India's Corporates Have Potential to Add 25 GW of Renewable Energy by 2023_ GWEC Session

The Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) hosted a webinar to discuss the scenario and scope of adoption of renewable energy by India’s corporate sector.

The session ‘Corporates in the Global Energy Transition’ focused on corporate sourcing of renewable energy and its role in transforming India’s energy dynamics.

The speakers in the session included Divya Sharma, Executive Director-India at the Climate Group; Mayank Bansal, President of strategy & operations at ReNew Power; Bhavna Prasad, Director- sustainable business at WWF-India; Shailesh Telang, Technical Manager at CDP India; Paul Curnow, Partner at Baker McKenzie (Sydney), and Andrew Zaw, Local Principle at Baker McKenzie (Singapore).

While discussing the challenges and opportunities of selling renewable energy to the corporates in India, ReNew’s Mayank Bansal stated that corporate businesses consume almost 50% of the country’s energy generation and that there is a scope of 25 GW of renewable energy adoption by them by the end of 2023.

“Corporates have many options if they want to shift towards the use of renewable energy. Still, only 3% of corporate companies use renewable energy to satisfy their energy needs. A sense of commitment and urgency from the corporate sector to shift towards renewable energy is currently lacking,” he added.

Talking about the government’s recent move to introduce renewable energy complemented with thermal for round-the-clock power, Bansal said that this could provide a good opportunity for corporates to move towards sustainability. “Even if it offers 70-80% of renewable energy while the rest comes from conventional sources, it’s a forward movement for the company,” he explained.

According to the panelists, barriers like inconsistent policy, different regulations across states, cross-subsidy surcharges, and additional charges are some of the biggest challenges for the uptake of renewable energy by corporates.

The session also discussed the alternatives like business to business (B2B) trading, green tariff models, corporate power purchase agreements (PPA), and virtual PPAs, which corporates could explore to increase renewable sourcing.

While discussing energy trading and financial PPAs, Paul Curnow said, “India is a significant driver of corporate PPAs globally. PPAs flourished as a few states waived off open access charges on renewable energy in 2017-18, but it declined 30-35% after 2018 as most of the states applied open access charges again.”

WWF’s Bhavna Prasad also added that one of the primary reasons for the slow adoption of renewable energy in India is the weak financial standing of DISCOMs. Prasad said that the open access power transactions take away DISCOMs’ premium clients, making them reluctant towards encouraging this mechanism. Read more about India’s open access segment and its challenges here.

“The introduction of the real-time market (RTM) is expected to benefit corporate PPAs in India as prices in the RTM are likely to be more efficient than the cost of procurement of power from the bilateral arrangements. RTM will also allow more options to structure corporate PPAs with virtual PPAs,” he added.

Real-time market (RTM) trading platforms are used widely across the world. RTMs are designed as half-hourly markets comprising 48 auction sessions of 15 minutes each. Auction sessions are conducted at even time blocks on the hour, and delivery commences one hour after the trade session is closed.

Curnow stated that the new amendments in the Electricity Bill 2020, including National Renewable Energy Policy and National Tariff Policy, could allow consistent policy for renewable energy trading across the states. Mercom recently analyzed the amendments in the electricity act that could transform the renewable industry.