What India is doing to achieve its Net Zero targets
India has pledged at COP 27 to cut its emissions intensity by 45% from 2005 levels by 2030. India has been a significant force in the global economy during the past few years as a result of investments made by important stakeholders, particularly in sophisticated digital infrastructure, manufacturing, and energy transition technologies.
The country’s transition to renewable energy (RE) is based on the objective of reaching net-zero emissions by 2070, and within this ambition, there is a desire to expand employment opportunities in the RE industry while facilitating access to dependable and productive green electricity. The country’s RE capacity was 168.96 GW as of February 2023, and investments totaling an estimated $1.3 trillion are needed to help India reach its goal of 500 GW.
To achieve this goal, India needs to foster partnerships with key stakeholders across different sectors and levels. A workable solution lies in the development of a constantly growing, multifaceted ecosystem of creative and adaptable partnerships. For progress to continue, mapping demand-supply patterns, market economics, lowering the cost of renewable energy, and creating jobs in the RE sector must all become routine practices.
Also, it is essential to promote creative thinking through strategic alliances and catalytic capital. Building an integrated, people-positive strategy toward sustainability goals will need encouraging collaboration between the public and business sectors as well as at the local level.
Here are some examples of how India is collaborating with different actors for a net-zero future:
- Collaboration with the Indian government: There is a big chance to speed up the switch to green energy by forming partnerships with the government that are in line with environmental goals. For instance, GEAPP, a joint venture between Greenko Group and EDF Renewables, has partnered with MAHAPREIT, a state-owned power trading company in Maharashtra, to implement a 500 MW tender for round-the-clock renewable power supply. This partnership will benefit Maharashtra in three ways: by bringing in an investment of INR 2500 crores in solar energy, lowering CO2 emissions by 400,000 tonnes yearly, and providing support for 100,000 farmers. Another example is the collaboration between NITI Aayog, India’s policy think tank, and Rocky Mountain Institute, a US-based non-profit organization, to explore how monetary policy and central banks affect the financing of novel models for green energy. The collaboration has also identified alternative public revenue sources from the switch to green energy to continue development.
- Private sector partnerships: Key sector collaborations must go beyond legal restrictions and sector boundaries to enable all stakeholders to contribute their knowledge and work together to create a revolutionary shift. Through innovation and entrepreneurship, collaboration in the private sector can help create the conditions, capacities, and markets for private-sector solutions. It can also help deploy high-risk capital to support and encourage just transition alternatives. Private-sector cooperation can aid industries in accelerating energy transition solutions through cooperative ventures such as creating RE projects and putting into practice energy efficiency measures. It can also locate funding options for initiatives and plans of shared concern in the grid-based, dispersed, and transitional sectors. For instance, the global RE100 business program seeks to source all of the electricity used by international corporations from renewable sources by 2050. Some of the Indian companies that have joined this initiative are Infosys, Mahindra Group, Tata Motors, and Wipro.
- Community-level engagement: Collaboration uses financial models and tools like green and sustainability-linked bonds, blended financing, and risk assurances at the community level to support regional innovation and technology. Innovations can offer low-cost, significant, and scalable solutions because of India’s expanding clean energy sector. A considerable increase in financial and technical assistance will result from combining catalytic capital from philanthropic organizations like IKEA Foundation or Shell Foundation with commercial capital from impact investors like Acumen Fund or Omidyar Network. These collaborations can support social enterprises like SELCO Foundation or Melinda Foundation that provide clean energy solutions to rural communities in India.
These are some of the ways that India is energizing industry collaborations for a net-zero future. By working together with different actors across sectors and levels, India can achieve its ambitious goal of reaching 500 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2030 and net-zero emissions by 2070. This will not only help India mitigate climate change but also create economic opportunities and social benefits for its people.
Global Energy Sector’s Journey to Net Zero
The world’s energy sector faces a big challenge: achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 to combat climate change. This requires a transformation from fossil fuels to renewables, better energy efficiency, and innovative technologies like carbon capture. Collaboration and innovation across sectors are crucial.
- Amazon and Global Optimism: The e-commerce giant and the social enterprise have launched The Climate Pledge, a commitment to reach net zero carbon by 2040, a decade ahead of the Paris Agreement goal. The pledge has been signed by over 200 companies, representing more than $1.8 trillion in market value and over 7 million employees across 26 industries in 21 countries. The pledge also supports the development of low-carbon products and services, such as electric vehicles, renewable energy, and circular economy solutions.
- Swiss Re and NZIA: The reinsurance company and the Net-Zero Insurance Alliance (NZIA) have joined forces to steer the insurance industry towards net zero emissions by 2050. The NZIA is a group of eight leading insurers and reinsurers that have committed to aligning their underwriting portfolios with the 1.5°C pathway, as well as to reducing their operational emissions. The NZIA is also developing a methodology to measure and disclose the carbon footprint of insurance contracts, which will help insurers to steer their business toward less carbon-intensive activities.
- Coca-Cola HBC and suppliers: The bottling partner of Coca-Cola has committed to reducing its emissions across its entire value chain to net zero by 2040. To achieve this goal, the company is working closely with its suppliers, who account for 90% of its emissions. Some of its key suppliers have already set or are in the process of setting science-based targets for carbon reduction. The company is also partnering with suppliers of renewable electricity, energy-efficient coolers, and recycled packaging materials.
- IKEA and WWF: The furniture retailer and the conservation organization have launched a joint initiative called Climate Action Now (CAN), which aims to accelerate climate action in key markets such as China, India, Russia, and South Africa. The initiative supports local stakeholders, such as governments, businesses, civil society, and consumers, to adopt low-carbon solutions and policies. Some of the solutions include renewable energy, green buildings, sustainable mobility, and a circular economy.
- Ericsson and ITU: The telecommunications company and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) have collaborated to develop a net zero standard for the information and communication technology (ICT) sector. The standard guides how ICT companies can measure, report, and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions across their operations and products. The standard also encourages ICT companies to set science-based targets and join initiatives such as the UN Race to Zero campaign.
- Shell Foundation and Acumen Fund: The philanthropic organization and the impact investor have partnered to support social enterprises that provide clean energy solutions to rural communities in India. The partnership combines catalytic capital from Shell Foundation with commercial capital from Acumen Fund to help scale up innovative business models that can deliver affordable and reliable renewable energy. Some of the social enterprises supported by the partnership include Husk Power Systems, which provides mini-grids powered by rice husks; Frontier Markets, which distributes solar products through women entrepreneurs; and the Melinda Foundation, which electrifies villages with solar microgrids.
These are some examples of how net zero collaborations are transforming the world’s energy sector. By working together with different actors across sectors and regions, these collaborations can achieve greater impact and scale than working alone. They can also create new markets, jobs, and benefits for society and the environment.