Demand for Energy

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Gopala Krishnan K, Malathy Duraisamy, L S Ganesh

Industrial Engineering and Management Division, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, Chennai 600 036, INDIA

DEMAND FOR ENERGY....................
This study attempts to understand the dynamics of energy use in the urban residential sector. For this purpose, a household survey was conducted in Chennai, a major metropolitan city in South India. The results of the survey reveal that there is tremendous scope for increasing the efficiency of energy usage and conservation in the urban residential sector. In this context, the role of Renewable Energy Technologies (RETs) in promoting energy efficiency and conservation in urban households is discussed. To demonstrate the scope of RETs, end-use technologies used and energy consumed for water heating purposes in households in Chennai are analyzed and the potential for use of solar water heaters is discussed.

The demand for energy (especially electricity) is increasing in the residential sector in India. For instance, the share of the residential sector in the total electricity consumption in India has increased from 8.8% in the year 1970-71 to 19.8% in the year 1996-97 (Economic Survey 1998-99). This is mainly because of increasing urbanization, rising per capita incomes, and changing lifestyles of the consumers. These factors have led to an increase in the usage of electrical appliances for different end-uses in the residential sector. The urban areas, especially the metropolitan cities in India provide evidence to this trend. Moreover, the irrational pricing policies of the utilities have resulted in heavy subsidies to the domestic sector. For instance, in 1997-98, the combined subsidy provided to domestic and agriculture consumers amounted to Rs.24,257 crores and it is projected to go up to Rs.31,205 crores in 1999-2000 (Economic Survey, 1998-99).

Coates (1999) argues that households are among the greatest wasters of energy and that we already know we can have the same comfort and standard of living as we have today in the same kinds of homes using only 10-30 percent as much energy as we now do. Energy efficiency programs in the domestic and commercial sectors offer the largest rewards to the utilities. This is due to the low electricity rates and the pattern of energy consumption by these groups which is concentrated at peak hours (Parikh et al., 1997). Thus, there is considerable scope for improving the efficiency of energy use and promoting energy conservation in the urban households in India.

Against this background, a household survey was done in Chennai, to understand the way consumers use energy for different end-uses (like cooking, water heating, room comfort, etc.) in their homes. In this paper, the energy used for the end-use water heating is analyzed. The end-use technologies (energy carrier and end-use equipments) used, their penetration levels, the extent and pattern of use and the criteria consumers use to choose a particular end-use technology for water heating purposes are presented in the following sections. Finally, the scope for solar water heaters in promoting energy efficiency and conservation in the households in Chennai is discussed.

A questionnaire-based household survey was conducted in order to understand the dynamics of energy use in households. About 300 household consumers were interviewed in Chennai, a metropolitan city in the state of Tamil Nadu (South India). Income is one of the major determinants of energy use in households (Reddy, 1995). Hence, the households were segmented according to their monthly income and a total of six income categories were formed as given below:

Income Category (IC) 1: monthly income upto Indian Rs.5000, IC2: Rs.5000 to Rs.10,000,...
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