New Delhi: Developing economies such as India have an enormous opportunity to build energy independence and grow in a climate resilient manner, in the process creating a thriving corporate sector that best leverages these increasingly prominent global financial capital market priorities, and funding capacities, a new report released on Tuesday said.
As one of the fastest growing large economies, India’s burgeoning energy sector can make a major contribution to immediate and deep emissions reduction, says a new report by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA).
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), in its Working Group III report released last month gave a grave warning for the world: “Unless there are immediate and deep emissions reductions across all sectors, 1.5 degrees Celsius is beyond reach.”
This 1.5 degrees Celsius is the ideal target to keep the global temperature rise to below it as compared to pre-industrial era. India has made large strides in renewable energy, especially solar power. However, it has also insisted on continued use of coal to meet the energy needs of its large population. India’s net zero target is 2070.
“With rampant imported fossil fuel inflation, energy security is a key national priority. India is tackling climate change through ambitious domestic clean energy targets and bold policies and reforms to support them. (Therefore) domestic and international power sector players are rapidly scaling up Indian renewable infrastructure capacities and are preparing for the next wave of sectoral reforms,” the report author Shantanu Srivastava, energy finance analyst at IEEFA said.
The report, ‘IEEFA: India’s lead role in the new wave of energy sector growth’ said, the government is rolling out several “big bang” policies and reforms to accelerate the transition to a more resilient and sustainable energy economy while also harnessing investment, employment and import replacement opportunities.
These include the green hydrogen and green ammonia policy, production-linked incentive (PLI) schemes in solar module and battery manufacturing, market based economic dispatch to democratise the electricity markets, general network access and green energy corridor schemes encouraging investment in the grid sector and private ownership through the National Monetisation Pipeline and the privatisation of distribution companies (discom).
“The coming decade will be among the most transformational periods for global energy markets,” Srivastava said, adding, “New leaders will emerge, and current corporate giants stand to become obsolete if they do not engage in the transition to the new energy economy.”
The author cited major themes among larger industry players: diversifying across the value chain, leapfrogging the competition in adopting still-evolving new zero emissions technologies, and increasing the range of value-added products and services.
On the green hydrogen front, energy companies are betting on the rapid decline in production costs to exploit its use in energy storage, mobility, fertilisers, refining and industry while also foraying into manufacturing of electrolysers, used to produce green hydrogen from renewable energy.
In energy storage, industry players are aiming to transform renewable energy from exceptionally low cost but intermittent sources to dispatchable and controllable energy.
To diversify upstream in the solar value chain and build domestic supply chain security, players have participated wholeheartedly in the government’s solar module PLI scheme while also acquiring stakes in state discom businesses, integrating the last link of the power sector value chain.
“As the power markets become more democratised and integrated, companies see opportunities in power trading through exchanges and contracting with customers through open access and merchant capacities,” he said.
Several industry players have diversified from commoditised electricity generation, distribution, and transmission to providing value added products such as peak power supply, round-the-clock supply, and corporate decarbonisation solutions, which fetch higher margins and offer growth prospects in a fast-evolving energy economy.
“For India to accelerate its transition path,” Srivastava said, “it is imperative to build momentum in clean energy investments through such policies and corporate actions.”
Srivastava also pointed out that companies have improved their environmental, social and governance (ESG) disclosure profiles to attract the massive pool of global capital aligned to ESG investing.