Agriculture uses about 18 per cent of the electricity consumed in India. This means that to tackle energy security, to implement India’s climate commitments, as well as to ensure food security and deal with water challenges, India must consider energy efficiency in irrigation. Hence, the European Union (EU) has brought policy and financial experts as well as European Business to India offering concrete solutions in this regard, said Tomasz Kozlowski, Ambassador, European Union Delegation to India.
While delivering his keynote address at a workshop on ‘Agricultural Demand Side Management (AgDSM)-Adopting Technologies to Boost Efficiencies’, the first in the series, organised by FICCI and European Commission, Kozlowski said that the partnership between India and the EU will facilitate policy dialogue, will bring best practices, business solutions and joint research and innovation and will look at financing models for clean energy and climate change.
In terms of finance, he said that the European Investment Bank has already provided loans for more than Euro 1.2 billion to support implementation of energy and climate related projects in India. Speaking about technologies and solutions, Kozlowski added that the EU was closely involved in developing offshore wind, solar parks and energy efficiency in India.
Addressing the Indian and European delegates, BP Pandey, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Power & Director General, Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE), said that there are about 20.27 million electrified pumpsets installed in agriculture sector. Further, due to the increasing demand for water to meet the agricultural needs, about 0.25 to 0.5 million new pumpsets are being added annually, therefore by adoption of high efficiency pumps about 25-30 per cent energy can be saved. He added that the industry had sufficient pumpsets to supply but there was a need to work out a feasible finance models for adoption of these pumpsets.
Speaking about the initiatives to achieve energy efficiency in various sectors, Pandey said that government’s Perform-Achieve-Trade (PAT) scheme is a market-based mechanism launched in 2008 under India’s national climate change action plan, and is designed to increase the energy efficiency of the most energy-intensive sectors. The first phase of PAT was completed in March 2015 and the second phase began with the inclusion of three industrial sectors, of which two are railways and utilities. Similarly, the Labeling Program is providing the consumer an informed choice about energy saving, and thereby it is enabling cost saving of the marketed household and other equipment. He added that the government was promoting use of energy efficiency equipment such as LEDs as well.
Speaking about the opportunities, Nitin Zamre, Managing Director, ICF International India said that AgDSM is a recognised intervention area by every DISCOM and both EE and RE options are available for agricultural pumps. Also there star rated pumps available in India and there is increased awareness among farmers and pump manufacturers about it. He added that India was getting international support and co-operation as well to fulfil its commitment to INDC(Intended Nationally Determined Contributions) goals.
Pointing out the challenges, Zamre said that there was a lack of effective Centre-State coordination for policy push and demand-supply gap of star rated pumps. Also, concentration of agriculture pump manufacturers was in limited locations and the high initial cost of EE pumps becomes a deterrent. He added that there was a need to make international technology easily accessible and mindset change towards transition to EE technology was also needed.
Henriette Faergemann, Counsellor (Environment, Energy & Climate Change), Delegation of the European Union to India, said that there are cost issues involved with the implementation of energy efficiency technology in agriculture but in the long term adoption of such technology would prove to be beneficial for green growth. She added that the EU had an incredible GDP growth with reduced emission by adopting energy efficient technologies and India too could attain the same by using energy efficient equipment.
Dr. A Didar Singh, Secretary General, FICCI, said that by bringing together stakeholders from the EU and India, the workshop focused on promoting cooperation between the two sides in the area of AgDSM, one of the biggest focus areas for Indian policymakers in the DSM space. The workshop is a stepping stone to build a framework for implementation of efficient pumping technology and best practices in Indian agricultural sector in cooperation with European partners.