GOING 100% RENEWABLE IN INDIA: TATA MOTORS IS HELPING TO DRIVE THE ENERGY TRANSITION

As RE100 reaches a milestone of 100 member companies, Arvind Bodhankar, CSO, Tata Motors, reflects on why it makes sense to transition to 100% renewable electricity and future proof business operations.

At a time when the onus lies equally on corporates and governments to demonstrate climate action, manufacturers, including car manufacturers, are very keen on moving towards renewable energy. This is not only necessary, given the need for collective efforts to address climate change, but also makes good business sense.

Going 100% renewable implies establishing reliable sources for procuring renewable energy, setting up solar and wind energy farms at manufacturing plants, and consciously moving away from fossil fuels.

Looking at the policy measures in India that can support this intent, open access regulations need to be consistent across states. Even in states with open access, the rules can effectively be unviable. There also seems to be a lack of clarity on transmission and wheeling charges, taxes in different states and on expected trends. There are challenges around power banking and net metering is capped at 1 megawatt (MW) which is discouraging to large on-site projects. This makes it harder for companies in India to self-generate renewable energy. Looking at government’s commitment, I am confident that it will ease out in coming days.

On the other hand, there is much to be gained by engaging in long-term Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs), as power becomes more affordable due to falling tariffs while the cost of grid electricity rises.

ACHIEVEMENTS SO FAR

We joined RE100 in March 2016, with an ambition to source 100% renewable electricity. It not only helped reduce the environmental impacts of our manufacturing operations but also helped us in maintaining the Tata Group’scommitment on UN Sustainable Development Goals. Since then, many others have followed our lead, and the campaign now unites 100 of the world’s most influential companies.

On joining RE100, Tata Motors had already advanced several steps down the path to renewables, enabling us to source around 8% of our electricity from renewable sources in Financial Year (FY) 2015-16 and adding about 8.25 % in 16-17. We currently procure or generate around 4,818 MWh of renewable power.

Presently, our renewable electricity consumption stands at 16.25%. Our progress comes from both on-site and off-site approaches, but mostly from renewable electricity sourced from the grid, as space will always be a constraint for renewable energy installations on-site.

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