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Coping with residential electricity demand in India’s future – How much can efficiency achieve?

Virginie E. Letschert and Michael A. McNeil, Environmental Energy Technologies Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, USA


India, residential, electricity, bottom-up, forecasting, econometric, saturation, energy efficiency, scenarios


The time when energy-related carbon emissions come overwhelmingly from developed countries is coming to a close. China will soon overtake the United States as the world’s leading emitter of greenhouse gas emissions. Meanwhile, India also seems to be on track to experience rapid long-term economic expansion. With this growth will surely come continued massive growth in energy demand. This paper explores the dynamics of that demand growth for one sector – residential electricity – and the realistic potential for coping with it through efficiency. Currently, only 60 % of Indian households use electricity, and 12 % own a refrigerator, but sales of appliances are booming. Air conditioning sales are growing at 20 % per year. This paper forecasts ownership growth of each product using econometric modeling. Products considered explicitly - – refrigerators, air conditioners, fans, lighting, electronics, and water heating – account for about 80 % of current household electricity consumption.

Using this method, we determine the trend and dynamics of demand growth and its dependence on economic scenarios at a level of detail not accessible by models of a more aggregate nature. In addition, we present scenarios for reducing residential consumption through efficiency measures defined at the product level. The research takes advantage of an analytical framework developed by LBNL (BUENAS) which integrates end use technology parameters into demand forecasting and stock accounting to produce detailed efficiency scenarios, which allows for a technologically realistic assessment of efficiency opportunities specifically in the Indian context.


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