Scaling corporate renewable electricity demand in India: RE100 convenes businesses in New Delhi

Reading time: 5 minutes
30 August 2017

NEW DELHI: In a bid to highlight the role of corporate leadership on renewables in developing a cleaner economy, The Climate Group has hosted a RE100 high-level roundtable event, ‘Scaling Corporate Renewable Electricity Demand In India’.

An official side event of the Business and Climate Summit 2017, the roundtable was supported by Edison Energy and saw participation from not only RE100 members such as InfosysDalmia CementSwiss ReH&M and IKEA Group, but also from other major companies like Mahindra & Mahindra, Tata Steel and DBS Bank. 

Emphasizing the business case for corporates to transition to 100% renewable power, Jarnail Singh, India Director, The Climate Group said, “RE100 stands testimony to the fact that corporate demand for renewable power is bringing forth a shift in electricity markets, globally. Consequently, renewables will become the new normal for businesses in future.”

The RE100 event gets underway

Sharing the transition

RE100 member companies shared learnings from their transition to 100% renewables, explaining how it makes business sense. Topics included factors influencing organizational decision making, financing of corporate renewable electricity projects, and varying regulatory, policy and technology options available in India.

Sharing his insights on about the prime motivators and catalysts behind Dalmia Cement’s decision to target 100% renewable electricity, Mahendra Singhi, Group CEO and Whole Time Director, Dalmia Bharat Ltd. said, “social responsibility and carbon pricing helped to convince board members to invest in renewable electricity”.

Mr. Singhi’s views were echoed by Bose Varghese, Head – Green Initiatives, Infosys, who emphasized the growing need for corporates to go 100% renewable, while analyzing common risk scenarios, and legal and regulatory frameworks. He said that 45% of Infosys’ current electricity demand is being met through renewable sources, 80% of which is purchased through Open Access.

Group CEO and Whole Time Director, Dalmia Bharat Ltd. Mahendra Singhi shares the business case for renewables

Financing mechanisms

Another session focused on the different financing mechanisms for renewable electricity procurement in India. Uday Khemka, Chair, Clean Energy Financing Forum (CEFF) and Gopal Vemuri, Director of Capital Markets, Edison Energy shared financing options for corporate sourcing of renewable electricity, and the discussions were moderated by Vandana Gomber, Global Policy Editor, Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Mr. Gomber began the session with a presentation on global corporate PPA volume trends and top corporate off-takers of renewable energy in 2017. These included RE100 member companies AppleAB InBev and Unilever.

Uday Khemka highlighted the importance of finance and the need to bring in sustainable long term solutions. He underlined the importance of business, financial institutions, government and energy distribution companies (DISCOMs) to work together while emphasising on the “absolutely critical” role that DISCOMS play.

Gopal Vemuri added that India has a great opportunity for going 100% renewable – but said that financial and policy transparency would be paramount for achieving it.

Operational aspects

The final session was a deep dive into the operational aspects of implementing corporate renewable electricity projects and was led by CDP, technical delivery partner for RE100. The session answered some basic questions with regards to technical criteria and other guidance, as well as documents for assisting companies to make credible renewable electricity consumption claims, as part of the RE100 campaign. It also highlighted the ground-level operational aspects of sourcing, installing and integrating renewable electricity in different scenarios.

CDP went on to champion RE100 webinars providing market insights from expert speakers and peer companies. Binu Sekhar, VP Corporate Real Estate & Logistics, Swiss Re, a founding member of RE100, spoke of bullish trends in the renewable energy market in India, and stated that Swiss Re will achieve its RE100 target before 2020.

RE100, led by The Climate Group in partnership with CDP, brings together “a growing group of major, influential companies from around the world who have set a target to source 100% renewable electricity. The global campaign recently reached its 100 member milestone, with companies from a wide range of sectors and operations around the world creating around 146 terawatt-hours in demand for renewable electricity annually – about as much as it takes to power Poland or New York State.

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