Thane’s journey so far in transition to low emission development

In its role as a model city under the European Commission funded Promoting Low Emission Urban Development Strategies in Emerging Economy Countries (Urban – LEDS) project, Thane is actively engaged in accelerating its transition to low emission development. The Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC), guided by ICLEI’s GreenClimateCities (GCC) methodology, has identified a set of priority low emission strategies and is undertaking a range of actions at the local level with support from ICLEI South Asia to help integration of these strategies into its development processes.

Five pilot demonstration projects have been identified in close consultation with TMC and taking inputs from various stakeholders, to address priority areas and issues in the city. ICLEI South Asia is assisting TMC for implementation of the pilot projects with regards to technical assessments and surveys, tender development, bid process management, on-ground co-ordination and monitoring.

These pilot projects, spanning areas of renewable energy, energy efficiency, efficient urban public transport services and climate change awareness are:

  • Energy efficient street lighting through Energy Service Company
  • Installation of energy efficient LED lights in selected slum areas
  • Drivers Training Program for Thane Municipal Transport department
  • Awareness programme on climate change and low carbon practices in schools
  • Low emission measures in Municipal School owned by TMC

Street lighting accounts for nearly 40% of the electricity consumption in the TMC’s facilities. Energy audit of 32,500 streetlights has led to the identification of 10,000 street lights to be retrofitted with light emitting diode (LED) luminaires. The energy performance contract model will be used to finance the project through the involvement of an Energy Service Company (ESCO). The surveys for existing streetlight infrastructure in the city and feasibility assessment started in July 2014. GPS based mapping of all the streetlights has been completed to ensure ease of future monitoring and maintenance. Techno-financial tender documents to select and engage an ESCO to undertake this retrofitting are being finalized currently. The energy efficient luminaires will potentially reduce energy use by 60 % (i.e. 4.5 Million kWh/year) and greenhouse gas (GHG) emission by over 3,700 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) per year at a total cost of around INR 150 Million. This pilot intervention will help improve illumination levels, realize large-scale energy efficiency and system modernization for better operation and maintenance of street lighting, reducing costs of the local government. An ESCO is expected to be selected by TMC through the tendering process by December 2015, with the project implementation due to be completed within a further six month period.

Given the associated rise in slum population with urbanization, upgrading slum infrastructures forms an important component of the overall development process. Over 500 existing street lighting fixtures will be replaced with energy efficient LED lights in selected low income areas in the Mumbra, Rayladevi, Uthalsar and Kopri wards in Thane city. Providing energy efficient streetlights in the low income communities will improve the present illumination levels and safety in these areas, reducing electricity use by 40% and saving 277,000 kWh annually. The resulting GHG emission reduction will be about 227 tonnes of CO2e annually. Implementation of this smaller scale will demonstrate the use of energy efficient technology and has a strong inter-link with the larger scale up programme for retrofitting of 10,000 energy efficient street lights through ESCO within Thane. An agency has been selected and installation and commissioning of the LED luminaires will be completed in a 3 month time period from July to September 2015. The selected agency will further undertake comprehensive maintenance of the energy efficient streetlights for duration of 5 years post commissioning.

Thane’s public bus service caters to nearly 255,000 passengers daily through about 340 buses plying on more than 68 routes. The city’s public bus service is thus a key contributor to energy use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the transport sector. The Thane Municipal Transport (TMT) department operates the public bus service and can play a vital role in reducing emissions and optimizing fuel efficiency. To leverage this role, a Driver Training Program was conceived and has been conducted for the TMT department. In this program, 100 drivers of the TMT have undergone three days of hands-on training on good driving practices by the Petroleum Conservation Research Association (PCRA) in association with ICLEI South Asia. The training has been conducted in batches in the two months of June and July 2015. The good driving practices inculcated in the drivers through this training would help realize financial savings and also improve road safety. Assessments indicate fuel efficiency has improved by nearly 13% post the training as compared to that prior to the training.

Considering the importance of promoting knowhow of climate change and low-carbon lifestyles among the citizens, 15 schools in Thane city are being engaged in an awareness programme. The programme will make use of a range of audio visual awareness material to effectively highlight and communicate the basics of climate change, linkages of climate change to related urban lifestyle aspects -energy, transport, solid waste management, water and wastewater, and to promote sustainable practices for energy efficiency and sustainable waste management. The awareness programme has commenced in February 2015 and is scheduled to go on till September 2015. Presently, the 1st round of awareness sessions have been conducted in 14 schools reaching out to over 2,000 students. TMC officials and teachers will also be trained for further replication and scaling up of the programme.

In conjunction with the awareness programme activity, low emission measures are also being implemented in the TMC owned municipal school at Vartak Nagar in Thane. Reducing energy consumption and GHG emission by deploying low carbon measures will help the school become much more energy efficient and save money on its energy bills, while also serving as a live laboratory for students and other schools to understand the benefits of such low emission measures and lifestyles. The low emission measures include:

  • installation of a 15 kW grid interactive roof top solar photovoltaic system
  • retrofitting of energy efficient lighting and equipment
  • installation of smart meters and controls

The school strives to achieve zero dependence on grid power through these energy efficiency and renewable energy measures. The estimated grid energy saving achieved will be up to 54,000 kWh annually, with a GHG emission reduction of about 44 tonnes of CO2e per year. Two agencies selected have already commenced work, starting July 2015 and are scheduled to complete the implementation by October 2015.



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