By way of the largest 'Clean Development Mechanism' ever, India plans to replace 400 million incandescent lamps with compact fluorescent lamps, saving 6000 MW annually.
Incandescent bulbs are highly energy-intensive and are widely used in India as they are easily available and are very cheap. Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), on the other hand, are energy efficient but costly. Cost is one of the main factors restricting the proliferation of CFLs in India.
The Indian government will work in collaboration with power distribution companies and private investors to implement this scheme which is being called the Bachat Lamp Yojna. Under this scheme, the distribution companies will pick private investors to buy CFLs at the market price. As the less-efficient incandescent lamps are replaced by CFLs and reduction in carbon emissions are realized, the private investors can then receive the emission reduction certificates through a Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). The investors can then sell these certificates to companies in the developed countries which fail to meet their emission targets.
According to official estimates, the investors would be able to break even within five to six years and can then make healthy profits. The current market price of a CFL is INR 100 ($2.22) while consumers can buy them at a price of INR 15 ($0.33) that means a subsidy of INR 34 billion (more than $758 million).
The Bachat Lamp Yojana is a part of India's National Action Plan on Climate Change which, among other objectives, aims at improving energy efficiency and reducing carbon emissions per capita GDP. India announced its plans to reduce carbon intensity by 20 to 25 percent by 2020.
The most commonly used incandescent lamps are of 100 W rating and cost around INR 10 to 13. Assuming that the 400 million incandescent lamps are of 60 W lets calculate the energy savings when they are replaced by 15 W CFLs:
Annual consumption by incandescents (8hrs/day) = 70 million MWh
Energy consumption annually = 70 million MWh/ 8760 = 7990 MW
Annual electricity consumption by CFLs (8hrs/day) = 17.5 million MWh
Energy consumption annually = 17.5 million MWh/ 8760 = 1997 MW
Energy savings = 6000 MW or 0.05% of India's total energy demand.
Since about 70 percent of the electricity in India is generated by coal-fired power plants, 6000 MW of savings means about 4200 MW of coal-powered generation prevented. The Indian government believes that if everything goes as planned, this massive incandescent replacement program will bring significant reduction in carbon emissions from the power sector, helping achieve country-wide carbon intensity targets.
The views presented in the above article are author’s personal views and do not represent those of TERI/TERI University where the author is currently pursuing a Master’s degree.