NEW DELHI: Companies gathered in two major Indian cities last week to discuss the opportunities for going 100% renewable in their energy consumption, as part of RE100, a project of The Climate Group and CDP.
During the workshops in Mumbai and New Delhi, representatives from leading companies agreed that although the renewables transition is challenging, there are many options. Conversation centered on what steps could be achieved within India’s current policy framework – and where further policy support is needed to enable more options for companies to secure renewable power.
An introduction to the current state of India’s renewables market set the scene for the conversation. The country has so far pledged to install 175 GW of new capacity by 2022 and there are a number of policies in place to support this. These include the National Action Plan of Climate Change 2008 which sets targets to reach 15% renewable energy penetration by 2020, the Renewable Purchase Obligation which sets targets for state power distribution companies to purchase a certain percentage of their total power requirement from renewables, as well as tax holidays and accelerated depreciation benefits for renewable energy projects, and inclusion of renewables in priority lending lists of banks which provides access to finance.
With this encouraging policy framework, India has seen a growth in grid connected renewable energy capacity from 15,521 MW in 2010 to 35,777 MW by March 2015.
Businesses in India are already seizing the growing economic opportunities related to renewable power. Infosys, the first Indian business to join RE100, has made a commitment to go 100% renewable by 2018. The IT company is currently obtaining 30% of its electricity needs from renewable sources and intends to invest in a 50 MW solar project this year and a further 200 MW solar project by 2018.
One of the country’s biggest consumer companies, ITC, is also making headway. It is powered using 38% from renewable sources and expected to go 50% by 2020.
Business can help to increase renewables in India
For the businesses in the room, the opportunity for renewables is clear. As Anirban Ghosh, Head of Sustainability from automobile-giant Mahindra, said: “The question is not whether we want to go 100% renewable, but how do the diverse businesses in the Mahindra Group, especially the manufacturing businesses, drive an enabling environment which makes the path to widespread adoption of renewable energy possible.”
Anupam Badola, Manager Sustainability from Dalmia Bharat Cement talked about the steps the company is already taking. He said Dalmia Group already has about 100 MW of installed renewable capacity and the group is also developing about 60 MW of solar power capacity. “In the constantly changing energy landscape, renewable energy is the key thrust area to mitigate the challenges of climate change. The continuous cost reduction and innovations in renewable energy technology, along with climate finance access to private recipients, has the potential to significantly change the energy landscape of future”.
Nestle, one of the first companies that joined RE100 when it was launched in September 2014, was also represented at the workshop. It has operations across India with eight manufacturing facilities and four branch offices, and the team is keen to ‘learn more’ about the options available to support the shift to 100% renewable power.
Overall, the workshops provided invaluable insight into the role business can play in helping to increase renewables in India. The Climate Group and CDP, who lead RE100, will be working closely with WBCSD India, WRI and others to develop a program that will support the development of policy, financial mechanisms and technical guidance for companies to increase their renewable power take up.
As more companies commit to 100% renewable power, RE100 will showcase the action that companies are taking in India to encourage others to do the same.
For further information about RE100 in India please contact Rashi Gupta firstname.lastname@example.org