We are working on boosting rural power supply through DBT and solar power: Rajat Sud, MD, EESL

We are working to overcome the existing barriers for the implementation of energy efficiency in MSMEs

New Delhi: Energy Efficiency Services Ltd (EESL), under the aegis of the power ministry, is known for its disrupting business models that address the issue of electricity access and efficiency. The company is working on key projects aimed at improving rural electricity supply using DBT and solar power, apart from boosting the efficiency of MSMEs, Rajat Sud, Managing Director, EESL tells ETEnergyworld in an exclusive interview. Edited excerpts..


What will be the top highlights of 2021-22 for EESL from a growth point of view?

Our main focus at present is to improve indoor air quality, thermal comfort, and energy efficiency in air conditioning systems in complex buildings through our Retrofit of Air-conditioning to improve Indoor Air Quality for Safety and Efficiency (RAISE) program. We are looking to partner with operators of public spaces like hospitals, malls, airports, and offices, and we are in discussions with the Centre to run projects in some of the government-run hospitals in Delhi.

We are working to overcome the existing barriers for implementation of energy efficiency in MSMEs. We are executing the “Promoting market transformation for energy efficiency in Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises” initiative of UNIDO and office of the DC MSME, which aims to create and sustain a revolving fund mechanism to ensure replication of energy efficiency measures in selected industrial clusters. We are working closely with Small Industrial Development Bank of India (SIDBI) and Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) for this project.

Another interesting upcoming project is to address Rural Electricity Supply challenges through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) and Solar Power. The framework would result in reduction of the subsidy burden, accountability for use through a transparent and inclusive model by enabling subsidy disbursement and allow the user to make investment in energy efficiency equipment. Government seeks to leverage the DBT model where subsidy will be transferred directly to end consumer (farmer) by amending the Electricity Act 2003. EESL intends to make this operational by investing in a prepaid smart meter for delivery of the subsidy directly to the users. The model will offer direct benefits to the farmer by leveraging solar to implement consumption-based DBT. This model can be further linked to the PM KUSUM scheme and will help in mitigating various political, social, and economic risks.

EESL has also set up a Green Coal Division with a plan to mobilize biomass pellets supply chain as part of its novel Clean Energy initiative. We are planning to aggregate demand from the clients (industrial users like thermal plants, cement and steel industries) as well as supplies of biomass-pellets from the suppliers and ensure full logistical support from end to end basis. EESL intend to acts as a channel to bridge the gap between small manufacturers and large industrial units and provide bio-

mass pellets at lower rates. EESL plans to initiate the program with a scale of 1000 TPD of biomass pellets.

How would you react to the provisions of Union Budget 2021-22? Would it help in boosting growth in the business segments EESL is present in?

It is heartening to see the Finance Minister present such a balanced budget. Due to the pandemic, there was a need to restructure and reform the economy. The government has rightly prioritized healthcare expenditure in this Budget with an outlay of Rs 223,846 crore for the year 2021-22. It also focuses strongly on other key sectors like agriculture, taxation, infrastructure, energy, health & sanitation, and education. The Budget has also extended much-needed support to MSMEs and start-ups. Coming on the back of the Atmanirbhar Bharat, which is already helping the economy move upward, the measures announced in the Budget will speed up economic recovery and growth. The announcement of a framework to give power consumers options to choose their DISCOM is a welcome step. I offer my heartiest good wishes to the Finance Minister and to the government, and I assure them of our support, as may be required.


From the power industry's perspective, what according to you were the top initiatives announced in this year's budget?


The budget has laid major emphasis on the revival of DISCOMs and the resolution of stressed assets. The government has also reiterated its commitment to the growth of the renewables sector and to ensuring clean air and environment. Rs 3.05 trillion electricity distribution reform program will help reduce losses and improve the efficiency of electricity distribution companies. To boost the non-conventional energy sector, Rs 1,000 crore allocated to Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) and Rs 1,500 crore to the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA).


In line with the Prime Minister’s vision for renewable energy, there are big plans for renewable energy deployment in coming years. We were expecting special emphasis on the power sector, and we are glad that the government is introducing a Rs 305,984 crore (USD 42 billion) reforms-based, result-linked power distribution sector scheme to improve the viability of DISCOMs.

Going forward, I see few major trends that are converging to produce game-changing disruptions. This includes decarbonization of major sectors such as transport and heating, through electrification. EVs, vehicle-to-grid or home, smart charging, and heat pumps will be some of the key technologies. Decentralization is also a major trend, spurred by the sharp decrease in costs of distributed energy resources like distributed storage, distributed generation, demand flexibility, and energy efficiency. Apart from that, digitalization of the grid through smart metering, smart sensors, and automation, and digitalization beyond the grid with the Internet of Things (IoT) and connected devices are other major trends to watch out for.

Source: ETEnergyWorld

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