% is used in refrigeration and Air Conditioning.
Commercial: The space conditioning accounts for 32% of the electricity usage while lighting for a whopping 60%. This is kind of counter intuitive as I always thought that it will be just the reverse.
How to save electricity?
- Lighting accounts for 28% usage: Here we have a huge scope for saving electricity through replacing bulbs and tube light with CFLs – this has a potential of reducing the usage by 75%.
- Fans and lighting account for 60% usage – We should make it a point that we switch off lights and fans when not in use.
- Electricity needs for space cooling could be reduced by using air coolers in non-humid conditions instead of air conditioners.
- Air Conditioners should be set at a comfortable temperature of around 25 degrees to save electricity.
- Electronics appliances should not be left in sleep mode as some of these consume significant power while on standby mode.
- With lighting accounting for majority of the electricity usage in commercial settings; I think, we can take cue from the European countries which work with the sun (work starts with sunrise and stops at sunset) and alter our work timings which is going to save us a lot of electricity especially in lighting.
- Air conditioning temperature should not be set too low in summers and too high in winters.
These are just a few preliminary ideas on how to save electricity. I am here inviting everyone to kindly contribute so that we come up with a high quality list of 10 Things to do to save Electricity.
Lets share to make our country better!!!!