Readers of this newsletter are used to following the annual state energy efficiency rankings published by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. Now the organization's sister group in India has done the same for that nation's states as well as its National Capital Territory of Delhi.
(What, you don't know how many states that is? Wanna guess? All right, we'll tell you: 29.)
India's Alliance for an Energy Efficient Economy (AEEE), under the guidance and leadership of India's Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) and NITI Aayog, on August 1 released the State Energy Efficiency (EE) Preparedness Index, comprising 63 indicators to assess energy efficiency initiatives, programs and outcomes in five sectors: Buildings, Industry, Municipalities, Transport, Agriculture, and Distribution Companies (DISCOMs). Based on their efforts and achievements, states have been classified as Front runners, Achievers, Contenders and Aspirants.
"India has one of the world's fastest growing economies," noted a recent blog by ACEEE Executive Director Steve Nadel. "This growth makes energy efficiency necessary for balancing energy demand and supply, keeping power system capital requirements affordable, and expanding electricity access to all villages. In ACEEE's recent International Energy Efficiency Scorecard, India ranked 15th out of 25 major economies, indicating substantial room for improvement."
The five states earning front-runner status include Kerala (on the southwest coast), Rajasthan (home of Jaipur), Andhra Pradesh (south-central India, just south of Hyderabad), Maharashtra (home of Mumbai), and Punjab (in the north bordering Pakistan).
According to ACEEE, the new index is part of a multi-year collaboration that includes a biennial energy efficiency conference called INSPIRE, work on managing India's sharply rising cooling demand in a sustainable fashion, and work on super-efficient appliances for India. Meanwhile, other national state scorecards are in the works with Canada, Australia, China and Japan.
But wait: What, exactly, is a NITI Aayog? A Star Wars creature?
No, it's the National Institution for Transforming India, chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi himself. It was created in 2015 to replace the nation's planning commission, first formed in 1950 and in need of an overhaul itself.
According to NITI statistics, the nation as a whole in 2016 generated more than 1.1 million megawatt-hours of power, led by more than 117,000 MWh in automotive-industry leader Maharashtra. The scary part is the statistics on transmission and distribution losses (nearly all attributable to theft of power), with some states claiming more than one-third of their power generation lost. Most percentages are in the teens, whereas the global average has dropped steadily since 2000 and hovers around 8 percent and the U.S. average is around 5 percent (mostly lost in power lines and transformer equipment).
As the AEEE report notes, "In DISCOMs [power distribution companies], the Transmission and Distribution (T&D) losses are still high in most states leading to enormous energy leakages, with only three states having T&D losses below 15 percent. Across all sectors, energy intensity and energy savings data are not properly tracked, owing primarily to non-existent data reporting frameworks and lack of mandates."
Even as new energy-efficient technologies and policies are brought to bear on everything from light bulbs to industrial operations in India, recovering that lost power may be the most efficient measure of all.