The Agricultural Sector
The need for DSM is felt the most in the agricultural sector where the water- energy nexus is a main cause for the precarious financial condition of the power sector today. Water for agriculture is supplied virtually free of charge and, thus, farmers use as much of it as possible. Water withdrawal is an energy intensive operation throughout the agricultural sector and about 30-40% power consumption is used for irrigation. The irrigation pumping electricity use is at the heart of the subsidy issue. Along with T&D losses and electricity theft, it comprises the root cause for the sector's financial dilemma.
At present, there are over 12.5 million electricity operated pump sets. A majority of them are inefficient and consume 50 to 100% more electricity than the optimum, mainly because of improper selection of pump sets and usage of inefficient and sub-standard accessories. DSM through utilities is a highly beneficial activity for the agricultural sector since of the subsidized prices and high costs of supply resulting from technical and commercial losses.
Some strategies in which could be adopted for improving energy efficiency in this sector are listed below:
1 Promoting R&D programmes for the development of energy efficient pumping systems and commercialization of the prototype.
2 Awareness campaigns for popularization of energy efficient pumping systems amongst the farmers.
3 Replacement of inefficient agricultural pump sets through newly developed energy efficient pump sets.
4 Infrastructure for setting up comprehensive motor/pump testing facility involving design, evaluation of energy efficient labeling systems, etc.
5 Measures for water conservation: To give the farmers along with the means and incentive to conserve water, public bodies must provide water at a realistic cost and at the same time improve the quality of service they give to the point where farmers will be willing to pay for it. Therefore, attitudes about the public ownership of water make this transition difficult.
We now provide an example of a DSM programme adopted through a utility for this sector.