Buildings account for 33 percent of the total electricity consumption in India. An estimated 70 percent (~700-900 million sqm of urban space annually) of the buildings stock required for 2030 is yet to be built. The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s International Energy Outlook 2017 (IEA 2017) projects that the electricity share of India’s total commercial energy consumption will continue increasing, from 59% in 2015 to 65% in 2040, displacing some coal consumption. IEA 2017 also projects the residential electricity consumption to increase twice as fast as total residential sector energy use from 2015 to 2040. Electricity’s share would rise from 46% of the energy delivered to India’s residences in 2015 to 68% in 2040. Rapid economic growth, rising income, growing population, and urbanization are the contributing factors for the growth of India’s buildings energy consumption; resulting in increasing dependence on imported fuel, contribute to higher greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and strain the country’s fossil fuel dependent infrastructure. Countries across the globe are working on two fronts:
- Embracing net-zero or near-zero goals as they seek to diminish the energy footprint and carbon emissions of their building stock. Zero strategies typically emphasize taking a systems approach to reduce the overall impact of the resource use cycle i.e. water, energy, material, transport, and waste footprint. However, since intensive energy use is seen as a primary driver for climate change today; net-zero “energy” or “carbon” targets are being prioritized.
- Transitioning to a decarbonized, decentralized, and digitized grid of the future. This includes revising renewable energy targets to shift the country’s energy mix. A renewable energy prioritized energy mix brings flexibility in the grid. Countries globally are now developing and testing unique business models that cater to the flexibility offered by grid services; including those offered by buildings.
So far, building energy demand and grid services have been distinct discussions, with the only overlapping interface being that of renewable energy. Countries globally are now realizing that buildings are an important last mile connection to the grid of the future, and demand flexibility offered by buildings and equipment is an opportunity untapped. “Zero-In” is a platform that expands the discussion from a singular “Net Zero” building to “High performing, smart, connected and flexible” developments which have a lower environmental impact.
Zero Energy Buildings in India and Journey so far
In India, it is essential that net-zero goals must be accompanied by robust energy efficiency measures that include a sound climatically responsive passive approach to design, low-energy comfort systems, daylighting and lighting controls, efficient equipment and systems, a design approach that embraces adaptive thermal comfort standards and most importantly user acceptance and behavior modification towards a sufficiency based lifestyle. While implementing minimum energy performance standards for buildings will contribute towards checking the increasing energy demand, net-zero goals are also needed for our future energy security. Additionally, net-zero goals require benchmarking performance, supportive renewable energy policies, demand response ready equipment and a comprehensive smart grid program.
The first Net Zero Energy Buildings (NZEB) International Seminar organized in 2013, in India; witnessed international experts from US, EU and Asia and national experts converging to assess barriers to large scale adoption of NZEBs in India and tested solutions that can be replicated in India with contextual modifications. A NZEB Knowledge Portal was also launched with program partners BEE and a NZEB Alliance was started with active participation from industry experts. Most importantly, NZEB performance indicators were integrated in the updated Energy Conservation Building Code 2017. This was a crucial achievement as it has anchored NZEBs in the foremost building energy efficiency policy framework in India. BEE is continuously working towards promotion of NZEB. As a part of India’s NDC, the National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency (NMEEE) aims to strengthen the market for energy efficiency by creating a conducive regulatory and policy regime. It seeks to upscale the efforts to unlock the market for energy efficiency and Net Zero.
Smart Grid Development & Grid Modernization in India
The Indian Power Ministry released Smart Grid Vision and Road map for India on Sept. 10, 2013. The Road map was drafted by the India Smart Grid Task Force with the assistance of India Smart Grid Forum, and spreads over the 12 , 13 and 14 five-year plan periods from 2012 to 2027. The vision behind the road map is to transform the Indian power system into a secure, adaptive, sustainable and digitally enabled eco- system that provides reliable and quality energy for all with active participation of stakeholders.
In 2013, the Indian Power Ministry released Smart Grid Vision and Roadmap for India; drafted by the India Smart Grid Task Force with the assistance of India Smart Grid Forum. The vision is to create a secure, adaptive, sustainable, and digitally enabled ecosystem that provides reliable and quality energy for all. The 14th Plan (2022-27) focused on development of smart cities, increasing installation of rooftop solar generation capacity, enhanced renewable energy integration, increasing electrical vehicle penetration, smart meter roll-out and choice to consumers on selection of electricity suppliers. The recent six months have also seen the emergence of real time energy markets, new tariff policies and draft rights of electricity consumers. A definition of a “prosumer” has now been included in the power policies; thereby enabling an environment for demand flexibility.