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Meet discusses energy saving opportunities for tea factories
Staff Correspondent
 DIBRUGARH, March 8 - The Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MoMSME), Government of India in collaboration with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), with funding from Global Environment Facility (GEF) is implementing a project titled, ‘Promoting Market Transformation for Energy Efficiency in Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSME)’ across 10 MSME clusters in India.

The project is being executed by Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), a joint venture of public sector undertaking (PSUs) under Ministry of Power, Government of India. The ‘Jorhat Tea Cluster’, consisting of MSME tea processing factories located at Jorhat, Golaghat, Sivasagar, Dibrugarh and Tinsukia, has been included as one of the clusters in the project.

The project aims to identify three to four energy efficient technologies applicable for the tea processing sector which have maximum possibility of replication and potential to improve the energy productivity of fellow MSME units, hence boosting competitiveness. The project will support the large-scale implementation of the selected technologies through technical and upfront financial support through investment in the sector. The project aims to adopt various business models of Energy Servicing Company (ESCO) where the MSME unit is expected to pay back to the investor from the monetized energy saving in a period of time.

The broad objectives of the GEF-5 project are: to promote the implementation of Energy Efficiency (EE) in MSME sector through replicable technologies, create and sustain a revolving fund mechanism to ensure replication of energy efficiency (EE) measures in the sector, to address the identified barriers for scaling-up EE measures and promote a cleaner and competitive MSME industries in India.

As part of the project information dissemination activity, a national conference was held at city hotel here on Thursday. The programme was supported by all the major tea associations with presence of officials from UNIDO, EESL, DESL, and DI MSME. The meeting was first of its kind in the area where active discussions were held on the energy saving opportunities for the tea factories.

Debajit Das, National Project Coordinator from United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), highlighted the objective of the meeting. Das while addressing the gathering said that the project brings in a win-win situation for the industries wherein they will be supported both technically and financially to implement energy-efficient technologies in their factories with dual benefits of energy savings and cost competitiveness. Sukumar Baishya from Tea Board of India stressed upon the importance of energy efficiency in the tea industries of Assam

Van Berkel Rene, UNIDO representative in India spoke about UNIDO’s upcoming thrust on the North East region and the three-pronged approach that UNIDO has adopted in the energy efficiency space for the Indian Industries. He also underlined on the specific features of standardization of technology and aggregation of demand to reduce the transaction cost for the benefit of the MSME industries.

Representative from the Ministry of MSME Arun Difoe and Tocklai Tea Research Institute S Sanyal also deliberated on the various aspects that need critical considerations in these kinds of innovative but challenging initiative. Suneel Dhar, Regional Manager from EESL elaborated on the why, what and how process is related to the initiative.

M/s Development Environergy Services Limited (DESL), New Delhi, has been entrusted with the assignment to look after the project management activities for the sector. Arindam Mukherjee, Consultant, DESL discussed on the possible energy efficiency intervention for the tea sector. Mrinal Saurabh Bhaskar, Senior Technical Expert, EESL discussed the business model offered under the project. “The unit gets dual benefit of no upfront payment for the technologies and also repayment from savings in easy instalments,” he said.

Office bearers from NETA, BCP, ABITA, ABLTMA, ATPA and TAI interacted on all aspects of the project and expressed gratitude to the organizers for holding the conference. Various technology suppliers also participated in the discussion on the prospective technologies that could be helpful for the tea industries of the region. The project seeks to support over 100 units from the cluster. The conference concluded with a vote of thanks from Bastab Gogoi, DESL, coordinator of the conference.

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