Renewable Energy in India - India’s Plan of Carbon Neutrality and Companies Guide for Reducing Carbon Emissions

Harshit Verma Harshit Verma
Feb 3, 2022 14 min read
Renewable Energy in India - India’s Plan of Carbon Neutrality and Companies Guide for Reducing Carbon Emissions

The sun is the source of all sorts of energy in the world. You might have not thought about this but it is a fact. Sun is the source of every possible energy in the world today and it always has been. Tomorrow if it doesn’t rise, every living person will die. There are infinite reasons why energy is considered important. The Sun is one of the primary sources of energy, which moves the star to a point where people worship it.

Energy is very important to humans. If we don’t have energy in the first place, there can not be anything else. There are two types of energy, renewable and non-renewable.

Every effort has been made in the direction to reduce the use of non-renewable sources of energy and search for more and more renewable sources of energy. India, the seventh-largest country in the world is also moving in good amounts towards an energy-efficient future. This article talks about India and its goal of carbon neutrality. We will read about the government’s initiatives to have more and more carbon-neutral steps and we will also discuss how businesses are welcoming the change. If businesses are welcoming the change or they are repelling the future. Let us read about the future.

Energy and Its Importance
What is Carbon Neutrality?
India and its Energy Needs
India's Renewable Energy Sources
The Goals of India to Reaching Carbon Neutrality
The Government Plans on Carbon Emissions
Companies and Corporates on Carbon Emissions
Companies Guide to Less Carbon Emissions
FAQ

Energy and Its Importance

As we mentioned, the Sun is important to live. It has been mentioned in our scriptures throughout our history. In every sense, the biggest star in the universe is a life-giver. Every technology, everything that human beings have achieved today is a gift of energy and it continues to be like that. It is the fuel that makes us better and more efficient as a species.

In the past up till the very present, it is taken care that the energy we produce and the energy we consume is balanced. We use non-renewable energy on the least possible scale and renewable energy sources should be used fully.

It is a very recent change that countries all over the world are talking about the climate issue. They are not just mentioning it, but are also willing to do some things that are right for the planet. One of the steps to a sustainable future is carbon neutrality. Developed and developing countries, both are pledging to be carbon neutral in the future. In this article, we will talk about carbon neutrality in detail and see how it is a step toward a sustainable future.

What is Carbon Neutrality?

The word “Carbon Neutral” was added to the Oxford Dictionary in the year 2006. It was the word of the year, that year. Since that time, the phrase carbon-neutral became quite famous and was catapulted to a pedestal by leaders and famous brands of the world.

Carbon Neutral is the balance between emitting carbon and absorbing carbon emissions from carbon sinks. Carbon neutrality can also mean neutralising all the emissions or just simply absorbing all the emissions of carbon in our environment. Carbon sinks are those systems that absorb carbons rather than emit carbons. So they are carbon negative and promote the same to the environment.

According to data by the European Union Commission, natural sinks remove anywhere between 9.5 to 11Gt of carbon dioxide each year. Today, the amount of carbon in the world has exceeded so much and humans are now afraid about their future. It is said that today, there are no carbon sinks in the world that can help suck the carbon out of the environment to reduce global warming.

This is the amount of carbon present in the world today. We cannot even fight it out with carbon sinks. Hence, if we want safety for the future, it is important that people become carbon neutral and reduce carbon emissions by large numbers.

In response to this, the world has seen many debates and the topic continues to ruffle the feathers of all the countries in the world. But, now something different is happening and we see a ray of hope.

Many developed, as well as developing countries, are trying to put every step towards the direction of carbon neutrality. Not only this, companies and corporations are also doing the same and supporting the change for the better. Let us see how countries and companies are relying on the idea of zero carbon emissions. The major country is India and the case that follows.


Insights of the Cleantech Industry in India 2021
Cleantech industry in India has been growing at a fast pace in India. India has deployed many advanced technologies and has been investing billions for cleantech industry.

India and its Energy Needs

India is the second-most populous country in the world and has a great population size. To cater for this much population, it is necessary to have energy in the trajectory.

Whenever energy is created and utilised, it leaves its traces on the environment. Most of the traces are in the form of carbon and supplements of carbons. Thus, it becomes supremely important to notice and manage and regulate the carbon trends in India.

India has been in its development phase for a long time now. With the pandemic on the sidelines, the time that we need to establish ourselves as a developed country has increased for sure. The situation was not this bad in the past. The industrial age gave India solid foundations that can be used to build the future of technology and make India a developed country.

India's Renewable Energy Sources

In the course of time, it is also noticed that India has amazing potential in many domains. For example, India is bestowed upon with the responsibility of one of the best solar energy potentials in the whole world. It is reported that India can produce some 5000 trillion kWh per year of energy with the help of solar technology. With each area receiving about 4 to 7 kWh per Square metre per day.

This is just a glimpse of the immense potential that India holds in the form of solar power. Solar photovoltaic technology can be utilised in a much more efficient and effective manner in our country.

Solar also provides the energy to generate power in a distributed manner, which enables capacity addition with short loading times. There has been immense use of the visible impact of solar energy in Indian energy generation over the past few years.

One of the reasons that solar energy is such a hot topic of discussion is that it is renewable and can be used again and again. That is something we have mentioned before, the Sun will rise every day for the foreseeable future. For this primary reason, solar is always in good demand. Especially in India where we get a lot of heat from that big star. The National Institute of Solar Energy has reported that the Country’s solar potential is about 748 GW (gigawatts) of energy. Out of the mentioned Gigawatts, 3% is even assumed of the wasteland that will be covered by solar photovoltaic modules.

There have been several initiatives by the government to promote this trend in solar power. There are many missions that the government promoted. One of the missions that were launched had a goal to make India not only self-reliant but also a surplus in solar energy production. The objective was to establish India as a leader in solar power. It was important that the mission makes the diffusion of solar energy evenly in India.

The primary and the biggest motive of the mission was to launch and install 100 Gigawatts of solar plants. Each of which was to be grid-connected by the year 2022. This is in line with India’s Intended Nationally Determined Contributions(INDCs) target to achieve about 40 per cent cumulative electric power installed capacity. They took the cumulative electric power and took the load from non-fossil fuel-based energy. It was expected to reduce the bad emissions and take the intensity from 35 per cent to 33 per cent at the 2005 scale by 2030.

Recently, India scored a position of fifth in solar power development. The country even surpassed many developed nations like Italy. Solar power capacity has increased by more than 11 times in the last five years from 2.6 GW in March 2014 to 30 GW in July 2019. Presently, solar tariff in India is very competitive and has achieved grid parity.

The Goals of India to Reaching Carbon Neutrality

A recent news report said that India is planning to go carbon neutral and is very serious in this direction. The government is excited to push acts in this direction and companies are also welcoming this positive change. This might seem unbelievable to many but has a lot of truth.

Environment experts even report that India has been doing really well in this domain. It is doing well so much that it is now even surpassing developed nations. Many countries like China will have to do a lot of extra hard work to rub shoulders with India in this domain. China in recent also pledged to net-zero carbon emission by 2070 in COP26. Many are also calling it the real climate action. India on the other hand enjoys much more freedom in this sense of responsibility.

Prime minister Narendra Modi made some really strong statements in his national address. At the 26th International climate conference held in Glasgow, our PM made a pledge that India has put the ball in the court of developed nations to fulfil the promise of One Trillion dollars of climate finance. This move comes at a time when each of the country members is trying to manage their own carbon emissions.

Sunita Narain, who is a climate change activist and director-general of the centre of science and environment said that India has a laid out roadmap for a sustainable future. The target of non-fossil fuel usage has been set and renewable energy will be used in the most efficient and effective way.

The plan lays out the steps needed to recuse the carbon emissions and the intensity of this harmful element in our atmosphere. She also mentioned that by the year 2030, the carbon emissions intensity will be reduced by one billion tonnes

"RE target of 50 percent, non-fossil fuel 500 GW; carbon intensity of 45 percent are all pathways to get to 1 billion tonnes carbon emission reduction by 2030. India has laid out its roadmap; this is more than OECD and certainly what China has done. India enhanced NDC (Nationally Determined Contribution) is a challenge to the world to step up," she tweeted.

Mentioning the 2030 goal of reducing carbon emissions, it was reported that India will not only focus on the overall carbon emissions but also on the per capita emissions for the record.

"We will reduce 1 billion tonnes by 2030; per capita will be 2.31 tonnes/as against US 9.4 t/per capita and China 9 t/per capita. No question that this is running the talk," Ms Narain tweeted.
She, however, said to limit the 1.5-degree temperature rise, the world will have to go net zero by 2050.
"For the world to go net zero by 2050, China should go by 2040 and OECD countries by 2030. This is why net zero is inequitable and makes combating climate change unambitious and ineffective. We deserve better," Ms Narain tweeted.

The Prime minister has been vocal about the environment and with moves like these, he is adding more strength to his words. His actions and his leadership has led to people calling the effect a ‘real climate change’ as opposed to others who just like words and no actions.

"Now, India demands $1 trillion of climate finance as soon as possible and will monitor not just climate action but deliver climate finance. Most importantly, India has called, once again, for a change in lifestyles. If we cannot fix how we live, we cannot fix the planet on which we live," Mr Ghosh said, Founder of Council on Energy, Environment, and Water
In a similar and shared response, Director, Climate Trends, Aarti Khosla said, ”By announcing a commitment for achieving net zero targets by 2070, India has responded positively to the global call and it was the best climate action in Glasgow today.”

Aarti Khosla who is responsible for reporting and checking climate trends have been vocal too about the cause and effects of climate conditioning. She showed welcoming support to the PM’s move with affirmative reactions.

"The commitment of 500GW of renewable energy by 2030, which is more than twice the installed capacity of coal currently, should set the stage for a quick transformation of the energy sector, the kind of which hasn't been witnessed so far. Ensuring that the new energy regime doesn't bring the pitfalls of the current regime will be fundamental. Solar and wind are poised to emerge as the future in the net zero world," she said.

These were some welcoming moves by the topmost minister in the world’s largest democracy. Above we discussed a story, a plot and an ideology, but that is not all. There is a whole laid out a plan by which the country plans to achieve the goal of neutral carbon emissions. We will now try to uncover the plan and look at some data which proves growth. Let us see the plans that the Indian government has for a sustainable future.

The Government Plans on Carbon Emissions

Soon after the Prime minister of India addressed the world at the ongoing COP26, everyone was surprised. As everyone witnessed a bold pledge to achieve net-zero carbon emissions from the second-most populous country in the world. It was also asserted that India was the only country that was holding up on delivering on the commitments on tackling climate under the agreement of Paris.

The plan is to raise the NDC of achieving the 450 GW non-fossil energy cap to a level of 500 GW. This also includes carbon emissions.

Ajay Mathur, director-general, International Solar Alliance, said reducing one billion tonnes of emissions by 2030 and expanding non-fossil capacity to 500 GW are enormous and transformative steps.

"PM Modi cut through the rhetoric and delivered a big promise of climate action from India. Reducing 1 billion tonnes of emissions by 2030 and expanding non-fossils capacity to 500 GW are enormous and transformative steps. Fifty per cent of electricity generation from renewable energy sources speaks to India's leadership and commitment to climate action. The Prime Minister has made bold announcements and led India from the front at the onset of the Glasgow meeting," he said.

India now has a short term goal and a long term goal on the basis of carbon emissions. Till 2030, India has the target to net zero for climate changes.

Director general also mentioned that "India's announcement of an ambitious 2030 target and a net zero target is a big step for climate collaboration. I congratulate the PM for announcing this bold step which will go a long way in greening the Indian economy and solving the climate crisis,”

Vaibhav Chaturvedi, Fellow, CEEW, said that by announcing the net-zero years, the PM has also accorded a red carpet to foreign and domestic investors who want to invest in research and development, manufacturing, and deployment of green technologies in India.

The PM, speaking for the whole nation, has updated its contributions at the COP 26 for, the first time since 2015. In 2015, India had committed to target 40 per cent of all installed electricity generation to come from non-fossil energy sources by 2030. This is a huge step, keeping in mind the needs of India at any point in time.

As per the new and updated NDC plan, 50 percent of electricity creation will be from renewable energy sources by 2030 and the target of achieving 450 GW non-fossil energy capacity has been increased and pushed to a good limit of 500 GW by 2030.

Companies and Corporates on Carbon Emissions

We all know that carbon emissions are not good for the environment. Every business knows it too. If a business really wants to cater to the needs and wants of society then it has to adhere to the norms of sustainability. It holds the need to stand with the vision of a good healthy future. However, it is not as easy as it sounds.

If a company or a corporate entity wants to rub shoulders with climate efficiency, it has to spend a lot. Not just the money, the company would have to change a lot of things in its operations to be carbon neutral, which is not the best way corporate likes.

So, if companies really want to accept the change and get on with it, they can have that done in two ways. The two ways to make companies carbon neutral are - first, they have to drastically reduce the carbon emissions up to a level that is close to zero and up to zero would be most desired. Sometimes, the own work and operations of the company leave the company with no choice other than emitting carbons.

In this case, corporations can choose the second way of sustainability. To reduce emissions, they can get to the desired and bearable level of carbon entrants by balancing their emissions if they cannot completely vanish it. This can be achieved by offsetting the purchase of carbon emitters or just by making some changes here and there. This is the second most obvious way for corporations out there.

Companies Guide to Less Carbon Emissions

This is not a hidden fact anymore that if a company wants to survive for long and would want people to like its CGR ratings, then it has to lessen its carbon emissions. Becoming a lessor carbon emitter or a neutral is the new thing corporations are chasing. It is a race worth running. There can be many plans to achieve it, we will leave it to the experts. But for a basic understanding, let us lay out some basic footprints for lesser carbon emissions.

First, The first plan that accounts for the carbon cycle of your operations. It is to take in accounting every carbon transaction that the business makes. It is advised that you first and foremost count the carbon footprint of your business.

It can surprise you but knowing your outputs can lead to controlling your outputs. Then do the accounting, use any technology and science but try to do it as it is. You can use various carbon management software for accounting for these emissions and then can work towards reducing them.

Once you do that, you will have a better sense of the emissions that your company produces. You can reduce and control and regulate through stopping/managing the most carbon-emitting department.

If it is impossible for a business like you to cut down carbons to zero, then there is also a way. This way is called the offsetting method. If you can’t cut it totally, cut it short. This is a viable approach to becoming carbon-neutral.

Even in this world, if you try and cut down the emissions by a little number, you will get praised and helped. It has a great social value. It also sends a subtle message to the community that this company or this corporation is trying to get us a better future. This is good marketing by the way.

Once you manage to cut some carbon emissions, there you will notice that you are saving some bucks. This money can be helpful in doing more positive changes in this direction. You can create carbon sinks that absorb most of the carbon from the atmosphere.

The funds can really ensure that you continue in this direction of work. In this process of work, you can also get some bonus points if you include local communities with the work. This makes the work more transparent and more visible to the outer world. Not for the word, but for the work too.


What is Sustainability in Business and Why is it important for your business?
A sustainable business is a business that has minimal negative impact on environment. Lets understand the importance of sustainability in business.

Conclusion

India is provided with vast solar energy potential. Having the second largest population, it needs a lot of energy. Hence, it also has immense demand for energy. About 5,000 trillion kWh of solar energy flows per year is incident over India's land area with most parts receiving 4-7 kWh per sq. m each day. Recently, India announced something unbelievable. For the first time, India announced a target of net-zero emission by the year 2070. The government also said that it will reduce carbon emissions by one billion tonnes by 2030. These were not a part of the 2015 NDCs. This was the first time the government announced this level of carbon-cutting.

Companies and corporations all over the world have always been welcoming the change. They all want to rub shoulders in sustainability with the government. This also increases social goodwill and is an overall great activity. Corporates may have to spend some money in order to attain this goal. They can also choose to cut emissions as opposed to totally making the numbers vanish. After all, less good is better than no good.

FAQ

What percent of India's energy is renewable?

38% of energy capacity comes from renewable sources in India.

Which state produces the most renewable energy in India?

Karnataka is the leading producer of solar energy.

What is the main energy source of India in the power sector?

Fossil fuels - Coals is the main energy source of India in the power sector.

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