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ENERCON – lighting up the economy

ENERCON – lighting up the economy

The National Energy Conservation Centre (ENERCON), housed under the auspices of the Ministry of Environment, is the national focal point for energy conservation/energy efficiency activities in all sectors of the economy: industry, agriculture, transport, building and domestic. Although it was established over two decades ago, ENERCON has recently been revived in light of the energy crisis the country has been undergoing, and has a focused agenda. MD ENERCON Faridullah Khan talks to Blue Chip about this agenda and other endeavours that ENERCON is involved in.

ENERCON was established in 1987. Can you please highlight the milestones it has achieved since then?
Faridullah Khan: “In the mid ’80s and early ’90s, Pakistan’s institutional mechanism for Energy Efficiency and Energy Conservation with the establishment of ENERCON as the official coordinating platform was the then-leading EE/EC program in Asia. However, due to the surplus electric power supply situation during that period, the focus on conservation and efficiency could not be sustained regretfully. Political commitment declined and ENERCON was reduced to a sterile entity. It was only in January 2008 when the energy crunch hit us badly that the government remembered ENERCON and was asked to evolve a suitable rescue package for EE and EC. Since then, ENERCON has laboured to obtain a number of policy directives from the very top. Foremost among these would be:
i) finalisation of the Pakistan Energy Conservation Act;
ii) formulation of the Building Energy Code;
iii) launch of energy audits for the industry and demonstration of the required tune-ups for different processes;
iv) promotion ESCOs for this market-based profit-sharing business to assist in survey audits and tune-ups;
v) setting in motion standardisation and labelling of domestic/electronic appliances;

vi) launch of RLF for the transport sector diagnostics and tune-up facilitation for private businesses.”

ENERCON has aggressively started campaigning for energy conservation and efficiency very recently. Shouldn’t this campaign have been put into action around 4-5 years ago?
FK: “Not just 4-5 years back, we should have sustained this campaign since the creation of ENERCON and additionally, developed a suitable fiscal/monitory direction to put the market-based culture of EE/EC into place. Such a culture should never be pegged to any periodic energy crunch as efficiency and conservation are the sine qua non of competitiveness and productivity – both on the supply and the demand side.”

What kind of support is ENERCON receiving from the government?
FK: “We hope to evolve into an entity to be reckoned with once our Act and Building Code etc. are fully in place and implementation is started. ENERCON is also supposed to be a catalysing platform for all private and public sector energy consumers and activities, and would obviously seek capacity enhancement for itself so that the ever complex policy support and technological solutions needed are available to all.”

ENERCON is targetting four major sectors: industries & power, agriculture, building and transport. How has the feedback from these sectors been so far?
FK: “Demand from industries & power, building and transport is quite encouraging. However, the agriculture sector has yet to understand the full potential of EE/EC measures. We are trying to put in place a certain public private partnership mode of business with the private sector with the energy service companies in the lead to respond to this huge sector.”

Do you think the government is going to achieve its aim of ending load shedding by the end of 2009?
FK: “Energy demand and supply can not and must not be static. So, if the demand does not grow; that being equally bad news; we would have done no great thing by adding 2500 plus MW (optimistically speaking) and putting an end to load shedding by 2009. We have been trying to impress upon the government to fully avail the entire 25%-30% savings potential in energy consumption through EE/EC measures, translating into nearly 3000 MW, before resorting to full scale installation and commissioning of non-renewable thermal based capacity build-up; rental or otherwise.”

What initiatives are being undertaken to increase awareness of energy conservation through the media?
FK: “I would have liked the media to pitch in by committing 10% of their airtime to public service messaging. However, instead of agitating shortages and protests, media could have played a more positive role through partnering with entities like ENERCON and other ESCOs promoting solutions.”

Apart from media, what are the other means through which raising awareness is being addressed?
FK: “I mentioned demonstration which is a somewhat “hands on” proof of the dividends accruing from EE/EC measures that we show to the consumer after we do the energy audit  demonstrating the tremendously quick payback. That’s the best tool of awareness enhancement. So, when the Lahori dancing girl sings “mainu note vekha kay mera mood banay” – she is singing on behalf of all!”

What is the status of the Pakistan Energy Conservation Bill 2009? What does ENERCON seek to achieve from the passing of this Bill?
FK: “The Bill would be the very first piece of legislation for energy conservation and efficiency; something that most countries including India, Thailand, China had done long ago. Through this law, if we could foster energy responsibility and put forward an accountability culture, we would have done ourselves a great service. Persistent hemorrhages and leakages would be a cognisable offense, efficiencies would be acknowledged and inefficiencies paid for. You would be shocked to know that all our utilities, including KESC, SSGC, SNGPL, have no official mandate to incorporate EE/EC parameters in their operations. Even the different manuals for industry had no such sensitisation which we have tried to correct now, especially the Inspectorate of Boilers. The Planning Commission has also been requested to sensitise their PC1 approval format to such parameters.”

ENERCON is promoting the use of solar appliances. What are the pros and cons of using solar appliances?
FK: “Solar energy is an abundant renewable source. Through the photo voltaic, we have done very little but we have tapped solar thermal significantly. Our solar thermal water geysers for domestic use launched two years ago have come of age. Remember, renewable is the flip side of conservation hence the discussion put forward by the government that ENERCON should merge with the Alternate Energy Development Board (AEDB).”

What is the role of ‘climate change’ in ENERCON’s agenda?
FK: “Climate change is all about GHG emissions and when we speak of efficiency enhancements, we are actually saying how and how much we must cut back on such emissions. Today, after some effort, MD ENERCON has succeeded in persuading the GoP to include him in the climate change negotiations. We can convert these negotiations into a significant windfall for us if we smartly showcase our efforts and commitment in furthering this global agenda for mitigation and adaptation. With an almost 30% EE/EC potential across all sectors of the economy, this is a gold mine. Our negotiations are being led by the Foreign Office which needs to be very closely watched and guarded by the core team housed in the Ministry of Environment, which is also hosting the national designated authority for the Clean Development Mechanism projects.”

What is ENERCON’s vision for the next 5 years?
FK: “Our vision for the next five years is that the market for EE/EC across the board gets so well entrenched that it sets an example for the society and the government to follow. Also, for our ESCOs to mushroom down to the districts and villages with young, unemployed technicians and engineers becoming self employed. Meanwhile, a word for our prospective energy auditors – they can access the preparatory manuals available”

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