10 Big Ideas for Making Energy Efficiency Bankable in India

By Oshani Perera, Shruti Sharma, Mariana Hug Silva, Tilmann Liebert, Carlos Dominguez on August 19, 2014

In a continent that is starved for energy and infrastructure, it is an enigma that India’s markets for energy efficiency have yet to take off. The authors of the report spent several months researching and debating this issue with stakeholders in India and around the world.

The case for energy efficiency is most certainly well documented. The crux of the problem, however, is that that politicians, policy-makers and financiers have yet to realize that energy efficiency is inexpensive and easily scalable when compared to the development of large-scale power plants. The Indian focus is very much on increasing energy generation rather than avoiding the use of energy in the first place. India needs to value each kilowatt hour (kWh) of energy saved on par with each unit of energy generated. And as such, the first policy choice in the path towards energy security and energy for all must be encouraging industry and consumers to use energy more efficiently. Moreover, decision-makers must realize that if energy is saved where it is easiest—across low-tariff and highly subsidized consumer segments—energy distribution companies (discoms) are able to offer the saved kilowatts (or negawatts) to higher tariff paying consumers.

In short, India’s energy deficit cannot be accomplished without due focus on energy efficiency; to that end, in this document, we present 10 big ideas to make this sector bankable. All of these ideas are practical and implementable in the immediate term. They do not require large executing budgets, but they do require technical expertise, political will and persistent follow up. These ideas are also multi-disciplinary—they provide solutions to prohibitive perceptions of risk in investing and financing energy efficiency, the lack of reliable base lines and poor policy incidence.

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IISD, 2014