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Advancing Clean Energy Innovation and Manufacturing

Achieving carbon net-zero is a priority for Governments worldwide, for which it is vital to reduce carbon emissions to attain mid-term carbon neutrality. India’s aspiration of reaching 500 GW of renewable energy by 2030 necessitates reducing dependency on imports. 

The Government’s support to initiatives like Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) schemes helps to bolster self-reliance and creates a thriving manufacturing ecosystem. The objective is to minimize import reliance, strengthen domestic component manufacturing and position India as a preferred global export hub. CII takes proactive measures, including promoting Approved List of Models and Manufacturers (ALMM) and Basic Custom Duty (BCD) for domestic manufacturing. 

Industry Action in Emission Reduction

To complement green energy projects, traditional power generation companies must innovate in emission reduction. The goal is to ensure “Power for all – affordable & 24X7” by actively engaging stakeholders across the value chain. CII’s initiatives encompass the Electricity Amendment Bill, addressing AT&C losses, advancing smart metering and smart grid technologies, Advancing Clean Energy Innovation and Manufacturing enhancing evacuation infrastructure, and facilitating the green energy transition. 

While CII National Committee on Power focuses on these issues, the Renewable Energy (RE) Council, comprising renewable energy developers, generators (solar, wind, small hydro), component manufacturers, financiers, and energy storage companies, collaborates with the Government of India and the State Governments to facilitate the achievement of 500 GW of RE capacity by 2030, aiming to raise the share of renewable energy on the grid to 50 percent. CII partners closely with the Ministry of New & Renewable Energy to deliberate on achieving this ambitious goal, advocating for measures such as scrapping e-reverse auctions for wind energy, addressing ISTS charges for RE, promoting open access, and facilitating wheeling & banking of RE. The CII Renewable Energy Council, focusing on solar and wind, plays a pivotal role in shaping the sector. 

Building a Robust Green Hydrogen Ecosystem

Green hydrogen, seen as the future’s fuel, holds the key to energy independence and achieving net zero emissions by 2070. Challenges like high electrolyzer costs, capital-intensive land, water infrastructure and nascent technology pose obstacles. Research and development, along with promoting indigenous technologies, are essential to enhance efficiency. Subsidizing green hydrogen prices to match conventional hydrogen costs through demand aggregation and creating a conducive environment for developers and investors is imperative. CII drives this agenda through initiatives focused on manufacturing electrolyzers, building supply chain infrastructure, creating demand, developing storage and transportation solutions and fostering research and development. The CII Taskforce on Green Hydrogen serves as the high-level apex body spearheading India’s green hydrogen economy. 

Realising the Potential of the Bioenergy Sector

The bioenergy sector also has the potential to play a significant role in meeting the world’s growing energy needs, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and promoting sustainability. Various vital initiatives have been undertaken by the Government over the last few years to encourage investment in the energy space. The Government has announced that green growth efforts help reduce the economy’s carbon intensity and provide for large-scale green job opportunities.

Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s announcement on the Global Biofuels Alliance (GBA) during G20 Leaders’ Summit will accelerate sustainable biofuel deployment and support the global energy transition. GBA will spawn international cooperation, especially among agriculturally endowed countries, for furthering the goals of inclusive and green growth. India’s net carbon zero goal of 2070 will also receive a fillip. The alliance will also act as a central repository of knowledge and an expert hub. GBA aims to serve as a catalytic platform, fostering global collaboration for the advancement and widespread adoption of biofuels. The GBA has reinforced India’s commitment to decarbonisation and just energy transition. 

Other major programs launched by the Government to support the development of biofuels in India include the Sustainable Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation (SATAT) scheme for boosting Compressed Biogas (CBG) production in India, Viable Gap Funding (VGF) for 2G bioethanol under Pradhan Mantri JI-VAN Yojana, and grants for research and development in the bioenergy area. 

CII National Committee on Bioenergy represents a cross-section of the industry leaders engaged in the manufacturing of machinery, production of enzymes, ethanol and biodiesel, use of biowaste, and other related businesses. The committee is working towards achieving the Government’s vision. As a result, it intends to make decarbonization a priority area in 2023. The committee sees the unfolding of new business opportunities in the bioenergy sector through this alliance. This will also serve, to a large extent, the twin goals of low-carbon energy and reduction in import dependency. 

Indian Hydrocarbon Industry

At the same time, the Indian hydrocarbon industry is meeting India’s growing energy demand while preparing for energy transition. As the fifth largest economy in the world, India faces pressures of high energy demand. The country’s share in global primary energy consumption is projected to increase two-fold by 2035. The hydrocarbon industry has been critical in enabling India to meet its energy requirements. India’s oil demand is steadily growing each year at 3-4 percent. The country is dependent on imports for about 83 percent of its crude oil requirement and to the extent of about 47 percent in the case of natural gas. India is the third largest consumer and importer of oil. The oil and gas sector are so significant that its impact spills over to other aspects of the economy through its strategic linkages. 

Transitioning Towards Sustainability

The energy sector is undergoing a transition towards clean and sustainable energy. This is aligned with India’s goal of net zero emissions by 2070. This transition to clean energy brings forth new opportunities and challenges for hydrocarbons with reference to energy security. For the transition to be enduring and stable, it is imperative that the accessibility and affordability aspects of energy remain intact. In such a situation, having an overarching international framework for dialogue and policy coordination among producers and consumers can play a vital role by providing an energy security framework, which can then be usefully leveraged. Biofuels hold revolutionary potential within this Industry. The Government has come up with path-breaking initiatives like the changes in the Biofuel Policy to bring forward the target for 20 percent ethanol blending with petroleum to 2025-26 from 2030. 

This article was published in the October edition of CII Communique.

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