Laying the groundwork for an energy-independent India

Source: Financial Express, 15 January 2023

By Pradeep Lala

Energy independence, the word that defined energy economics over the past few years, has gained prominence with India making significant steps towards becoming an energy-independent country by 2047. This vision is driven by sustained efforts to mitigate the effects of rising global temperatures by aligning with carbon neutrality clauses. By utilising the force of clean technology and renewable sources to drive change, green buildings, which evolved as a response to India’s rapid and ongoing trend towards being energy efficient, have gradually transformed and enhanced energy requirements.

The indigenous nature of clean sources gives local economies an advantage. Countries across the globe have been able to diversify their economies, protect themselves from the unpredictable price fluctuations of fossil fuels, promote inclusive economic growth, and generate employment by utilising renewable sources of energy. By 2030, electricity generated from renewable sources can account for 65% of the world’s total electrical production. This could decarbonize 90% of the power sector by 2050, massively cutting carbon emissions and helping to lessen the harmful effects of climate change.

India is now ranked fourth in the world in terms of renewable energy generation. Our current solar capacity is around 61.79 GW, up from 2.6 MW eight years ago. The contribution of renewable energy sources is about 40.7% (166.36 GW) of the total installed capacity. In line with various initiatives and policies introduced by the government, it encourages investment in the clean energy industry. India currently has a capacity for non-fossil fuel-based clean energy and includes nuclear plants of 6.78 GW, totaling up to 173 GW of clean energy, and projects with a capacity of 80 GW are being built to meet its goal of producing 500 GW of renewable energy by 2030.

Organizations across industries are establishing more stringent Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) goals to reduce their environmental impact, effectively address consumer concerns and expectations, and support corporate commitments to reduce carbon emissions while managing financial risk and upholding accountability. This delineates an organisation’s goodwill and long-term environmental stewardship toward all stakeholders, including customers, employees, and the public. Many organisations have discovered that using solar energy is the simplest and most cost-efficient way to swiftly achieve major environmental and sustainability related ESG goals.

Today, the trend of sustainability and renewable energy is quite prevalent in the real estate sector. To support India’s NDC, this sector needs to decarbonize by integrating renewable energy and energy-efficient strategies. Nearly 40% of annual global CO2 emissions come from this sector, and older infrastructure often makes a bigger contribution. Businesses can minimise their net carbon emissions and contribute towards mitigating the effects of climate change by implementing clean and sustainable facility management solutions.

For organisations to achieve their net-zero emission goals, the facility management sector will need to take a holistic and strategic approach that includes waste reduction, sustainable transportation, renewable energy, and energy efficiency. This includes retrofitting the building envelope and HVAC system, installing energy-efficient lighting, and using smart building technology to optimise energy use.

Additionally, the facility domain can also build on-site renewable energy equipment, such as solar photovoltaic panels and wind turbines, to provide clean, renewable energy and explore the potential of green power. An integrated facility management organisation has several facets: its operations, investments, management, and services intertwine, making sustainability the core of its operations. Green buildings that employ renewable energy often experience a 10% reduction in operating expenses in the first year. Planning preventive maintenance increases cost-effectiveness, equipment lifespans, and sustainability in a conducive manner.

An extraordinary evolution up and down the entire energy value chain is necessary to realise India’s vision of energy independence. As efforts are being undertaken to achieve this vision, businesses need to be cognizant of their carbon production and emission levels, as well as deploy smart and scalable facility management solutions that address this gap. The facility management sector will continue to play an instrumental role in empowering India’s commitment towards becoming a carbon-neutral economy.


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