Need to de­velop a Green Cul­ture

So­lar en­ergy, the back­bone of re­new­able en­ergy tar­gets, can be fully utilised if the gov­ern­ment en­cour­ages Cor­po­rates to in­clude this in their CSR spend­ing and for that a pol­icy push would be re­quired

Rural & Marketing - - CONTENT - Vivek Sharma Head of Global Re­la­tions, Cam­bridge En­ergy Re­sources

India plans to ex­pand re­new­able gen­er­a­tion ca­pac­ity more than three­fold to 175 gi­gawatts by 2022, with the ma­jor­ity from so­lar which along with wind is the back­bone of re­new­able, clean and global source of en­ergy. Apart from re­solv­ing fi­nanc­ing and reg­u­la­tory is­sues, the coun­try needs to de­velop a cul­ture for green en­ergy and with­out that all set tar­gets and in­tents are mean­ing­less.

Cli­mate Calling

De­vel­op­ing a green cul­ture across the coun­try for en­ergy is cru­cial in sev­eral ways in­clud­ing meet­ing the chal­lenges of global warm­ing. Sourc­ing more so­lar en­ergy will also help India meet the car­bon emis­sions re­duc­tion tar­get that it has com­mit­ted to as part of the re­cent global cli­mate change agree­ment.The power sec­tor in India pro­duces about half of all CO2 emis­sions in the coun­try (805.4 mil­lion tonnes), ac­cord­ing

to the power min­istry's Draft Na­tional Elec­tric­ity Plan 2016; coal is the most pol­lut­ing of all power sources.

In 2015, the world, through the Paris Agree­ment, agreed to limit the rise of the earth's tem­per­a­ture to un­der two de­grees Cel­sius by the year 2100. As many as 162 coun­tries, in­clud­ing India, had sub­mit­ted their In­tended Na­tion­ally De­ter­mined Con­tri­bu­tions (INDC), doc­u­ments which de­scribe steps coun­tries will take to limit global warm­ing. As part of its INDC, India has com­mit­ted to source 40 per cent of its elec­tric­ity from non­fos­sil fuel sources by 2030.

India's INDC or the car­bon emis­sion re­duc­tion tar­get is to lower the emis­sions in­ten­sity of econ­omy by 33 per­cent from 2005 lev­els.

In Oc­to­ber 2016, re­new­able en­ergy made up 15 per cent of India's in­stalled elec­tric­ity pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity, up from 13.1 per cent in Au­gust 2015, ac­cord­ing to the Min­istry of New and Re­newal En­ergy (MNRE) data. The gov­ern­ment's am­bi­tious tar­get has cre­ated aware­ness about re­new­able en­ergy. But a lot needs to be done. Pro­mo­tional poli­cies need to be out­come based. Mere pro­vid­ing sub­sidy for re­new­able en­ergy would help much. Even com­pa­nies that do not ben­e­fit from gov­ern­ment sub­si­dies for re­new­able en­ergy projects point out that it would be rather bet­ter if so­lar and wind en­ergy projects should be in­cluded in Cor­po­rate So­cial Re­spon­si­bil­ity (CSR) so that adop­tion of vil­lages for pro­vid­ing so­lar power to cre­ate a cul­ture for clean en­ergy across the coun­try.

More peo­ple now recognise that al­ter­na­tive sources can pro­vide elec­tric­ity within the house­hold with­out be­ing con­nected to the grid. There are sev­eral com­pa­nies which build small en­ergy grids . that power a few house­holds or a vil­lage.

Money Matters

In 2015, India in­vested $10.2 bil­lion of public and private money in re­new­able en­ergy, about a quar­ter of the an­nual in­vest­ment needed, ac­cord­ing to a re­port by In­sti­tute for En­ergy, Eco­nomics and Fi­nan­cial Anal­y­sis (IEEFA), a US-based re­search or­gan­i­sa­tion. Gov­ern­ment fi­nanc­ing forms only a small part of the to­tal in­vest­ment. In 2016-17, the gov­ern­ment bud­geted $758 mil­lion (Rs 5,035.79 crore) for re­new­able en­ergy. Bud­get 201718 does not of­fer much to the sec­tor as al­lo­ca­tion to the Min­istry was hiked by 8.7 per­cent and it is now Rs 5473 crore. How­ever, it is en­cour­ag­ing to note that Bud­get 2017 -18 ei­ther re­duced or com­pletely did away with taxes and levies on ma­chin­ery used for the gen­eral of so­lar cells, wind en­ergy, fuel cells, bio­gas, and more.

The big­gest bot­tle­neck we see is states’ DISCOM ap­a­thy to­wards pro­mot­ing so­lar en­ergy at vil­lage level. Re­luc­tance to give no ob­jec­tion cer­tifi­cate to in­stall of so­lar pan­els in vil­lages clearly sig­nals to­wards lack of proper reg­u­la­tory mech­a­nism to pro­mote clean en­ergy.

So­lar power: Back­bone of re­new­able en­ergy

India has an es­ti­mated re­new­able en­ergy po­ten­tial of about 900 gi­gawatt (GW) from com­mer­cially ex­ploitable sources—wind 102 GW, small hy­dro 20 GW, bio en­ergy 25GW and 750 GW so­lar power, ac­cord­ing to the Min­istry. Gen­er­a­tion from con­ven­tional sources showed an an­nual growth rate of over 5 per­cent in the 11 months pe­riod of 2016-17 while out­put from re­new­able power projects rose more than 26 per­cent dur­ing this pe­riod. The tar­get from var­i­ous re­new­able en­ergy sources has been in­creased to 175 GW by the year 2022 (which in­clude 100GW from so­lar en­ergy and

De­vel­op­ing a green cul­ture for en­ergy is cru­cial in sev­eral ways in­clud­ing meet­ing the chal­lenges of global warm­ing. Sourc­ing more so­lar en­ergy will also help India meet the car­bon emis­sions re­duc­tion tar­get

60GW from wind en­ergy).

The gov­ern­ment has pledged to elec­trify all vil­lages by May 2018 and sup­ply power to ev­ery ci­ti­zen by 2019. But ground re­al­i­ties are dif­fer­ent. In 2014, the World Bank ranked India as home to the world’s largest un­elec­tri­fied pop­u­la­tion. Power was ei­ther un­af­ford­able, in­ad­e­quate or non-ex­is­tent for 240 mil­lion peo­ple, ac­cord­ing to data from the In­ter­na­tional En­ergy Agency. The gov­ern­ment has met 77 per­cent of its tar­get to link vil­lages to power grids, yet only about 14 per­cent for vil­lages ear­marked for off-grid power like so­lar. Some 47 mil­lion ru­ral house­holds are still with­out elec­tric­ity, and even those con­nected to the grid suf­fer fre­quent out­ages.

States/DIS­COMs need to fo­cus on train­ing their ground staff on Net me­ter­ing and So­lar al­ter­nates as with­out their help it is very dif­fi­cult for an in­di­vid­ual to erect small plants at house­hold also. The state gov­ern­ments dis­tri­bu­tion agen­cies need to make GRID trans­fers avail­able for ex­cess pro­duc­tion from these so­lar units as in ab­sence of grid con­nec­tion fa­cil­ity, elec­tric­ity would be wasted. Build­ing of these in­fra­struc­tures is the key for a green ecosys­tem, so that ben­e­fits could be reaped from the ef­forts made.

Green En­ergy & CSR

If we still un­der­mine the im­por­tance of green and re­newal en­ergy, it will be late to re­cover from dam­ages we will do to the so­ci­ety. Though there is a clear un­der­stand­ing of nat­u­ral re­sources / lim­ited re­sources to peo­ple around the world but specif­i­cally in India peo­ple are very non- se­ri­ous of the is­sue. Be it En­ergy /power when it comes to Green Clean En­ergy, peo­ple take it as just a money sav­ing ex­er­cise rather than en­ergy or planet sav­ing.

The gov­ern­ment is mak­ing all pos­si­ble ef­forts to scale re­new­able en­ergy projects but still peo­ple think it to be an al­ter­nate to re­duce pro­duc­tion from con­ven­tion en­ergy sources. Peo­ple see so­lar en­ergy as an al­ter­nate not just to save in­creas­ing elec­tric­ity bills but also as an un­lim­ited re­source which will help generations to come.

The green cul­ture should d de­velop around us, we should d de­velop large plat­forms where w we must ini­ti­ate an ecosys­tem o of Green Clean en­ergy from h house­holds to cor­po­rates.

Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi’s ini­tia­tives in these directions w will only be suc­cess­ful when we t to­gether pledge to take ben­e­fits of t the large so­lar ini­tia­tives car­ried by t the gov­ern­ment re­cently through t the So­lar En­ergy Cor­po­ra­tions of India and the MNRE.

Our Cor­po­rate So­cial Re­spon­si­bil­i­tyesp on si bili ty sp on si bi li ty( C SR) calls for less use of gen­er­a­tors and more of so­lar power, be it Tele­com space or for that mat­ter rooftops so­lar pan­els in In­dus­tries and other sec­tors.

It is en­light­en­ing to note that most of the Tower and Tele­com com­pa­nies have taken step for­ward in this area and have given a kick start to build­ing of a green ecosys­tem.

The Way For­ward

India has an es­ti­mated re­new­able en­ergy po­ten­tial of about 900 gi­gawatt (GW) from com­mer­cially ex­ploitable sources. The gov­ern­ment has an­nounced am­bi­tious scheme to dou­ble so­lar power gen­er­a­tion ca­pac­ity un­der the so­lar park scheme to 40,000 MW by 2020 apart from var­i­ous on-go­ing so­lar power pro­grammes. Apart from so­lar park scheme, we need to fo­cus at vil­lage level.

We, at Cor­po­rates, need to take for­ward the green cul­ture. It should be our main cor­po­rate so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity to think and build on the green ecosys­tem be­cause of the in­creas­ing threat of cli­mate change and en­vi­ron­men­tal haz­ards to­day. The coun­try needs quick ac­tions from us for the ben­e­fit of present and fu­ture generations to come. The gov­ern­ment needs walk mile and should go be­yond sub­sidy scheme. A pol­icy push would re­quire to de­velop a green cul­ture. Cor­po­rates must act to cor­rect them­selves and ac­tively en­gage in the sec­tor with their CSR ac­tiv­i­ties. Or else it will be too late to reap ben­e­fits of life for our kids and their fam­i­lies.

(Au­thor is a se­nior of­fi­cial at Cam­bridge En­ergy Re­sources which is part of Cam­bridge Clean En­ergy, UK. Views ex­pressed are per­sonal).

The gov­ern­ment is mak­ing all pos­si­ble ef­forts to scale re­new­able en­ergy projects but still peo­ple think it to be an al­ter­nate to re­duce pro­duc­tion from con­ven­tion en­ergy sources

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