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Tata Power Club Enerji

Powering The Future Through Education

Through its Club Enerji programme, Tata Power is arming children with the information they need to become stewards of sustainable change

May 2024     |     1531 words     |     6-minute read

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Twenty-nine-year-old Sunil Kumar goes to school on a motorbike. The put-put-put of his bike invites sounds of glee and excitement. Students of all ages swarm out. As his bike comes to a halt outside the school building, he’s already being mobbed. Everyone wants him to visit their class today.

Mr Kumar is a science teacher from Tata Power’s Lab on a Bike initiative. But for the students that he visits at rural schools near Bikaner in Rajasthan, he is Suitcase Sir, a title he’s earned thanks to the carrier case attached to his bike. In the case is science equipment that Mr Kumar uses to demonstrate practical but fun experiments to classrooms full of wide-eyed students.

The Lab on a Bike initiative is a key part of Tata Power’s Club Enerji programme that aims to promote STEM education and foster awareness about energy conservation among school children. The programme, winner of the prestigious Edison Award, operates on a simple yet powerful principle: educating the youth about energy and resource conservation through dynamic and innovative measures, and empowering them to be proactive leaders and agents of change in their communities.

Energy Champions spread awareness through a ‘save water’ rally

Igniting a passion for conservation

Launched in 2007, Club Enerji acknowledges the important role that children play in shaping the future of energy efficiency and in accelerating the transition towards more sustainable and energy-efficient societies.

“Through its four stages — Educate, Enhance, Engage, and Empower — Club Enerji nurtures the seeds of sustainability and instils a sense of responsibility among students at an early age,” says Pankaj Kumar Singh, Head – CSR – Generation, T&D and Corporate, Tata Power.

To do this, Club Enerji partners with schools across the 15 states where Tata Power has a presence and employs a multifaceted approach. The first stage is centred on awareness through informative sessions and workshops in schools to educate students on energy-related challenges, conservation practices, sources of renewable energy, and the environmental impact of energy consumption. Students are trained how to interpret electricity bills and use energy calculators to conduct ‘energy audits’ for the optimum use of electrical gadgets and devices at home.

“Employee volunteers and partner agencies engage with schools to organise interactive energy sensitisation sessions and practical demonstrations to provide students with hands-on learning experience,” says Mr Singh. Other activities include visits to power plants, solar installations, interactions with experts, practical experiments, and DIY projects. 

Creative engagement

Club Enerji also works with teachers to organise annual competitions that encourage curiosity and active participation. These competitions include Energy Q (a national quiz competition), Spark of Life (a national poster making competition), Every Watt Counts (a national essay writing competition), and Energy Carnival, where students showcase their ideas and solutions through projects, demonstrations and working models. These activities not only reinforce learning, helping children translate thoughts into action, but also make the process enjoyable and memorable.

“Club Enerji nurtures the seeds of sustainability and instils a sense of responsibility among students at an early age.”—Pankaj Kumar Singh, Head – CSR – Generation, T&D and Corporate, Tata Power.

“Students are always interested in taking part and get really motivated with these activites,” says Madhu Yadav, a teacher at Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya No 1, a Delhi school that participates in Club Enerji. “They also absorb the lessons. I’ve seen children making it a point to turn off the lights when leaving a room and they have even performed a skit during morning assembly to educate other students on how they can save electricity.”  

Students in Mumbai take out a rally on the occasion of Earth Hour day to raise awareness about climate change

Practical spin on science

Lab on a Bike, of which Mr Kumar is a part, is another impactful education intervention. “It is an experiential learning initiative that focuses on promoting STEM education in remote schools that lack access to modern learning tools,” says Geetanjali Tripathi, Assistant General Manager and Head of Group – Social Impact Group, Tata Power Delhi Distribution. “This intervention strengthens their ability to apply knowledge and skills, nurturing their creativity, collaboration, and problem-solving skills. The key highlight of the initiative is the focus on green and clean energy as well as energy conservation. It spreads awareness of the need to shift from brown to green energy.”

In the one year that Mr Kumar has been driving his bike around rural Rajasthan, he has seen a marked difference in the students. “There is barely any science education provided in these rural schools,” says Mr Kumar. “Children don’t even know what science is. Lab on a Bike has opened their eyes, shown them what science can do, and what they can do with it. In fact, the children now enthusiastically participate in science fairs, and some want to pursue a career in science.” 

Hands-on learning

Another key educational tool is the Club Enerji booklet that is distributed in all partner schools. It provides information on various energy sources, including cutting-edge green energy sources, explained with illustrative examples that children can easily relate to. “The 2023 version also seamlessly integrates physical and digital elements, offering access to engaging 2D DIY learning videos for a truly immersive experience,” says Ms Tripathi. “There’s a dedication section that guides students on how to become an energy champ, motivating them to champion sustainable lifestyle choices, reduce the use of fuel and water, manage waste, participate in conservation projects, and influence their parents and communities.”

“These activities aim to shape young leaders in climate action, fostering their role as catalysts for change in their communities to drive broader climate initiatives.”—Pankaj Kumar Singh, Head – CSR – Generation, T&D and Corporate, Tata Power 

Aligned with data from the Bureau of Energy Efficiency, the booklet has a comprehensive table for students to assess their home energy consumption and adopt sustainable conservation practices. The booklet, energy calculator, and carbon footprint calculator are also available on the Club Enerji website for ease of access.

A ripple effect

Tata Power confers titles like Energy Champions on young students, who actively practise and propagate energy saving and resource conservation while practising moral and civic values. Active outreach members who help spread the energy conservation message are named Energy Ambassadors.

The programme encourages Energy Champions to form their own Mini Club Enerji and initiate various activities and projects around water conservation, waste utilisation, tree plantation and energy conservation in their schools and communities. “These activities aim to shape young leaders in climate action, fostering their role as catalysts for change in their communities to drive broader climate initiatives,” says Mr Singh. Students envision ways in which they can drive awareness among friends, parents, neighbours, teachers, and local communities to create a ripple effect of sustainable behaviour change. Past activities include rallies, bicycle rides, responsible citizenship workshops, staging of skits and plays, celebrations of Earth Hour, street plays, batti bandh sessions, community carnivals, and cleanliness drives. 

Energy Champions showcase their projects at the 2023 Urja Mela, which saw participation from 170+ schools from 15 states

Urja melas

To bring it all together, Club Enerji organises regional competitions called Mini Urja Melas at the district level. Winners get the opportunity to compete at the state level in the national Urja Mela. A day-long event, Urja Mela is held every year on December 14, National Energy Conservation Day, and features engaging competitions such as a quiz, drawing competition, science model making, and filmmaking centred on clean energy themes.

The 2023 Urja Mela was held in New Delhi and saw participation from 700 students and teachers from more than 170 government and private schools across 15 states, including Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Gujarat.

For Pravin Tanpure from Partur town in the Jalna district of Maharashtra, the Lab on a Bike programme gave him an opportunity he had never even dreamed of. He participated in the 2023 Urja Mela after winning a poster making competition at the Bengaluru Mini Urja Mela. “Children like me who live in remote areas don’t get to go to big towns like Bengaluru and Delhi,” says the Std 9 student. “In fact, Bangalore was the first city I have ever visited! For the Urja Mela, I made a model of a solar tracker, which follows the movement of the sun so that the solar panel can catch the maximum amount of light to generate solar energy. Science is hard, but the programme teachers really help.” Asked what he wants to be when he grows up, pat comes the answer: “Software engineer!”

His father Indrajit Tanpure, a farmer, is quite proud of his son’s accomplishments and credits Lab on a Bike for the change in his son’s behaviour. “Every time he learns a new energy saving practice, he encourages everyone at home to follow it and then tells the neighbours and our family members about it,” says Mr Tanpure. “He received a solar lamp at the Urja Mela and is very particular about charging it and using it every day. We even get scolded for not shutting the lights off when we leave the room!”

Shaping a greener tomorrow

What started with 12 schools and 6,000 students has grown into a nationwide movement, reaching 1,000+ schools, with 2.5 lakh+ Energy Champions and 2.9 lakh+ Energy Ambassadors. Club Enerji initiatives have also sensitised more than 3 crore citizens so far. “To make our engagements more phygital, we plan to introduce open-access, app-based gamified content on energy conservation this year,” says Mr Singh. “We aim to reach out to more than 5,000 schools by FY28. Our goal is to make Club Enerji the biggest and most impactful energy and resource conservation and efficiency programme in the country.”

—Kermin Bhot

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