The second “Modern Energy Cooking Forum 2023”, was organised in New Delhi on November 3, 2023 by the Modern Energy Cooking Services (MECS) Programme, through its In-country partner – India, Finovista. This annual event established in 2022 with the aim to intensify the cooperation among the stakeholders in the area of modern energy for clean cooking by offering them a platform to promote dialogue and exchange ideas to leverage investment to address the clean cooking challenge, was supported by the Office of Principal Scientific Advisor to the Government of India, International Solar Alliance (ISA), Power Foundation of India (PFI) and Energy Efficiency Services Ltd (EESL).
MECS Programme is a UK Aid (FCDO) funded global research programme led by Loughborough University with the objective to stimulate innovations in modern energy cooking technology and systems and is actively engaged in promotion of electric cooking including increased use of renewable energies to advance progress towards reaching SDG 7 goals. “The Green Shift” report prepared by Energy Transition Advisory Committee (ETAC) under the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas has also suggested having 25% of households using electricity for cooking by 2030.
Delivering his special remarks during the Inaugural Session of the Forum, Sri Abhay Bakre, Director General, and Bureau of Energy Efficiency emphasised the need for shifting to E-cooking to reduce dependence on imports of LPG and also to protect the health of women and girls in rural areas. He particularly mentioned about electric cooking projects initiated in Ladakh and Andaman & Nicobar Islands which also will save transportation cost of carrying fuels to far-off places.
Shri Vishal Kapoor, CEO, Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) addressing the Forum stated that “The humble induction cook stove has enormous potential to reduce both the cost of cooking and health hazards associated with traditional methods of cooking. Under the National Efficient Cooking Programme, we will distribute 20 lakh induction cookstoves nationwide. The initial tender for 20,000 cooktops has already been made live. Leveraging the upsides of demand aggregation, we will work towards driving down prices of induction cook stoves to make them affordable and cost-effective. The Indian consumer is a value buyer, and we aim to deliver one single success story through various means. Collaboration will be key in this journey, and I strongly advocate the aggregation of efforts, with EESL serving as the pivotal force in uniting these efforts”.
Dr Nick Rousseau, International Liaison Manager, MECS Programme, UK in his opening remarks said The partnerships we are forging with visionary senior leaders and their organisations across India offers huge hope for the future. India is well placed to lead the transition to eCooking across the Global South as you have been developing and making available clean cooking solutions for decades and achieved astonishing success with the provision of LPG. Your Honourable Prime Minister in 2015 expressed his vision for electric cooking. This was amazingly forward looking as the increases in recent years in LPG prices are forcing the Government and cooks to seek an alternative that meets cooking needs.
Shri Gaya Prasad, DDG, Ministry of Rural Development speaking on behalf of end users of the E-cooking devices called upon the manufacturers to develop affordable eCooking devices to consider and enable integrating it with the scheme of Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojna- Gramin(PMAY-G).
Shri Raj Pal, Senior Adviser, Power Foundation of India in his speech noted that There is a high willingness to shift to electric cooking, however, there are certain barriers which needs to be addressed.
Dr Sanjay Kumar, Deputy Secretary General, Climate Parliament and former DG, Forests, Govt of India delivering Special address advised that addressing the issue of high cost of the devices is of paramount importance in promoting eCooking and suggested a kind of coalition for aggregation of demand to reduce its cost.
The day long Forum included panel discussions in separate sessions on topics like Role of Policy in promoting eCooking, Gaps in Supply Chain for the Clean Cooking Sector, Bringing Women at the centre stage in the clean cooking sector, Scaling up of Modern Energy Based Cooking Through Demand Aggregation, and Unlocking Investments in the Modern energy based Clean Cooking Sector. Several experts representing organisations, government, PSUs, research institutes exchanged opinions and ideas for accelerating transition to eCooking.
Mr Vimal Kumar, Co-founder , Finovista informed the audience that use of biomass and other fossil fuels used for cooking are responsible for GHGs emission to the extent of 19%. The event also witnessed the launching of a new initiative “Women in Modern Energy Cooking”( WMEC) by Finovista with the aim to offer new pathways for women’s economic empowerment, providing opportunities for women entrepreneurs to contribute to the clean cooking sector.
Dr Nick Rousseau, International Liaison Manager, MECS Programme pointed out When MECS started in India in 2019 the question was: “What evidence is there to show that electric cooking is viable for India? “Now, 4 years on, the 100 delegates and speakers at the Forum were saying: “India must move to electric cooking – how can we work together to make this happen?”
On the sidelines of the “Modern Energy Cooking Forum 2023”, an exhibition of new and innovative modern energy cooking devices and related accessories was also organised for display and live demonstration purpose which attracted many visitors. Prominent companies engaged in the sector namely, Indian Oil Corporation, AgriVijay, BURN, PATANJALI, RTPL, Inclusive Energy, TTK Prestige, Aufla, Real Flame, SIMI Stove.