Saving energy and money: Testing energy audits to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in India

Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab and the Institute for Financial Management and Research | India

$185,533 | Stage 2: Testing at Scale | Environment & Global Climate Change

The problem: Greenhouse gas emissions in India

Rapid industrial growth in emerging economies, especially China and India, has greatly improved the living standards of the average citizen but wrought widespread environmental damage. Globally, India and China will contribute most to future growth in emissions of greenhouse gases. Despite the availability of energy-efficiency investments that can help curb polluting greenhouse gas emissions, many industrial plants and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the developing world fail to undertake these investments. 

The solution: Saving energy and money

J-PAL South Asia at the Institute for Financial Management and Research will launch a campaign to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in India and encourage energy-efficiency investments that cut both emissions and costs. The project will test two innovations that aim to change the plants’ behavior: detailed energy audits, which identify areas where the plant can profitably save energy, and energy managers that provide skilled technical assistance to help plants implement the audit recommendations.  Using a randomized control trial in 400 textile and chemical plants in India’s industrial region, the project will measure the impact of the innovative audits and energy managers on the technology adoption (including plant upgrades) and overall energy use of the plants. 

The potential: Cost-effectiveness, impacts, and implications

The results of the study will shed new light on the way firms make decisions about energy efficiency—an issue that is little understood but very important for climate policy. The study will calculate the financial returns to the plant of the adoption of energy-saving approaches.

Last updated: July 28, 2013

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