Report lists likely energy savings, cost-benefit analysis, sectors with most savings potential as well as drivers and barriers to ICT adoption.
Key highlights of the DESC Report include:
§ Identified ICT solutions can potentially lead to GHG emission savings of up to 450 million tonnes CO2 per annum in 2030, which is approximately 10% of estimated GHG emissions in 2030 for the sectors covered in the study. From the sectors studied, Commercial Buildings, Road Transport and Power Sector have the maximum saving potential of 42%, 30% and 16% respectively.
§ ICT solutions can potentially lead to energy cost savings of around INR137,000 crore per annum in 2030 – approximately 2.5% of India’s current GDP.
§ Of the 100 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emission reduction target of the Energy Efficiency mission by 2015, ICT adoption in buildings, transport and the nine sectors identified under PAT (Perform, Achieve and Trade) scheme could contribute about 31 million tonnes, i.e., approximately 30% of the 2015 target.
The Digital Energy Solutions Consortium India (DESC India) and CII-ITC Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Development today released a report titled, ICT’s Contribution to India’s National Action Plan on Climate Change. In June 2008, the Prime Minister had released the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC), outlining the nation’s strategy to manage greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. India has announced a goal of reducing the emissions intensity of its GDP by 20-25% by the year 2020 compared to 2005. The Planning Commission is also in the process of defining a low-carbon growth map for the country. The DESC Report explores potential GHG reduction opportunities via ICT (Information & Communication Technology) solutions in the focus sectors of the three mitigation-related missions of NAPCC – National Mission on Enhanced Energy Efficiency (NMEEE), National Mission on Sustainable Habitat (NMSH) and National Solar Mission (NSM).
While NMEEE and NMSH focus on reducing energy consumption and improving energy efficiency, NSM seeks to increase India’s solar energy generation. Based on these distinctions, the DESC Report quantifies the energy savings and GHG reduction potential via the use of ICT solutions. The energy savings potential and associated costs of ICT solutions have been determined for each sector, along with a cost-benefit analysis of implementing the same. To determine total GHG emission reduction, the Report explores two scenarios based upon moderate and high penetration of ICT solutions.
Commenting on the DESC Report, Hon’ble Minister of State for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh said: “I commend CII and DESC India’s initiative in releasing this Report on ICT’s potential to meet the objectives of India’s National Action Plan for Climate Change. Detailed guidelines, precise policy recommendations and pinpointing of specific drivers and barriers to ICT adoption in reducing carbon emissions make the DESC-CII Report a valuable policy-making tool. As a responsible carbon-conscious country, India is playing a proactive role in implementing Low Carbon Strategies for Inclusive Growth. The Government welcomes recommendations that could be considered for incorporation in the 12th Five Year Plan.”
At the DESC Report launch, Rahul Bedi, Chairman, DESC India said: “Till date, no report in India quantified the specific savings possible using ICT solutions. The DESC Report does precisely that, allowing industries to quantify their potential energy as well as monetary savings by adopting ICT-based solutions. The one-time high implementation costs will be amortized over a period of time, leading to a win-win solution for users as well as the nation. Users benefit via lower costs in the long run, while the nation benefits by moving closer to its carbon emission targets.”
Said Seema Arora, Principal Counsellor & Head, CII-ITC Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Development: “This Report emphasises the urgent need to embed ICT in mitigating climate change in India, and calls for specific policy interventions to facilitate such embedding. The Report also provides 2020 and 2030 CO2 reduction scenarios, specific ICT solutions, and policy levers that go beyond fiscal incentives.”
Said I Vijaya Kumar (IVK), Co-chair, DESC India: “Analyzing demand as well as supply-side barriers, the Report lists specific remedies to promote large-scale implementation of ICT-based technologies. The insights and policy recommendations could help the government and industry to develop a strategic roadmap in overcoming barriers to ICT adoption and using ICT for climate change mitigation.”
Barriers to ICT adoption cited in the Report include: high technology costs, inadequate energy benchmarks, weak regulatory norms on carbon emission standards, inadequate standardization, and low R&D support, among others. To overcome these hurdles, the Report recommends key actions while developing strategies for increased ICT adoption in the three missions. These include: creating a platform for green jobs, undertaking steps to develop ICT skills, rationalisation of direct and indirect taxes, funds allocation, encouraging R&D via institutional and financial support, and facilitating standardization, among others.
Although ICT-based solutions can play a key role in India’s transition to a high-energy efficiency, low-carbon emission economy, a conducive ecosystem for ICT adoption must first be developed. Targets for ICT solutions in key sectors should also be identified, such as Railways, Power Transmission and Iron & Steel. These three have more than 90% GHG emission savings potential in NMEEE mission sectors. Projected GHG emissions from NMEEE mission sectors would be about 1.55 billion tonnes CO2 in 2020 and 3.2 billion tonnes CO2e in 2030. The Report points out that coal-based power will be the biggest emitter, accounting for nearly 60% of these emissions.
The Report also recommends implementing Power Transmission in phase one of the mission and comprehensive inclusion of Railways – currently covered only in the non-traction segment (workshops and locomotive sheds). This is a crucial recommendation because energy consumed in traction (rail movement) is 87% of the total energy consumption of Railways. The Report mentions that 1.1 billion litres of diesel equivalent can be saved annually by implementing ICT measures in Railways in 2030. With lower diesel consumption, Railways could save Rs3,850 crore annually in 2030.
Additional highlights of the Report:
- The electricity saved by ICT adoption in the power sector in 2030 can help electrify more than 14,000 villages with an average population of 2,000-3,000.
- Implementation of ICT measures in the paper sector in 2030 can reduce emissions by an amount equivalent to that sequestered by 3 million trees.
- Savings achieved via video-conferencing and tele-commuting with moderate ICT penetration in 2030 can offset GHG emissions more than 70 times the current GHG emissions due to the annual air traffic between Delhi and Mumbai.
- At multi-location and disintegrated consumption points such as telecom towers, ATMs and retail outlets, Remote Management Systems (RMS) can deliver up to 10% energy savings and their faster implementation is recommended. For instance, assuming 300,000 telecom towers exist in India and each consumes 10 kW of power, the total electricity consumed is around 13,140 million kWh annually. With RMS, around 10% energy consumption can be reduced, leading to savings of 1,314 million kWh, equivalent to GHG emission reductions of more than 1 million tonnes CO2.
- The total cost of ICT usage in NMEEE mission sectors – considering moderate penetration of ICT solutions in 2020 and 2030 – is estimated at INR49,700 crore and INR156,100 crore. These investments correspond to cost savings of around INR7,300 crore p.a. and INR29,200 crore p.a. respectively. Similarly, ICT technologies in Transport, Buildings and Solid Waste Management sectors can lead to cost savings of INR26,300 crore in 2020 under the moderate scenario. This is approximately 0.5% of India’s GDP in financial year 2009-10.