Whether India will be able to achieve its ambitious target of net-zero emissions by 2070 that is a debatable question, however, the current trend of public, private and public-private-partnership (PPP) for developing renewable energy-based projects is quite satisfactory. Some of the recent projects show our nation’s inclination and intention towards adopting clean energy and I am quite optimistic that the process will continue.
Although electricity generation contributes to around 25% of CO2 (equivalent) generation, more amount (around 29%) of CO2 (equivalent) originates from the transportation sector, which can be reduced through introduction of Electric Vehicles (EVs). However, as far as the mass-scale deployment of EVs on the Indian roads is concerned, besides others, the most prominent challenge is the lack of availability of charging stations.
Thus, in this article, I will talk about a few of the recent projects that reflect our nation’s burning desire and active action to scale down our country’s carbon footprint.
Running an airport completely on renewables
Cochin International Airport Ltd. (CIAL)’s Arippara Hydroelectric power project was inaugurated by the Chief Minister of Kerala Pinarayi Vijayan on November 6, 2021. The plant is expected to generate 14 million units of power annually. On the occasion of inauguration of the plant, Vijayan revealed that his government’s intension is to implement low-cost environment-friendly power projects based on non-conventional energy sources in collaboration with local self-governments and co-operative bodies.
The power plant at Arippara is a landmark in the history of CIAL as it runs the airport fully on solar power. The entire world appreciates this solar power project. Considering almost the entire project was done along the river banks, it had to overcome multiple challenges including devastating floods of 2018 & 2019. The original design had to be modified at several areas during construction as a lot of extra precautions had to be taken. Like many other projects, it too had faced shortage of manpower during the pandemic.
This project was awarded to CIAL by the State Power Department as per the Kerala Small Hydro power policy under the Build-Own-Operate-Transfer (BOOT) basis for a lease period of 30 years. CIAL has constructed a weir dam across Iruvazhinji River and hydro-mechanical and electro-mechanical systems at Arippara, near Kodencheri in Kozhikode district. It is expected to generate around 1.08 lakh unit of power a day during peak flow days and is estimated that the plant could be running with full capacity for 130 days in a year.
As it is a run-off of the river project, the CIAL small hydro project works on limited storage of water, thus, it is in no way harmful to the environment.
Cement company progresses on its energy commitment
As part of its long term commitment towards renewable energy transition, Dalmia Cement (Bharat) Limited (DCBL), a leading Indian cement major and a subsidiary of Dalmia Bharat Limited, has recently added its ground-mounted solar power plant capacity to 17.1MW (from 2.4MW in 2014), in Cuttack (Odisha). Spread over 49 acres, the solar power plant is set to generate 25.52 MU/PA, to be utilized for the energy requirements of its Kapilas Cement Manufacturing Works (KCMW), Odisha.
Furthering Dalmia Cement (Bharat) Limited’s sustainability goal of becoming carbon negative by 2040, this initiative will enhance the plant’s energy efficiencies. The 17.1 MW plant aims to reduce KCMW Cuttack plant’s day-time power requirement dependency on fossil fuels by over 40% and replace it with a clean, emissions-free, and renewable energy source.
Commenting on the development, Ganesh Jirkuntwar, National Manufacturing Head of Dalmia Cement Bharat Limited, said, “As one of India’s leading cement companies, we remain committed to responsible environmental stewardship by providing green building solutions and embedding sustainable mechanisms within our organizational value chain. We see the solar power plant expansion at our KCMW plant in Cuttack as providing the right impetus for our endeavours to continually adopt the cleanest and most economical fuel. We are confident that this move will help bolster DCBL’s sustainability target of RE100 by 2030 as we march towards taking our overall installed cement capacity to 110 -130 million tonnes by 2031.”
This project was executed in a record time of two and a half months and will reduce conventional power consumption by 27%. Power consumption from the solar plant will ensure seamless production at the KCW, Cuttack plant, especially during emergencies such as preventive maintenance or breakdowns.
Drawing attention on the effort to transiting to solar energy, Bhavesh Wala, Plant Head at Dalmia Cement (Bharat) Limited, KCMW (Cuttack), said, “By shifting to solar power and other renewable energy sources at our facility, we are progressively reducing our overall carbon footprint while meeting our sustainability commitments and heading towards RE100 by 2030. This will also enable us to meet our capacity expansion plans over the years for which we see a balanced energy mix as a key advantage.”
In line with its business philosophy – Clean and Green is profitable and sustainable – Dalmia Bharat reduced its carbon footprint by 22% in the last decade while growing three times to double its profitability. Today, the company has one of the lowest carbon footprints globally and is committed to becoming carbon negative by 2040.
Private companies collaborate to set up EV Charging infrastructure
Tata Power has recently collaborated with Rustomjee Group to provide end-to-end EV charging solutions across all its residential and commercial projects in Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR). Under this collaboration, Tata Power will install dedicated charging infrastructure for residents of Rustomjee in Mumbai MMR. EV owners will have the access to a 24×7 charging facility along with maintenance support. Customers can connect through the Tata Power EZ Charge mobile application for all services including remote vehicle charging monitoring & e-payments. The partnership will enable Rustomjee residents’ access to a uniform and ubiquitous EV charging experience.
This customized EV charging solutions form the infrastructure backbone for a growing EV ecosystem and provide customers access to energy-efficient options with ease. The company through its Tata Power EZ Charge offering has already set up over 100 EV charging points in Mumbai and over 1300 charging points across the country.
Talking about the collaboration, Sandeep Bangia, Head- EV, Tata Power said, “We are happy to partner with Rustomjee Group and feel our collaboration will hasten the transition to EV adoption in Mumbai. It’s a step towards decarbonizing the transportation sector and making EVs more mainstream.”
Haroon Siddiqui, Vice-President – Corporate Head, MEP, Rustomjee Group, said, “At Rustomjee, we are always looking at working towards building a sustainable society for all of us to co-exist in, this collaboration is yet another step in that direction. We are happy to collaborate with Tata Power and work towards co-creating a better future for all of us. This association is a small step towards the larger goal of a carbon-free tomorrow”.
Tata Power has been rapidly setting up EV charging infrastructure across the country, helping India adopt environment-friendly mobility. The company already has a partnership with Apollo Tyres, HPCL, TVS Motors, amã Stays & Trails and others to set up and enhance the EV charging infrastructure. It has deployed over 1300 EV charging points across different cities under the EZ Charge brand along with a digital platform to facilitate an easy & smooth customer experience.
Although the CORONA pandemic has made our progress slow during the last more or less two years, our country has done a lot in this period. The way our industries are working to fulfil our prime minister’s commitment in COP 26, I feel, it is excellent.
Although the Indian industry is divided into many sectors and segments, each category is related to many others, thus, more and more cross sectoral partnerships will help in reaching towards the goal faster.
By P. K. Chatterjee (PK)