Believe it or not, Kolkata's energy efficiency has doubled since the turn of the century and is projected to increase by two times in the next 12 years. Though the city's energy consumption has nearly doubled in the past 13 years as has the per capita energy use, energy required per capita of GDP has halved, indicating several positive measures taken in the past decade are bearing fruit.
Low carbon economy
The findings of a study by the University of Leeds and Jadavpur University on how to transform Kolkata into a low carbon economy revealed that even in a business as usual scenario, the city will continue to become more energy efficient. Even as Kolkata's total energy use is projected to grow by 62% by 2025, the economy has become 50% more energy-efficient.
"A series of measures like the shift from high-cost petrol to low-cost LPG in autos, the scrapping of 15-year-old inefficient and polluting commercial vehicles and moving red category industries out of the Kolkata Metropolitan Area has contributed to the improved energy efficiency," said Joyashree Roy of Global Change Programme at JU.
In a business-as-usual scenario, household energy use will grow 47% by 2025 and bills by 107% (at current rate) while household carbon emission will grow by 66%. In commercial establishments like offices and shops, energy use will increase by 36%, bills by 133% and carbon emission by 68%. In transport, energy use will grow 62%, energy bills 95% and carbon emission 44% by 2025.
Clean future, green future
Making a strong case for investment in low-carbon economy, Roy said the city had four options to choose from: cost effective, realistic potential, partial decarbonization of electricity and fuller decarbonization of electricity with required investment ranging from Rs 7,900 crore to Rs 20,800 crore.
"The report that we have prepared on actions to make Kolkata carbon neutral can serve as an important document to argue the case for funds from the Climate Mitigation Fund. Kolkata can secure Rs 10,400 crore investment to exploit cost-effective measures across all sectors, save Rs 2,300 crore from its energy bill and cut carbon emission by 15.8%. We need political commitment and institutional capacities if these opportunities are to be exploited," Roy added.