B u i l d i n g   B r i d g e s
  F o r  
B u s i n e s s   S i n c e   1 9 2 5


India, is an emerging economy, whose rate of economic growth is third among the major economies. This momentum of growth has escalated the demand for energy both in terms of citizen consumption as well as the industrial and commercial sectors. It is a natural corollary of development in a low green energy availability scenario, that India’s overall Green House Gas (GHG) emissions are set to increase, from a low base, in pursuit of its development and poverty eradication goals. The last two decades have witnessed the electrification of all habitations, including remote ones, and also the electrification of all homesteads. This achievement has been lauded globally. It is in addition to provision of cleaner cooking fuels in rural and urban homes, whereby natural gas or electricity has been provided to a vast section of the population.

India’s historical cumulative emissions from 1850 to 2019 amount to less than 4% of the cumulative carbon dioxide emissions of the world from the pre-industrial era, while it is home to 17% of the world’s population. Even today, India’s annual per capita emissions are only about one-third of the global average.

India, at the twenty sixth session of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 26) in November 2021, announced its target to achieve net zero by 2070. This is based on principles of equity and climate justice, and the principle of Common but Differentiated Responsibilities and Respective Capabilities.

India’s long-term low-carbon development strategy rests on seven key transitions to low- carbon development pathways. These include low-carbon development of electricity systems, developing an appropriate transport system, urban design, energy and material efficiency in buildings, innovative low emission industrial systems, carbon dioxide removal related engineering solution, preferably carbon capture and utilisation and storage, enhancing forest cover.

The development of sustainable alternatives towards affordable transportation includes production of compressed bio-gas and subsidy on e-Vehicles for faster adoption and manufacture of hybrid and electric vehicles in India.

The task before the Government, planners, industry and financial institutions is to work in a concerted manner towards the creation of a Green Economy with domestic production and creation of appropriate employment opportunities. In this task, the development of a Circular and Green Economy has to be the cornerstone of industrial development, financial credit and citizen responsibility. The emergence of a Green Economy in a faster time frame entails an integrated and unified objective of a green and circular economy encompassing Government policies, corporate objectives, financing priorities, as well as citizen’s involvement and contribution.

The targeted cleanest fuel is Green Hydrogen, for the promotion of which the government of India has set a production target of 5 million tonnes by 2030, and related development of renewable energy capacity. Some experts are of the view that India needs to pursue a program of production of Blue Hydrogen on account of its competitive costs and ready availability of resources. The ultimate objective has to be a Green Hydrogen based economy.

Some experts are of the view, that although Green Hydrogen could achieve the lowest GHG footprint in the long run, in the transition period until low GHG electricity sources are readily available, deploying Blue Hydrogen may achieve higher emission reductions paving the path in terms of value chain for Green Hydrogen. They advocate a “twin track” approach, in which Blue Hydrogen and Green Hydrogen are deployed and scaled up simultaneously, taking into account regional preferences, environmental impacts and economic interest. 

In view of Renewable Energy, being an intermittent source of power related to the time of the day and seasonal variations, there is a need for large scale energy storage to balance the availability of power with the demand of power through the day. This storage strategy could drastically lessen the need for ramping up coal or gas based thermal power to meet peak loads.

The Central Electricity Authority (CEA) in April 2023 has assessed the current potential of “on-river pumped storage” in India at 103 GW. At present, out of the mere 4.76 GW of installed capacity, installed pumped storage capacity, 3.36 GW is working in pumping mode. About 44.5 GW including 34 GW “off-river pumped storage” hydro power plants were under various stages of development. Pumped storage projects are a cost-effective option for grid storage in India. It has been suggested that identification of new reservoir sites including run-of-the-river storage dams may be examined for creating the storage keeping in view the cost per MW, minimal environmental impact, minimum requirement of R&R. Preparation of satellite / drone-based data could be used for locating suitable sites and reservoirs with minimum environmental social impacts. The development of “off-river” pumped storage plants could be located at discarded /abandoned mines including coal mines in different parts of the country. Appropriate pre-bid preparation and clearances from Central Electricity Authority as well as Environmental clearance would ensure greater enthusiasm from the project bidders and result in lower price bids, on the analogy of the successful ultra mega power projects.

India’s dependence on solar energy as a clean source of energy needs to be continued on further refinement of the present solar power bidding models developed by the Government of India, preferably along with storage facility to ensure a steady flow of reliable power. Wind energy in the coastal areas and mountainous areas will need to be pursued with higher efficiency modules, higher wind turbines and appropriate offshore locations. The development of ocean wave energy has to receive the attention of renewable energy generators.

In order to reduce GHG emissions and dependence on imported crude oil, which has been steadily rising over the years from 83% in 2012-13 t0 87.7% in 2021-22, the Government of India lays great emphasis on the production of biofuels and their blending with existing hydrocarbon fuels. India has, during its presidency of G20, formed the Global Alliance on Biofuels with USA and Brazil. The blending of fuels is being progressively increased. The oil marketing companies, achieved 12% blending during 2022-23, and have been given a target of achieving 30% blending by 2025-26. There is an administered price mechanism for procurement of ethanol, the GST rate on ethanol for Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) has been lowered to 5% on ethanol for EBP program, besides an interest subvention scheme for enhancement and augmentation of ethanol production capacity in the country.  

In its continued thrust on renewable and clean sources of power generation, India as on March 2023, has a total installed capacity of Renewable Energy of 133 GW and the target is to achieve 500 GW by 2030. The total number of electricity consumers in the country is approximately 33.45 crores (connections). The maximum number of consumers that is nearly 80% and the maximum share of connected load of electricity that is 41.83% falls in the domestic category. While providing electricity to all households in the country India has overachieved its commitment made at the COP21, Paris Summit by ensuring 40% of its installed capacity from non-fossil fuels, almost nine years ahead of its commitment. A meaningful decarbonised energy system would need a global roadmap for energy transition towards Green Energy production as well as green buildings. It has been derived that 1% of private companies account for 40% of GHG in the world.

A transformational shift towards a Green Planet would require a comprehensive Green Credit policy. A comprehensive plan, particularly for developing countries would require adequate financing, priority lending, concessional interest rates for Green and Energy Efficient technologies and industries. Government taxation and duty structures for green products will need to be proactively encouraged along with mandatory energy efficiency requirements and fast track clearances, to give a “Green Channel” for investors in a Green Economy. Citizen and public awareness as well as consumer preference for green products will enhance their market.

If the younger generation, through their educational system develops a priority and imperative, it can influence decision making for the promotion of green products in homes and establishments. The ideal would be to develop a carbon count in respect of each commodity, through its life cycle when it reaches the consumer, however idealistic it may appear at present. Creating public consciousness for a green economy and for green business is the way forward for sustainability.

A great revolution awaiting our economy is a transition to green transport. It will not only help in diminishing global warming but will also aid in lessening air pollution in our major cities and industrial hubs. The air quality in many towns and cities is deteriorating at an alarming rate and this air quality compares very unfavorably with the air quality of cities in the developed world. This deterioration of air quality can lead to alarming health effects in the coming future. The greening of our economy can arrest this unhealthy trend.

2023 was the warmest year since temperature records began in 1850, beating the previous records of 2016, according to Europe’s Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S). This announcement said that temperatures in 2023 likely exceeded those of any yearlong period in the last 1, 00,000 years. Last year was 1.48 degrees Celsius warmer than the average of 1850-1900 preindustrial era.

While nuclear power as base load power has been chosen as a major contributor in countries like China, France and some other countries, the promotion of small and modular nuclear reactors presents an opportunity for smaller locations in addition to the larger nuclear power plants being envisaged in the country.

Electric vehicles, cleaner sources of power, and energy efficient machines and buildings will surely contribute to a cleaner planet.

 Coal mining is finally welcoming direct private sector management and control. India has one of the world’s largest coal reserves and Eastern and Central India is the hub. The production was around 730 MT in 2019-20. The target is to attain 1000 MT very shortly. Recently the government had put 38 coal blocks on auction for commercial mining. The interest for some blocks was very good. The government has declared that Coal to gas, Coal to liquid fuel and Coal to chemicals is the new policy. The Coal Minister has announced a plan for 100 MT coal gasification target by 2030 at an investment of Rs. 4 Lakh crores. Coal will continue to be the mainstay of India’s power generation for a few decades, with a lot of emission control equipment.

 India is the world’s third largest consumer of petroleum and gas products. The share of natural gas is planned to go up from 6.25% in the energy basket to 15% at a fast pace. CNG for transportation and piped cooking gas facility are expanding. A pipeline grid has been planned for the entire country with city gas distribution. This will offer huge business opportunities in construction and distribution, besides development of port terminals.

The government has announced raising the number of CNG outlets from over 2,300 to 10,000 in five years. As the automotive sector is moving towards electric vehicles, the need for EV charging stations and the development of storage batteries which will be needed on a larger scale will grow exponentially. Renewable power generation will also need large battery storage. There are reports that the government has plans to offer US$ 4.6 billon as incentives to companies for setting up advanced battery manufacturing facilities. This could be a game changer and a huge business opportunity.

The ICC has been in the forefront of national debates and discussions among stake holders and government entities, besides hosting annual meets and awards competitions for more efficient, environmentally cleaner and consumer centric energy operations.

The India Energy Summit is one of the prime initiatives of ICC in the Energy Sector. The IES that started Sixteen years ago has today succeeded in achieving the recognition of being one of India’s Largest Energy Gatherings witnessing active participation of the most important dignitaries & organizations relevant to the sector from India and abroad. Active involvement and participation from the States like Gujarat, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Himachal Pradeshand others, have also remained a major focus area and key strength.

The Green Energy Summit has proved to be another major initiative of the ICC, which exclusively focuses upon the Indian RE (Renewable Energy) Sector. It succeeded in bringing together leading renewable company and utility leaders, government decision makers and investors to discover how the economic, financial and political framework for renewables is evolving, and to assess the implications of growing renewable deployment for the future shape of the energy industry. The ICC has already completed 11 editions of the Summit which witnessed extensive participation from the Indian RE along with widespread representation from Countries like Austria, Bangladesh, Canada, Belgium, Afghanistan, Ecuador, Iceland, Myanmar, Nepal, Iran, Kwait, Germany, Singapore, Mauritius, South Africa and many others.

The Green Urja and Energy Efficiency Awards is another initiative by the Indian Chamber of Commerce. The Award acknowledges and rewards the Companies in Power Distribution, Power Production including captive power producers, Manufacturers of Solar and Wind Systems or Components and financing institutions of RE projects including Manufacturing and Storage. This award provides a platform to highlight leading examples of innovative and sustainable practices and performance to inspire and motivate others to adopt similar policies and practices and transparently communicate on their performance. Deloitte’s Climate Change & Sustainability (DCS) practice, under the umbrella of Deloitte Consulting in India, delivers services for decarbonization, ESG, clean energy transition, carbon neutrality & net zero pathways etc. for the emerging and energy intensive sectors. Deloitte is the Award Evaluator for the 4th edition of the Award.

Continuing with its endeavor towards development & progress of the Energy Sector, ICC has also formed a National Expert Committee on Energy with a view to contribute effectively towards growth of Indian Energy. This Committee is chaired by Mr. Anil Razdan, Former Secretary, Ministry of Power, Govt. of India. The committee comprises of eminent dignitaries and stalwarts from the Energy Sector as its Core Members which includes eminent Energy Experts Mr Sanjay Mitra, Professor, IIT Delhi, Mr Sutirtha Bhattacharya, Former Chairman WBERC, Former CMD CIL, Mr Rakesh Nath, Former Chairman, CEA, Former Member (Technical), Appellate Tribunal for Electricity, Mr Alok Kumar, IAS, Former Secretary Power, Mr. Pinaki Bhattacharya, Managing Director & CEO, AMP Energy, Mr Tushar Dalmia, Managing Director, Anvil Cables, Mr Devendra Goel, Managing Director, Lumino Industries,. With the plethora of expertise and knowledge along with active involvement of industry, the Committee has been meeting in frequent intervals wherein it has been addressing relevant concerns of the Sector and has also come up with actionable recommendations. Given the ever growing importance of the Energy Sector in India, the ICC Expert Committee intends to continue to act as a forum involving all stakeholders of the sector for addressing key concerns and thereby facilitating growth and development.

India has committed itself to its global obligation of reducing its Green House Emission at COP 21. The Government of India has also taken a policy decision to take significant steps towards decarbonizing the nation’s fossil fuel-dominated economy. The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has been supporting various hydrogen projects in academic institutions, research organizations and the industry for its research and development such as internal combustion engines running on hydrogen and establishment of two hydrogen refueling stations. Green hydrogen (produced from renewable electricity) has huge potential in India’s energy transition. As with other clean energy technologies, the falling cost of hydrogen will increase its utilization, also, collaborations between progressive public and private players, will make projects more viable. ICC has formed a Mission Council to deliberate upon the developments and opportunities in the field of Hydrogen as energy and to create the Industry-Government linkage. The mission members are Mr Tobias Winter, Director, Indo German Energy Forum, GIZ, Prof Yogesh Sharma, Professor, IIT Rourkee, Mr Pankaj Kumar Satija, Chief Regulatory Affairs, Tata Steel, Mr Vinit Kumar, Chairman, Kolkata Port Trust, Dr RR Sonde, Senior Scientist, Atomic Energy Commission- Heavy Water Board and Mr Gurusharan Dhillon, AVP- Business Strategy, Hyundai Motors India Ltd