Demand for energy to meet the ever-growing requirements of the industrial sector would increase nearly threefold (2.84 times) by 2030. For the residential sector, on the other hand, the increase in energy use will be more than double (2.08 times).The prognostication has been made by the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Master Plan (EECMP) based on the energy use pattern for the year 2015. Put differently, such increase in energy use is going to take place within a span of a decade and a half.
However, with the passage of time, the demand for energy will see further upswings pushing for an escalation in power production. But that cannot be a sustainable option to resolve the issue of rising energy demand for the economy.
Evidently, the need to devise ways towards a more efficient and conservative use of power is now high on the government's agenda.
A closer scrutiny of the energy use in different sectors, especially, in the government-owned industries will reveal how inefficiently and wastefully power is being used there. The same is true of any other government establishments. It is basically due to the fact that outdated machinery is still in use there. Generally, such machines are energy-inefficient. And the users in such cases lack the technical knowledge of conserving and using energy efficiently.
It is against this backdrop that the Sustainable and Renewable Energy Development Authority (SREDA) recently carried out energy audit at some four industrial units under the Ministry of Industries. All the 12 public buildings of those industrial units that came under the energy audit were found to be excessively wasteful. Unfortunately, SREDA's findings speak poorly for the state of the country's energy security.
On this score, the GDP growth rate, an indicator pointing to if an economy would graduate to a higher income one, is critically dependent on the country's long-term energy security. Considering that at present 63 per cent of the country's power is generated from natural gas, the existing reserve which is depleting fast and may be exhausted in a decade's time, the issue of the nation's energy security needs to take centre stage.
In this context, the highly polluting coal and oil, despite their considerable share in present power generation regime, have to be gradually phased out and cannot be part of the country's sustainable energy use policy, far less its energy security.
However, the use of solar power (now contributing a mere 2.8 per cent), should get a high priority in the country's energy policy. That is because, in course of time, solar power is going to become a major player globally, let alone in the country's power sector.
As further pointed out in the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Master Plan (EECMP), in the base year of 2015, the industrial sector consumed 47.8 per cent of the power generated that year. Out of the amount, the textile and garment units' share was 30 per cent. However, as calculated by EECMP, this consumption figure would come down to 11.7 per cent once efficiency and conservation measures are adopted in those industrial units. This is about saving 39 per cent of power. EECMP believes, efficiency culture will produce similar results from every other sector.
In the present circumstances, what would be advisable is to make the best use of the power available in the country. As such, conservation and efficient use of energy should become the watchword for the country's energy security.