Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) was established in 2009 as a joint venture of four central power sector undertakings – NTPC, the Power Finance Corporation, the Rural Electrification Corporation and Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (Powergrid) – to facilitate the implementation of energy efficiency-related projects in the country. EESL works closely with the Bureau of Energy Efficiency and is leading the market-related activities of the National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency.
One of the youngest corporate entities under the Ministry of Power, EESL, which was till now best known for successfully implementing flagship government schemes such as Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All (UJALA) and the Street Light National Programme, is now entering a new phase of growth through the diversification of its activities. The company has forayed into the solar space with the launch of multiple projects and is also spearheading the government’s National Electric Mobility Mission that seeks to have 400,000 electric vehicles (EVs) across the country by 2020.
EESL is the implementing agency for the Atal Jyoti Yojana (AJAY), a sub-scheme under the off-grid and decentralised solar application programme of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE). AJAY seeks to install solar street lights in Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh where household grid connectivity is less than 50 per cent as per the 2011 census. The total cost of the scheme is Rs 4.99 billion and it is expected to be completed by end-March 2018. Besides AJAY, EESL is also implementing the MNRE’s Solar Study Lamp Scheme for School Going Child scheme in these five states in partnership with the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay. The scheme entails distribution of 7 million solar study lamps to schoolgoing children by December 2018. While EESL is responsible for tendering and procurement of the material, IIT Bombay is the overall executing body for the programme. According to S.P. Garnaik, chief general manager (technical), EESL, the scheme works on a co-financing model, where out of the total cost of a solar lamp of around Rs 600, Rs 500 is paid by the government while Rs 100 is paid by the beneficiary.
Further, under the solar agricultural demand-side management programme, EESL is providing solar energy-based minigrid solutions to farmers to power their agricultural pump sets, which otherwise draw power through the main electricity grid or diesel generators. The programme is expected to help farmers receive considerable revenue on a monthly basis by selling the excess power to the grid for a period of 25 years. Meanwhile, the company has also received requests for installing solar rooftop systems on buildings and is right now analysing the feasibility of the same.
EESL has recently invited global bids for 10,000 EVs, running up to 150 km on single charge, for use by government departments. The company plans to buy these vehicles in two phases. In the first phase, it plans to acquire 1,000 vehicles, which will be used exclusively by government departments in Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR). EESL has also floated tenders for 3,000 AC charging points and 1,000 DC ones. Around 400 chargers will be provided in the first phase at different locations in Delhi and NCR.
In July 2017, EESL issued a tender for the procurement of 5 million smart meters for the implementation of smart grid projects in Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. Installation of these smart meters along with their associated communication and IT infrastructure will enable discoms in these states to obtain real-time energy consumption data of each consumer for subsequent analysis and undertake various other initiatives such as time-of-day/time-of-use billing, prediction and management of peak demand, providing real-time energy consumption data to consumers, prepaid billing facility, and remote connection and disconnection of load. EESL will make the entire upfront investment towards the installation of these smart meters as well as maintain the whole infrastructure for the next 10 years. It expects to recover its investment from the savings accruing to discoms in subsequent years.
Key challenges and future plans
According to Garnaik, the major challenge that the company faces in most of its programmes is the supply-demand mismatch. At some places, while manufacturers are ready to supply the product, there is a lack of demand from consumers. Another challenge is the lack of a pan-Indian implementation chain, which is necessary given the scale of EESL’s schemes. The company also needs to put in place mechanisms to address quality-related complaints likely to arise as the programmes mature.
Despite these challenges, EESL has set a target of doubling its turnover every year for the next five years. Going forward, it is looking to move away from launching schemes targeted only at the consumer and government sectors to expanding its offerings for commercial entities as well.