Energy sources: No efficient use as yet
WE have been in deep energy crisis for quite some time now, and yet there is no wake-up call for efficiency. How is it possible that we are suffering so much and still not ready to look at our problems?
Natural gas, being our mainstay, must be used efficiently. However, neither industries nor large building complexes have taken adequate steps to help save gas and thus reduce gas cuts to the minimum.
We still find numerous industries operating gas-fired boilers to generate steam and hot water for processes when they could have easily co-generated this requirement and produced considerable electric power without consuming any extra gas.
Similarly, gas-fired central airconditioning with equipment having very low coefficient of performance allows exorbitant wastage and yet we find large office complexes, hospitals, malls, airport terminal buildings, etc., using this technology and allowing gas shortage to cripple our economy.
Even now with all the fanfare of wind and solar power, thermal power plants will continue to meet a large part of our total power requirements as we did not invest in required dams for hydel-power generation. Thermal power plants are only affordable if they are of high efficiency design.
Unless we plan correctly now, conversion to coal in inefficient power plants will mean further serious problems that we would not be able to handle even in the long term.
If it is a hospital, the costs of inefficiency are charged to patients. If it is a hotel, the costs easily go to customers. If it is an office, single ownership will just pay the gas bill. With multiple owners, the divided costs get lost somewhere.
It is time we set minimum acceptable efficiency levels and then work diligently to achieve the objective. Without this determination to achieve high efficiency, we will never be able to get out of this energy crisis.