Tourism industry being a power guzzler, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh and North Eastern states have already adopted green models for energy conservation. Taking a leaf out of their book, Odisha, which is seeking to tap its vast tourism potential, has decided to rope in TERI- The Energy and Resources Institute to conduct an energy audit of all its utilities across the State.
The decision coincides with the theme of World Tourism Day being celebrated on Thursday, ‘Tourism & Sustainable Energy: Powering Sustainable Development’.
“We will soon sign an MoU with TERI which will carry out an energy audit and advise us on changes that can be brought in our utilities to save power. This apart, TERI will advise us to ensure that our future constructions are Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment (GRIHA) compliant,” Financial Controller and Secretary of Odisha Tourism Development Corporation PK Chand told this paper.
GRIHA has been conceived by TERI and developed jointly with the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy. It is a green building design evaluation system, and is suitable for all kinds of buildings in different climatic zones of the country.
The OTDC which runs a chain of utilities is expecting a 30 per cent reduction in energy costs after TERI suggestions are implemented in its buildings.
According to Chand, the energy bills of all the OTDC utilities in the State per month would be in the range of ` 40 to 45 lakh.
Although some of its tourist facilities have adopted energy-efficiency systems, the pattern is yet to be embraced. The OTDC runs 22 Pantha Nivas setups across the State. The one at Lulung in Mayurbhanj, which was being run with the help of a solar plant, has been rendered defunct. “The solar plant functioned for 12 years. We could not repair the plant courtesy Maoist problems,” said J K Das, executive engineer of OTDC.
OTDC plans to put up bio-toilets developed by the DRDO and solar lighting system at Barkul, Rambha, Satpada, Sipakuda and Kalijai.
While the government sector is making a move towards green models, the private players have failed to match steps due to low awareness on sustainable energy. Although key card systems and energy saving light bulbs are increasingly being used in hotel rooms of other states with tour operators asking for energy efficiency systems throughout their supply chains, there are just a few hotels in Odisha which implement these measures to save power. A rough estimate by the Energy Department puts the energy cost in tourism sector at over ` 10 crore every month.
“Studies have shown that a six per cent increase in investment on energy efficient design and equipment in hotels can lower electrical consumption by 10 per cent and water efficient design and operation can reduce consumption by 30 per cent,” said Benjamin Simon, president of Travel and Tour Operators Association of Odisha. However, not many people associated with the industry are aware of this.
The current year has been declared as International Year of Sustainable Energy for All by the UN, considering the alarming situation on the energy front.