Doubling Down on Efficiency and Ramping up Renewables: How Demand-Side Management Can Power Up India's Energy Goals

India has set an ambitious goal: reaching 500 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy capacity by 2030. Demand-side management and demand flexibility will play a crucial role in achieving this goal, while also contributing to doubling its energy efficiency by 2030. 

Recognizing the critical role of demand flexibility, India’s Government and electricity distribution companies (DISCOMs) are taking a proactive approach, actively developing programmes and collaborating to support the country’s renewable energy targets. 

This forward-thinking approach builds on existing research that establishes the potential of demand flexibility and creates a clear business model for DISCOMs, paving the way for a more sustainable and secure energy future powered by clean, renewable sources.

Leading the Charge

On 14 May 2024, Sustainable Energy for All and Mission Efficiency hosted over 50 energy experts in New Delhi, to assess progress and review challenges and opportunities for demand management to support India’s renewable energy and energy efficiency targets. 

These were the key takeaways from this session:  

  • India's Government and power utilities have shown promising results with national-scale programmes and pilot projects. Now, the focus is on rapidly scaling up utility-led, regulator-approved programmes.
  • Effective implementation requires concerted efforts in regulation, data collection and research, and technology roll-out, driven by policy frameworks. 
  • There is an opportunity for information sharing and continuous learning to address challenges, supported by India’s wide ecosystem of partners and industry experts. 
  • Demand flexibility benefits both consumers and utilities, but enhanced awareness is required to increase participation and optimize gains. 
  • There are successful examples that can be replicated easily in sectors such as water pumping, agriculture, residential energy use, and behavioral change. For example, India's residential sector holds massive demand flexibility potential, sometimes even surpassing commercial and industrial sectors.
  • Private players are keen on tapping into India's demand flexibility market, and many already possess technological capabilities, expertise, and a willingness to invest. 
  • Innovative business models and robust monitoring systems are two of the main keys to unlock full market potential.  

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