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Shift societal focus to energy efficiency, demand side management

By Shankar Sharma*

Yet another report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) has tried to direct our focus on energy efficiency. Some associated statements of huge relevance to India on the topic are:
"The IEA said greater efficiency could be readily achieved with existing technologies and would pay back fully the investment through lower running costs, especially at today’s high energy prices. “Energy efficiency is a critical solution to so many of the world’s most urgent challenges. But inexplicably, government and business leaders are failing to sufficiently act on this."
“We don’t need to wait. We need action because the greenest energy is the energy we don’t use.”
"Energy efficiency advances have already had a huge effect on global emissions, with improvements since 2000 resulting in 8bn tonnes of CO2 emissions a year being avoided. This is close to the annual output of China, the world’s biggest polluter."
Some of us here, back home, including Late Prof. A K N Reddy of IISc, have been advocating for decades, vastly more focus on energy efficiency and demand side management to bridge the gap between demand and supply on a sustainable basis and without compromising on our environmental protection. But the focus and actual progress in this context in our country can be said to be abysmally poor, especially when we consider the enormous potential prevailing. The consequences are glaring to say the least; accelerated depletion of natural resources, skyrocketing energy prices, unreliable supplies, and the continued inequity to energy access to many sections of our society.
At a time when the calamitous impacts of climate change are already being felt by the poor and vulnerable sections of our society, it is high time that societal focus gets shifted to energy efficiency and demand side management.
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*Power & Climate Policy Analyst

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