As the world makes attempts to combat global warming and climate change, corporates across the world are compelled to invest more in acquiring and producing clean energy. This is especially considering the fact that the corporates hold significant responsibility for increased carbon emissions because of the use of fossil fuel for their operations. Comprehending the need of the hour and contributing to meeting India’s SDGs, several corporates in India are making substantial commitments towards clean energy. Let us look at some of these companies.
The country’s largest power generator, NTPC, through its renewable energy arm has committed to construct what would be India’s largest single local solar power park of 4.75 Gigawatt (Gw) in Kutch. NTPC Renewable Energy (NTPC-REL) has received the approval of the nodal ministry of new and renewable energy, said a company’s statement.
NTPC-REL plans to use this project for the production of green hydrogen, too. Hydrogen produced from renewable sources is called green hydrogen.
NTPC-REL was given the go-ahead under Mode 8 (Ultra Mega Renewable Energy Power Park) of the Solar Park Scheme, the company said in a release. “As part of its green energy portfolio augmentation, NTPC, India’s largest energy integrated company, aims to build 60 GW Renewable Energy Capacity by 2032,” it said.
The current total installed generation capacity of NTPC stands at 66 Gw. Out of this, thermal (coal+gas) is 61 Gw, hydro 3.7 Gw, solar is 1 Gw and the balance is wind.
Apart from solar and wind power projects, NTPC is looking to invest in green hydrogen and green methanol – cleaner fuels that are manufactured at units powered by renewable energy.
NTPC currently puts up renewable generation capacity through two routes — sets up the project itself or awards the capacity to private players. It would develop the Kutch park itself while awarding capacity to different players who would put up generation units. NTPC already has a 0.65 Gw solar power park in Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh. The capacity was awarded to several leading private project developers and was declared commissioned in 2017.
Reliance Industries Limited (RIL)
Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) has made a substantial commitment of spending Rs. 75,000 crores on clean energy. Mukesh Ambani, the Chairman of RIL said at the company’s AGM that the company will spend Rs. 60,000 crore on four so-called ‘Giga factories’ to produce solar cells, modules, hydrogen, fuel cells and a battery grid to store electricity on 5,000 acres of land at Jamnagar, Gujarat, home to the world’s biggest refining complex. He added that the remaining Rs. 15,000 crore in developing a value chain, partnerships, and futuristic technologies. RIL has pledged to go net carbon zero by 2035.
As part of the company’s latest investment plan, Reliance Industries will build an integrated solar photovoltaic module factory to establish and enable at least 100GW solar energy by 2030.
A significant part of this will come from rooftop solar and decentralized solar installations in villages. This would be supplemented by an advanced energy storage Giga factory, an electrolyser Giga factory to manufacture modular electrolysers used for captive production of green hydrogen for domestic use, as well as for global sale.
Reliance Industries will also set up two additional divisions—Renewable Energy Project Management and Construction Division and Renewable Energy Project Finance Division—to facilitate the setting up of large renewable plants worldwide and provide finance to developers.
GAIL (India) Ltd has committed to invest about Rs 5,000 crore to build a portfolio of at least 1 gigawatts of renewable energy and set up compressed biogas as well as ethanol plants as it steps up efforts to expand the business beyond natural gas.
As part of a push to embrace cleaner forms of energy, GAIL will be laying pipeline infrastructure to connect consumption centers to gas sources and spend as much as Rs 4,000 crore on renewable energy, GAIL Chairman and Managing Director Manoj Jain said.
“We are a business that is already eco-friendly – gas. And now we want to leverage our position to go greener in line with the vision of the government and the Prime Minister to cut carbon emissions and pollution,” he said.
While electricity generated from solar energy or through wind power is the cleanest form of energy, converting municipal waste into compressed biogas will supplement the availability of cleaner fuel to automobiles and households.
Also, it plans to set up ethanol units that can convert agriculture waste or sugarcane into less polluting fuel that can be doped in petrol, helping cut India’s import dependence, he said.
While the renewable energy push would cost Rs 4,000 crore, setting up at least two compressed biogas plants and an ethanol factory would entail an investment of about Rs 800-1,000 crore, he said.
“We have 120 MW of renewable energy capacity which we want to scale up to 1GW in next 3-4 years,” he said.
GAIL has signed up with state-run power gear maker BHEL for a renewable energy foray. The tie-up looks to leverage the competitive strengths of both companies. GAIL will be the project developer and BHEL will be a project manager and EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) contractor.
Jain said GAIL is setting up its first compressed biogas (CBG) plant in Ranchi at a cost of Rs 200-300 crore.
The facility will produce five tonnes of CBG per day and approximately 25 tonnes of bio-manure using municipal waste.
“The gas produced will be fed into the city gas network supplying CNG to automobiles and piped natural gas to households. This will help reduce pollution,” he said.