Prayas (Energy Group) and Centre for Policy Research (CPR) jointly organized a roundtable in Delhi on 1st August, 2018 on India’s Residential Electricity Consumption.
Electricity consumption in Indian homes has tripled since 2000, and now contributes to about a quarter of the total electricity consumption. However, electrified Indian households, on an average, still consume less than a third of the world average. Rapid electrification, increasing incomes, and technology development are to result in increased appliance ownership and electricity use, which has implications for energy efficiency policies, generation capacity, planning, climate change and environmental pollution. Research on India's residential electricity consumption has been limited till date -- however, this is now changing.
Millions of households in India still use solid fuels for cooking today. This is an important energy access, health and environmental problem as household air pollution caused by burning solid fuels for cooking is a major source of mortality and morbidity as well as outdoor air pollution in India. There is also a gender dimension to this as it is primarily women who cook and fetch solid fuels. At the same time, multiple clean fuel-technologies have the potential to address this challenge. Given this multi-dimensional, multi-fuel nature of the problem, there is a need to involve different stakeholders from relevant sectors to accelerate the transition to clean fuel-technologies through targeted policy. It is in this context that a roundtable discussion was organized by Prayas (Energy Group), Prayas (Health Group) and the Collaborative Clean Air Policy Centre (CCAPC) to deliberate on the institutional architecture of a mission for clean cooking energy called "Clean Cooking Mission: A way to transition to completely smoke-free kitchens" on June 20, 2018 in New Delhi.
The roundtable began with background presentations by Prayas and CCAPC, which were followed by a discussion among the participants on selected questions. It was attended by representatives from the government, academia, think tanks and practitioners covering the energy, health, environment and gender aspects of the problem.
Prayas (Energy Group) convened a two day experience sharing workshop involving more than 40 civil society actors from 14 states. Decades after the reform process the sector continues to be a in a state of flux with several technological and structural changes adding to the complexity, challenges and uncertainty. Addressing this emerging scenario requires agile, forward looking and innovative approaches by all stakeholders including DISCOMs, Regulatory Commissions and Consumers. In this context, the objective of the workshop was to improve the understanding and engagement of civil society groups in the state electricity sectors through experience sharing.
Through state-level presentations and discussions on key issues such as power procurement, supply and service quality, rural electrification, regulatory governance and ensuring effective consumer participation the participants deliberated key aspects of the emerging scenario and discussed approaches for a way forward.
During the proceedings of the workshop each participant gained more ideas for continuing engagement with the sector in their own areas of work with an informal network for support.
This workshop is expected to be a first step of such interactions, and more such events will be organised over a period of time.
The Government of India has announced a target of 175 GW (100 GW of solar, 60 GW of wind) of renewable power in the country by 2022. Considering this target, the penetration of renewables may reach as high as 33% in terms of capacity and 21% in terms of generation. Operating the grid efficiently, economically and securely with high penetration of intermittent wind and solar generation, especially with concentrated deployment in few states can be additionally challenging.
One of the important steps that the regulatory set-up has been working on is the introduction of forecasting, scheduling and deviation settlement mechanisms for wind and solar generators. While this is an important first step, as the share of RE increases it will crucial to understand its implications on various sectoral stakeholders.
In this context, Prayas (Energy Group) organised a roundtable discussion to deliberate on the various specific challenges around forecasting, scheduling and deviation settlement regulations for renewables and broader RE grid integration aspects. The discussion was carried out under Chathan House rules to enable frank and open discussions. The objective was to understand the different perspectives of various stakeholders (ERCs, Generators, DISCOMs, LDCs, etc.). Our hope was that these deliberations would constructively inform policy and regulatory officials as they work on the important task of framing rules around renewable energy grid integration. The roundtable was attended by 36 people representing a strong diversity of stakeholders including SERCs, DISCOMs, SLDCs, Wind/Solar developers, Consulting, Thermal Generators, Transmission Utilities, Academia, Power Exchanges, Consumer representatives and Forecasting and Scheduling service providers.
The full-day event "Reflections on contemporary issues in the electricity sector" consisted of three sessions, with each session focusing on one recent publication from Prayas. The event was well attended with each session having between 20 and 30 participants from across a wide spectrum consisting of regulators, senior bureaucrats, utility representatives, trade union representatives, civil society organisations, consultants, energy and environment researchers and think tanks.
In the first session, PEG presented its report Price of plenty analysing the "surplus" power situation in the country, its causes, implications and possible solutions. The report presentation was followed by remarks from Mr. Anish De (KPMG) as a discussant. This was followed by a robust discussion among participants sharing their perspectives on the topic.
In the second session, discussion revolved around the PEG report In the name of competition which analyses the saga of retail electricity competition in Mumbai. The analysis looks at the history of evolution of retail competition in Mumbai, the roles of various players involved and lessons for future reforms in this direction. Daljit Singh (independent researcher) and Geeta Gouri (former Member, Competition Commission of India) shared their views as discussants, following which participants shared and discussed their ideas on this issue.
The last session was based on a recent book published by PEG reviewing India's electricity sector reforms over the last 25 years. PEG made a presentation on the book titled Many sparks but little light which covers thermal, hydro and renewable generation, electricity distribution and associated fuel sectors of coal and gas. After PEG presented the motivation for the book and its major conclusions, Srinivasa Murthy (former Chair, Karnataka ERC) and Mahesh Rangarajan (Professor, Ashoka University) complimented PEG for publishing the book and shared their thoughts on it. Participants in the session also shared their views on the book as well as the future of the sector.