India Aims to Extend LED Efficiency Program to Wider Asia Market

  • Expansion seen in seven Asian nations and to the U.K.
  • Efficiency program in India to include air conditioners

Workers pack LED lights on the production line of an LED fixture assembly manufacturing plant in Neemrana, Rajasthan, India, on Sept. 27, 2016.

Photographer: Udit Kulshrestha/Bloomberg

India, the world’s third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases, is aiming to extend its lighting efficiency program with the help of the World Bank to seven other Asian nations and to the U.K. while also applying it to other technologies at home.

Initial agreements have been signed with the governments of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, while discussions are underway with Nepal, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar and Thailand, according to Energy Efficiency Services Ltd., the state-backed company responsible for procuring and distributing power-saving appliances in India.

“We’re talking to utilities and municipal bodies in the U.K. to get an order, as we need scale to bring LED prices down like we have done in India,” EESL Managing Director Saurabh Kumar said in an interview in New Delhi, adding that he’s hopeful of implementing projects outside India in the next six months. “Our business model and procedures remain the same, while our officials posted to Colombo, Dhaka and Bangkok will begin work in February."

At home, India is looking to apply the same approach it used to expand the use of LED bulbs to higher energy-efficiency air-conditioners beginning in January. Under the LED model, payment for the bulb is made through power bill savings.

“Unlike other energy-efficiency initiatives, for instance the now-defunct GreenDeal in the U.K. which required an assessment of the property for potential energy savings, simply moving to LEDs is a sure way to save energy,” said Vandana Gombar, global policy editor at Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

World Bank

The World Bank sees an opportunity to support other countries in achieving more significant energy efficiency through a number of the models developed by EESL, said Simon Stolp, the lender’s lead energy specialist for South Asia.

“The bank is interested in supporting EESL in dialog with other countries due to the success of its own domestic energy-efficiency programs in India," Stolp said in an e-mail, adding that the bank has recently received a request for $300 million to support an expansion of EESL’s program in India.

The countries where the bank may cooperate with EESL have yet to be identified, Stolp said.

Lighting accounts for nearly six percent of global CO2 emissions, according to The Climate Group, a London-based global non-profit. A global switch to energy-efficient light emitting diode (LED) technology could save more than 1,400 million tons of CO2 and avoid construction of 1,250 power stations, it says on its website.

The LED market will total as much as $29.6 billion in 2016, rising to $33.1 billion the following year, TrendForce Corp., a market-intelligence provider, said in its 2017 global lighting outlook

Energy Savings

EESL aims to introduce air-conditioners with an energy efficiency ratio (EER) of 5.2, up from 3.2, which it will price at lower than 40,000 rupees ($590), Kumar said. Payment will be allowed in monthly installments.

To bring down costs, EESL is talking to several Indian banks to negotiate a bulk order to replace air conditioners and tube lights at ATMs across the country with energy-efficient products.

Electricity demand in India from air conditions could increase to 239 terrawatt-hours per year by 2030 from eight terrawatt-hours per year in 2010, translating to a peak demand contribution of about 143 gigawatts, according to a research paper from the California-based Ernest Orlando Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory titled Avoiding 100 New Power Plants by Increasing Efficiency of Room Air Conditioners in India: Opportunities and Challenges.

About 30 percent of urban households in India are likely to own a room air conditioner by 2020, expanding to about 73 percent by 2030, the paper estimates.

A broader adoption of energy-efficient air conditions could result by 2030 in reducing peak demand by 60 gigawatts or avoiding the construction of 120 coal-fired plants of 500 megawatts each, the paper showed.

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