Renewable energy (SDG 7)

Renewable energy has gained a lot of mind share in the past few years due to Climate change. Business operations are energy-intensive; thus, companies have started expanding their captive renewable energy capacities or purchasing renewable energy for their operations. The disclosure of the share of renewable energy in total electricity consumed, however, continues to be limited. Only a few companies shared short-term targets to increase the share of renewable energy in their operations. For instance, Tata Motors aspires to operate on 100% renewable energy in the coming future. It is a signatory to the RE100 initiative and so is Dalmia Bharat.

Companies mainly use renewable energy in their core operations. Some also use it for powering street lights and solar water heating. Maruti Suzuki, which has been using solar power for lighting its manufacturing plants and office areas, now has also started using solar energy in the manufacturing of cars.

Solar continues to be the most deployed source of renewable energy across all sectors except Consumer Staples, where 88% of companies reported that they utilized biofuel as compared with 75% of companies using solar energy.

SectorSignificant renewable energy sources used (% companies studied)
2018-19SolarWindBiofuelWaste Heat Recovery
Capital goods80%30%
Consumer Staples75%88%50%
Energy100%88%
Healthcare100%67%
Materials83%61%
Utilities100%33%
Telecom100%100%
IT100%33%50%
Banks83%17%
Auto100%54%54%
Diversified100%86%86%

Supply chain

While the leading Indian companies focus on utilizing renewable energy in operations, very few have renewable energy related programs for their supply chain members. Most companies require their suppliers to comply with environmental norms, but only around 10% of companies reported initiatives or guidelines that were specific to incorporating renewable energy in supplier operations.

Energy companies lead with many of them having solarized their retail outlets. HPCL and GAIL launched electric three-wheelers for delivery of LPG cylinders through their distributors.

  • Tata Motors encourages its supply chain partners to fulfil their energy requirements from renewable sources. Minda Stoneridge, a supplier covered under the Sustainable Supply Chain Initiative, has installed a rooftop solar plant with a generation capacity of 741 kW. As a result of this installation, they have achieved a 12% reduction in their carbon emissions in FY 2018-19.
  • United Spirits: The company aims to use more renewable energy, improve how it managse and uses water, eliminate waste, and optimise packaging design. The company will further, work with its business partners, suppliers and contractors to reduce impacts along the whole supply chain.
  • Coca-Cola India promotes the use of renewables, especially biofuels across its bottling units.

E-mobility

Apart from business operations, transportation/commute is another significant contributor to climate change. Hence, across the world, we see a growing impetus on moving towards e-mobility which utilizes clean energy. In India too, we find that the industry is taking some steps in this direction.

Government of India (GoI) has formulated The National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP) 2020 and the Automotive Mission Plan 2026. These provide the vision and roadmap for faster adoption of electric vehicles and their manufacturing in the country. As part of NEMMP, GoI approved Phase II of the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles (FAME) Scheme with an outlay of Rs10,000 crore over three years (2019-20 to 2021-22) effective from 1 April 2019. It has also made changes to the law to allow people to convert conventional vehicles into electric vehicles or hybrids.

From our study of leading OEMs and component makers in the country, we find that companies are undertaking research and development for development of EV’s of all kinds – two-wheelers to commercial buses. Some OEMs and component makers are forming partnerships/alliances to develop batteries and other components for EVs. For passenger cars, OEMs are mostly opting for hybrid solutions. For instance, Tata Motors is developing a hybrid version of passenger cars, in addition to working on an electric bus. Bosch India was the only company that reported success in converting a diesel-powered vehicle to electric.

In terms of e-mobility solutions, Mahindra deployed 50 of its EVs in partnership with on-demand ridesharing company Uber, in Hyderabad, to introduce next-generation sustainable solutions in the shared mobility space. Wipro, a member of EV100, encourages its employees to use EVs and has launched corporate vehicle ownership, lease programs and installed charging points across all its major facilities in India.

Charging infrastructure is slowly expanding in the country with leading public energy and utility companies, viz. BPCL, HPCL, IOCL, NTPC and Power Grid setting up EV charging facility at their retail outlets across the country – some are on a pilot programme. NTPC’s charging infrastructure has provision for battery swapping too. Amongst the private companies, Tata Power and Cisco Systems India offer charging infrastructure. The former has expanded its EV mobility infrastructure across the country adding 65 charging points in 8 cities. The company has also tied up with HPCL, IGL and IOCL for setting up commercial-scale EV charging stations at retail outlets and other locations across the country. Separately, BHEL has developed a 50 kW DC fast charger for Electric Vehicles to address the wayside charging infrastructure business.

Are the Top 100 companies utilizing EVs in operations?

The adoption of EV’s by Corporate India is very poor, with only around 8% of companies reporting the use of electric vehicle for their logistics. Companies utilize EVs for internal transport, employee commute and also for outbound logistics. Wipro and SBI are members of EV100, a global initiative by The Climate Group which brings together companies that are committed to accelerating the transition to electric vehicles (EVs) by 2030.

CompanyEV in logistics
GMR InfrastructureDIAL has also implemented electric bus services from PTC to Terminal
Hero MotoCorpCNG vehicles in inbound logistics in Dharuhera
Tata PowerElectric Vehicles for internal transport within plant premises
PowerGridUses e-vehicles for its day to day official transportation.
WiproIn the current year (since July 2018), 2.0 Million Kms across 33,000 trips have been covered in Hyderabad through EVs. Hyderabad is the first location where Wipro has started the EV program.
HPCLLaunched HP Gas ‘PRADYUT’, a green initiative to deliver LPG cylinders to consumers using a customised first-of-its-kind electric three-wheeler

Biofuels is the “green coal and petrol”

With the growing focus on EVs, the demand for electricity is going to rise significantly and the GoI emphasising on clean energy sources for it. Biofuel is one such clean energy source that has gained a lot of traction in the past few years, mainly because it ticks many boxes. It is renewable, can be produced from varied materials that are easily available in our country, solves waste management problem and offers employment.

There were many regulatory developments for promoting biofuel in 2018. At the beginning of the year, the Government launched the GOBAR-DHAN (Galvanising Organic Bio-Agro Resources) scheme to convert cattle dung and solid waste in farms to CBG and compost.

Later, in May 2018, they revised the National Policy on Biofuels 2009. The 2018 policy aims to achieve 20% blending of biofuels with fossil-based fuels by 2030. The objective is to increase the utilization of biofuels in the energy and transportation sectors. The government has set some goals for the energy sector, of which, one is to produce >40% electricity from non-fossil fuels by 2030.

And, on 1 October 2018, the government launched the Sustainable Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation (SATAT) scheme. It aims to produce automotive grade Compressed Biogas (CBG), an alternative to CNG, from agricultural / sewage / organic waste generated in the country.

The government plans to roll out 5,000 CBG plants across India in a phased manner, with 250 plants by the year 2020, 1,000 plants by 2022 and 5,000 plants by 2025. These plants are expected to produce 15 million tonnes of CBG per annum, which is about 40% of current CNG consumption of 44 million tonnes per annum in the country.

In response to these regulatory developments, energy companies have undertaken various projects. Some important ones are:

  • BPCL is carrying out a market survey for the availability of Used Cooking Oil (UCO) to assess the capacity of UCO based Biodiesel production. It is in talks with Biodiesel manufacturers to encourage them to use UCO as their feedstock.
  • HPCL and IOCL have issued Letters of Intent for setting up compressed biogas plants (CBG). HPCL envisages a total production capacity of 20.6 TMTPA spread across Gujarat, Maharashtra, Punjab and West Bengal.
  • ONGC set up a Bio-CNG cum Fertilizer & Bottling Plant in Haridwar to convert cow dung to useful fuel and value-added products.
  • OIL undertook a pilot project to use Biodiesel fuel in Diesel Engines.
  • Indian Oil is undertaking a project to convert refinery off-gases to ethanol using Lanzatech technology. It has also implemented a pilot project (50 buses in Delhi) with Indraprastha Gas Limited to run buses on reformed Hydrogen-CNG (H-CNG) fuel.

Community

Around 40% of the companies studied contribute towards renewable energy projects for the communities. These are usually for lighting and clean fuel (off-grid solar lighting solutions, solar irrigation pumps, biogas plants, solar hot water system, clean fuel stoves and solar dryers).

  • Canara Bank, as part of marketing support, has provided five unique custom built, high tech, solar-powered mobile sales vans “Canara Vahini” with computerized billing and card swiping facility to enable women entrepreneurs and SHGs to exhibit or market their products at Bengaluru and Shivamogga (Karnataka) and Aligarh (Uttar Pradesh), Coimbatore (Tamil Nadu), and Thrissur (Kerala).

Community - Renewable Energy Projects