Sustainable Pathways for Industrial Energy Use in India – Route 2

Biomass-based energy sources as alternatives for Industrial energy

Biomass-based energy potential in India

In the last article, the Renewable Energy share of the Indian Power sector was overviewed. Further to the discussion on industrial consumption and Waste Heat Recovery scenarios, this article delves into another alternative energy source. Given earlier that 50 per cent of the energy consumption in India is owed to the industries, the sector holds vast possibilities in shifting towards a low carbon future. General practice among the farming community of the North-West region of India is stubble burning. Stubble is the stalk of cereal crops left sticking out of the ground after the grain is harvested. A controversy has erupted between various entities that this practice has been a major contributor to the steep levels of air pollution in the National Capital Region (NCR). Irrespective of whether the reason holds sufficient water, it is important to note the significant potential biomass waste holds for meeting power demands. The Punjab state is one of the largest producers of rice. Rice being a cereal crop, once the grain is harvested, it leaves behind a stubble that some members of the farming community believe is easier to get rid of by burning, rather than arranging labour or tools to pluck it out. A report submitted by a Supreme Court appointed Authority stated that incentives allotted per unit were unviable for a farmer to avoid burning of stubble.(1)

Looking away from the problems and searching for solutions, many industries have built themselves into energy producers, by taking advantage of a blame game situation. Taking into account the calorific value of such crops, the waste holds key to unlocking alternative energy sources for industrial captive use or distribution of energy. A study by the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Bangalore found that biomass availability in terms of agricultural residue in India ranged between 120 and 150 million tonnes per year. The Indian Power Ministry observed that India holds the potential to generate nearly 18,000 MW of power from biomass(2). This number is nearly equivalent to twice the power demand of the state of Karnataka (3).

Rural Greenification through biomass energy

The advantage of biomass-based power generation is that it is a process of cogeneration of power. Apart from the generation of electricity, it also generates heat that can be utilized for other industrial processes. Rural industries can make significant use of this concept to reduce their external energy dependency, and by introducing such concepts, they can further increase their renewable energy share. An observation by the Power Ministry of India found a clean energy scenario wherein rural industries could support themselves with 7000-8000MW of power generation through bagasse based
cogeneration in sugar mills. Biogas is another derivative from bio-based or organic waste in rural areas that can meet domestic needs such as cooking and hot water. Biogas plants have the advantage of being set up on small scales in villages, where the community can contribute their biomass waste to generate biogas for supply through local distribution pipes. Rural areas have the disadvantage of not being able to consistently receive gas distribution such as LPG, CNG and LNG from the state due to logistics and supply issues. Biogas can set off an independent evolution among villages to become self-sufficient and sustainable.

Pros and Cons of the biomass energy future

The disadvantage that biomass power holds over fossil fuel-derived power is the supply chain reliability. Biomass availability may not be year-round depending on the crop whereas coal mining is perennial. Crops yield biomass residue according to their growth cycles and hence a consistent supply chain holds a challenge against the adoption of the concept.

Biomass-based power holds a unique advantage over conventional renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power. Where solar and wind are generally viewed as having intermittent sources, biomass power can be observed to be much more consistent. In addition, biomass power can serve as a baseload for the power demand in contrast to solar and wind power serving the peak loads. Storage is relatively easier in case of biomass, by the simple concept of storing the raw material itself as compared to solar and wind, which require storing of the electricity using batteries or other forms of storage, which are not completely sustainable and much more expensive. Through effective planning and collaboration, biomass can overcome supply chain challenges. Biomass based power can certainly hold an upper hand being carbon neutral as compared to both fossil fuels and other conventional renewables where the supply is intermittent or variable. Biomass power has the potential to turn India greener, both in the urban areas and the rural.

List Of Reference :

[1] The Hindu, Online News Article dated 01 October 2020
[2], From The Economic Times
[3] Power Ministry of India,

Circular Economy

Circular Economy: A Substitute for Linear Economy Understanding the crucial need to shift towards a Circular Economy

Global warming coupled with climate change has created acute global sustainability problems which require immediate attention. The only feasible and reliable solution for the situation that has emerged over the last few decades is an alternative economic approach—shifting from the unidirectional economic model, i.e., Linear Economy (LE) to Circular Economy (CE). Before we dive into Circular Economy and its importance, let’s have a microscopic view of Linear Economy and its disadvantages.

Linear Economy: No light at the end of this tunnel

A linear economy is commonly known as the “take-make-dispose” economic model. It can be defined as an economy where raw materials are processed to be transformed into finished products. The products are used by the consumers according to their needs/preferences and finally, thrown away as waste. The value or revenue in this model is generated from the production and sale of the products.
In a linear economic model, all the raw materials collected to create the products are finally disposed of in landfills. Theoretically, a successful linear economy is sustainable in the future only if there is an infinite supply of raw materials. Unfortunately, this is far from the truth. The steady decline of essential raw materials has already begun, shifting the balance of demand and supply.

The present economy is only profitable by continuous extraction of resources and consumption of products. But a vast majority of virgin resources are finite and are bound to get exhausted. And when it does, the linear economy will collapse, irrespective of how profitable or valuable it is.
Furthermore, let’s consider an ideal situation of being blessed with an infinite supply of raw materials. We will still be plagued with a colossal amount of discarded products that negatively impact the environment and need exorbitant management techniques to store the waste. Evident from the alarming global sustainability issue and burdened with the knowledge that demand will never stop, economists ventured to find a solution to the quintessential question—how to grow the economy without exhausting our planet’s resources? The environmental deterioration cannot be ignored, nor can we afford to give up our way of living. Where do we draw the line? Where is the middle ground to economic sustainability?

Circular Economy: The stairway to a sustainable future

The circular economy is a disciplined strategy to a regenerative economic design that is advantageous to businesses, society, and the environment or, simply put—benefits people, profit, and the planet.

Unlike the linear economy, which is unidirectional, a circular economy is cyclic. It’s a “take-make-recycle” model aimed at reducing the consumption of finite resources without affecting the value generated from them. Circular economy has numerous benefits —both environmental and economic when compared to the current linear economy.

Environmental Merits

A circular economy constructively aids our environmental improvement goals by the ripple effect. It reduces greenhouse gas emissions due to decreased use of raw materials; Less raw materials used results in minimized resource extraction by up to 70%; A scale down in resource extraction and production reduces the pollution and landfill overflow. [1] Additionally, overall reduced production and disposal of products significantly lessens the land use, soil, water, and air pollution, and helps in climate change. Following the circular economy model in the agricultural arena boosts the soil nutrient value and health. When the waste is returned to the soil through anaerobic processes or composting, the ecosystem balance is restored. [1]

Economic Merits

Economically, circular economy can be a game-changer. In a resource-dependent linear economy, companies often face the price volatility of raw materials due to geopolitical crises and untold environmental crisis. However, circular economy eases companies’ dependency on raw materials and aids them to become more resilient and less risk-driven. [1]

The circular economy can reshape the current business model. Products no longer needed to be owned by the customers; instead can be rented or leased depending upon the type of products and need of the customers. Manufacturers remain responsible for the products, and they only rent their service to the customers. This leads to a radical change in building and maintaining the products since engineers and designers know how to take care of the products to make them last longer. This service-based model also increases consumer interaction and can promote more customer satisfaction and loyalty. [1]

A prime factor in a circular economy is that revenue is not directly proportional to resource consumption, leading to products and materials becoming more functional, reusable, and repairable. New revenue-generating services are created, which potentially increases the GDP and, therefore, the economic growth. [1]

Businesses also profit from reduced energy consumption, lower input costs, cutting costs off with
waste, etc. Profit opportunities are immense in a circular economy; all it needs is proper
understanding and implementation. [1]

The roadmap ahead begins by looking behind

Although the term is recently coined, the concept of circular economy has been around for centuries. When humans lived in sync with Mother Nature and considered ourselves a part of the earthly life cycle respecting nature for its countless blessings, the circular economy was functional, albeit in its crude form.

A sustainable human society needs a sustainable economy. Circular economy out guns linear economy and is a much better substitute to the economic sustainability problem. It’s about time we re-embrace our relationship with nature and use the technology and tools at our disposal to create a sustainable economy that not only benefits this generation but generations to come.


  1. Youmatter. 2021. Circular Economy – Definition, Principles, Benefits and Barriers. [online]
    Available at: [Accessed 31 March 2021].

Sustainable Pathways for Industrial Energy Use in India -Route 1

Waste Heat derived power for the Indian Industries apart from the conventional renewables.

Industrial Renewable Energy Scenario in India

The energy scenario of India is being widely viewed as a fast-growing one as well as one that is being optimistically looked at in terms of growing share of renewables in the mix. As of March 2021, the Power Ministry of India stated that the Renewable Energy Sources (RES) made up only 24.5% of the total installed capacity. The Renewable energy examples include a wide range of energy sources including biomass-based sources, waste power sources other than the typical solar and wind projects. Adding hydro projects as well as nuclear power sources, the share of sustainable energy climbs to nearly 39 (1).

By analyzing the energy consumption levels across the various sectors in India, industrial energy use tends to dominate over the rest of the sectors. A 2017 study by TERI found that industrial energy consumption accounts for nearly 50% of the total pie(2). The sector awaits large scale adoption of energy efficient technologies and techniques to reduce the consumption. As a critical factor, it is to be noted that energy optimization and energy efficiency is just as important as deriving energy from renewables. Considering energy guzzling industries such as the cement and steel industries, the methods used to achieve such high temperatures are still reliant on age-old furnace technologies. In addition, excess waste heat is generally let off, thereby missing the opportunity to utilize the high thermal potential. This situation highlights the possibilities of optimizing industrial energy systems.

Current Renewable energy Market among Indian Industries

Many industries are adopting Solar PV solutions to meet their energy demands. This canbe owed to the greater feasibility of the technology integration, where the technology itself has become more economically attractive as well as policies being in favour of the adoption. The net metering scheme has been viewed as an opportunity to mitigate the high power tariffs for industrial and commercial entities. In addition, the 25 years performance and longevity of the Solar PV Modules can bring value as a long-term hedging against hikes in power tariffs. Solar PV Grid-Connected systems also pose the possibility of being easily installed on rooftops of the facilities as compared to wind energy technologies which require complex regional assessments before installation.

Hence, it has been widely observed that industries prefer to either install Solar PV Grid-Connected systems or in other cases, perform the ‘wheeling’ process allowing the formation of energy contracts with clean energy producers. The process allows the industrial stakeholder to pay for the energy according to the contract terms to the energy producer and also pay the DISCOM entities for the distribution network facility. This forms a trilateral Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) between the parties.

Alternative Green Energy Pathways for the Future

Although Solar PV is a clean energy technology, the large-scale adoption has brought a new perspective to be taken care of, that is, recycling of Solar PV Modules. With gigawatts of modules having been installed and more to be commissioned, following the 25 to 30 years life of a PV module, recycling has been considered a herculean task owing to the toxicity of silicon used in its pure form. Although perovskite solar cells are being researched on, commercial deployment is yet a few years down the road, by which time more Silicon based Solar PV Modules will be installed. Wind turbines on the other hand also pose environmental threats to birds, local habitats and other life-forms. Noise generated by wind turbines has also in some cases been viewed as to cause environmental damage. Another point to consider is that Solar PV and Wind RES are intermittent and can never be considered to meet the demands of a base load. Storage of energy from these sources is essential in order to meet base load demands, which will not only make the system expensive but also ecologically unsustainable, as bulky lead acid or the lighter lithium battery technologies are not yet considered to be clean. Sustainable development is brought about by long term visions rather than short term benefits, and hence, greener future-oriented alternatives need to be considered. In a country like India, where stubble burning, food waste and biomass based waste is available a stone’s throw away, industries could consider adopting technologies that use such sources. A study by the MNRE in 2015 found that anywhere between 20% to 50% of the input energy for an industry is let out as waste heat into the environment(3).

Considering that in 2015, the industrial sector accounted for 532 billion units (kWh), 20% of it would mean nearly 107 billion units was wasted. Many industries which have a high thermal energy intensity for their production, have been emitting the heat in an untapped way to the surrounding environment. Cement kilns, iron and steel production, brick kilns use temperatures over 400 C in most cases, and the exhaust flue gases from these industries are typically at such high temperatures. These exhaust not only cause damage to the surroundings, but also hold critical thermal energy going unutilized. The waste heat can be reused directly and, in some cases industrial electricity requirements can be met by producing electricity from generators using the waste heat based steam. Waste heat recovery technologies have the ability to derive heat from these waste heat sources and supply it to heat generation systems, where it could reduce the overall energy input. The system can be effectively optimized, hence, enhancing the overall energy efficiency.

The industrial excess energy could also be supplied through a piping network to distribute heat to local communities and other industries for their heating demands. These scenarios could not only cut down on input energy costs, but also serve as an additional revenue stream. Hence, sustainable alternatives are not only about being the greener choice, but also about envisioning a long term solution both ecologically and economically. A wise industrial stakeholder will always eye the opportunity to strike two birds with one stone, metaphorically speaking, as taking the sentence figuratively is still considered
environmental damage.

List Of References

[1] Ministry of Power, Government of India (
[2] NITI Aayog (
[3] MNRE, Government of India (


Presenting the NAPCC: India’s strive towards sustainability

Know more about the eight initiatives that make up India’s tools for fighting climate change.

“Sustainability is a global issue, yada yada yada…” Yeah. We know you know. From Greta Thunberg’s powerful speech at the UN to the 2016 Paris Agreement, every step counts – big or small. The solidification of the UNFCCC – United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (the father organization of the Paris Agreement) made it clear that all countries had to step up their climate action game ASAP.

A ticking time bomb awaits for all its participating nations to prevent the average temperature from rising beyond 2 degree Celsius as per the contract [1]. As per the latest reports by UN’s IPCC(Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), “Climate change is already affecting every inhabited region across the globe with human influence contributing to many observed changes in weather and climate extremes.” [6]

India’s fight with climate change

Naturally (and proudly so), India ratified the Paris treaty, thereby becoming one of 197 nations contributing in tackling the climate issue [2].

Hold your horses there! What about India’s independent climate and sustainability initiatives to reduce our country’s overall impact? Say hello to NAPCC – the National Action Plan on Climate Change.
Say what?

You heard it right. Released in June 2008, India’s NAPCC is a wide range of eight missions created with the aim of raising awareness and mitigating the hazards of climate change (3). It includes long term goals to regulate and implement sustainable development goals to achieve national growth while being climate sensitive.This set of missions includes the following.

1. National Solar Mission

Launched in 2010, the National Solar Mission’s main focus is to increase the country’s use of solar energy. Its definitive goal includes reaching a point of parity between the cost of solar and thermal energy by 2022 while making it more affordable and accessible for public use, especially in electricity-starved parts of the country.

2. National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency

Solidified in 2009 and governed by the Ministry of Power, the mission’s main goal is to improve energy efficiency as a whole and make it more cleaner and affordable to use while promoting more energy-efficient products.

3. National Mission on Sustainable Habitat

Approved in 2011, the National Mission on Sustainable Habitat aims at creating sustainable and climate-friendly cities to make the country a more “sustainable habitat”. The idea is to enforce green laws that mitigate climate change and ensure smooth functioning of systems such as adequate waste management, public facilities, urban planning and design and the works.

4. National Water Mission

It’s safe to say that rivers are the heart of our nation and this mission seeks to control and reduce water wastage, distribute equally across the country and increase overall efficiency in use. It aims to assess areas that are water-deficient, over-exploited and find innovative methods of water extraction and desalination.
Need to get the basics right, don’t we?

5. National Mission for Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem

Hello Himalayas! This mountain range is a structure of national pride and this mission aims to maintain its gloss. Focus areas include understanding the impact of the range to our climate and geography, maintaining its ecosystem and preserving its rich biodiversity and wildlife.

6. National Mission for a Green India

As the name suggests, this mission aims to preserve and enhance India’s “green” cover – aka our forests, already diminishing at a rapid rate. Activities include afforestation, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, preserving our biodiversity, etc.

7. National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture

Agriculture makes up to two thirds of the country’s livelihood and this mission’s focus is to enhance India’s agricultural practices and make it climate-change resistant. This includes a mix of old and newer techniques, biotechnology, methods of rainwater harvesting, organic farming, micro-irrigation and using new crop and pesticide varieties.

8. National Mission on Strategic Knowledge for Climate Change

Knowledge is power and this mission aims to improve the country’s overall knowledge and research on fighting climate change while maintaining high national growth [5].

To wrap it up

Change is happening and missions have been put up (with good intentions), but it is only with efficient implementation that we can see results. Fingers crossed, eh?

List of References

  1. The Paris Agreement, UNFCC. Accessed August 11, 2021.
  2. Denchak,M. 2021. Paris Climate Agreement: Everything you need to know | NRDC. Accessed August 11, 2021.
  3. Climate Change Program, Ministry of Science and Technology.. Accessed August 11, 2021.
  4. India Today Web Desk, 2018, 8 govt missions under National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) designed to heal India. Accessed August 11, 2021.
  5. National Action Plan on Climate Change, 2019, Dhristi. Accessed on August 11, 2021 from. Accessed August 11, 2021.
  6. Summary for Policymakers, 2021, The Intergovernmental Policy on Climate Change. Accessed August 13, 2021.

Climate Change in India: The success story of UNFCC and COP till now.

The Battle against Climate Change is still on. With the world getting modernized everyday so does climate change. And it’s not the first time when the decision makers are coming together to discuss strategies to conquer climate change. Let’s see what COP27 will hold for India?

Posted by Carbon Mandal, co-authored by Gaurav January 4, 2023

Do you know?
Despite having “above normal” precipitation at 6% this year there was a fall in an average of Summer Corp due to skewed distribution in the crucial July-August period left large rain deficits in the Gangetic plains resulting in drought in 6 states including Bihar, UP and Jharkhand.[1]

Sounds alarming right?
To answer the above-mentioned case let’s have a quick revision of the term “Climate Change”.

Climate Change is the term used to describe changes in the planet’s typical climate mostly brought on by human activity. The sustainability of the planet’s ecosystems, the future of humanity, and the stability of the global economy are all at risk as a result of the unbalanced weather on Earth. And it’s not only India that is facing such issues, Climate change is one of the largest and most complex problems the world has ever faced.

UNFCC – A convention for climate change relief
It all started when several developed and developing nations began gathering on one stage to talk about the effects and solutions to climate change. Andthey named it as The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which was intended to address “dangerous human interference with the climate system,” is the context for which the annual United Nations Climate Change Conferences take place. They also serve as the Conference of the Parties, or COP, which is the official gathering of UNFCCC parties.[2]

Going back in time
In the mid-1990s, COP meetings used to happen to discuss the Kyoto Protocol, an international treaty extended in 1992 by UNFCCC committing state parties to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

But, it was during COP 21, after the agreement of 194 members of the UNFCCC Parties, Paris Agreement came into existence with a goal of a maximum increase in global average temperature of 1.5 degrees.To meet the terms of the agreement, we must reduce our global greenhouse gas emissions from the present 55 billion tonnes of CO2 annually to 8.5 billion tonnes of CO2 annually by 2050. By 2030, we need to reduce carbon emissions by 50%. Exactly eight years left till that.[3]

A recap of COP26:
Over 40,000 people registered to attend the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow (COP26), which featured 120 world leaders. The science, the solutions, the political will to move, and the obvious signs of action were all the topics of the world for two weeks.

Global greenhouse gas emission reductions are still far short of what is required to maintain a habitable climate, and assistance for the most vulnerable nations suffering from the effects of climate change is still woefully inadequate.[4]

But COP26 did produce new “building blocks” for putting the Paris Agreement into action, enabling the world to advance on a more sustainable, low-carbon path. In this agreement, we decided to move toward achieving net zero, reduce world average temperature to 1.5 C, adopt renewable energy sources, and reaffirm developing countries’ commitment to providing financial assistance to other nations in achieving the goal.

India’s stand at COP 26:
[3]India being one of the fastest developing countries in the world, and 3rd highest economy plays a very significant role in providing the world a more sustainable future. Therefore, India in COP 26 presented its Panchamrit for climate action, as followed:

By 2030, reach a non-fossil energy capacity of 500GW. By 2030, renewable energy will provide 50% of its energy needs. Reduction of one billion tonnes of the world’s estimated carbon emissions between now and 2030.

Reduction of the economy’s carbon intensity by 45% from 2005 levels by 2030. Achieving net zero emissions by 2070 is the goal.

Moving to COP27:
Building on recent successes from COP26 held in Glasgow in 2021, the primary issues stated on COP27’s agenda include nature, food, water, industrial decarbonization, and climate adaptation.

The entire world looked to the Sharm El-Sheikh event to give momentum to climate action after over a year of environmental disasters, shared experience of tragedy, and a previous edition that was roundly lambasted by environmentalists and the most vulnerable people as a failure. COP27 must be about implementation if COP26 was about building up the framework and providing advice. [4]

And the big question?
What will be the in COP 27 for India and the whole world. To know more about it stay tuned!
What will be the implications & ramifications of COP27 on India and the world at large? Subcribe to our newsletter to get weekly updates from the worls of sustainability & not missout on the COP27 sequel.

List of References

1.) Mohan, V. (2022). Monsoon 2022 ‘above normal’ but agriculture takes a hit. Times of India.

2.) 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference. (2022, November 11). In Wikipedia.

3.) Climate finance: What India aims to achieve at COP27. Indian Express.

4.) THE GREAT EXPECTATIONS: WHAT SHOULD COP27 ADDRESS AND ACHIEVE? Base.,held%20in%20Glasgow%20in%202021.


Give me some sunshineft. the National Solar Mission

Throwing some “light” on India’s tryst with solar power

Now that we’ve got the basics of what the NAPCC (National Action Plan on Climate Change) is all about, let’s move on to the specifics, shall we?

The Solar Dream

We’re talking about the National Solar Mission, also known as the JNNSM (Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission) launched in 2010. It was set up to make a cleaner source of energy more accessible and affordable in the form of solar power, eventually achieving grid parity.

Situated in the tropics, India’s scope to use solar energy and awaken the dark, power-stricken parts of the country is very high. This mission aims to unlock that potential.

Goals and ambitions

India envisions itself as an industry leader in solar power. To achieve the same, the mission has been set across 3 phases wherein targets are evaluated at the end of each phase and revised accordingly. They are:
Phase 1 (2010 – 2013)
Phase 2 (2014 – 2017)
Phase 3 (2017 – 2022)

Some of the overall targets that the mission sets to achieve by 2022 include:
● Setting a framework to install 20,000 MW of grid-connected solar power
(1000 MW by 2013, 4000 MW by 2017, respectively)
● 20 million solar lighting systems available for India’s rural population
● Increase solar thermal production for indigenous purposes
● Achieve 20 million sq. meters worth of solar thermal collector
(devices that can collect heat by trapping sunlight) by area [1].

The exact estimates can be viewed below [2]:

Application Segment

1. Solar Collectors
2. Off-grid solar applications
3. Utility grid power, including roof top

Phase 1 target

7 million sq.meters

200 MW

1,000-2000 MW

Phase 2 target

15 million sq.meters

1,000 MW

4,000-10,000 MW

Phase 3 target

20 million sq.meters

2,000 MW

20,000 MW

Can you feel the heat?

National Solar Mission progess check

Some good news – Having surpassed its target of reaching 20,000 MW of grid power earlier than predicted, India has now revised its goal to 100 GW by 2022. For perspective, this is 5 times the originally set target [3]. 40 GW has already been achieved (as of March 2021).

As per the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, “a target of 2000 MWp was kept for off-grid solar PV applications. Under the Phase-I of the Mission from 2010-13, a target of 200 MWp was kept against which 253 MWp was sanctioned and under Phase-II from 2013 – 17, a target of 500 MWp was kept against which 713 MWp has been sanctioned. Under Phase-III, a target of 118 MW has been kept.” Other solar applications include over 2,50,000 solar pumps, 8,00,000 street lights, 7 million solar lanterns and 17 million home lights [4].

State-wise, Kerala, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Telangana and Tamil Nadu are reigning at the top with installed capacity ranging from 7,000 MW – 4,000 MW. On the negative, low – performers include the North-East, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, J&K & Uttarakhand (the lowest at negligible installed capacity) The real-time graph of which can be viewed here
One last thing –

Ever heard of solar parks? We have the largest one in the country, in the making as you read this. Set in Kutch, it is said to have a capacity of 4750 MW [5]. The largest ones till before this – the Bhadla plant in Rajasthan having a capacity of 2250 MW and the Pavagada plant in Karnataka with a capacity of 2050 MW are now fully operational [6] [7]. But, there are concerns too. The Charanka solar park, also in Gujarat, set out to be the first in the country but failed to deliver many promises, not even having developed roads, hospitals or a school. Few are employed and in the past 10 years, not much has changed. Fingers crossed history doesn’t repeat itself? [8].

P.S. – India has managed to surpass Italy, achieving the 5th global position in installing solar power.
Just saying.

What next?

A lot has been done, a lot needs to be done. The big picture looks great (seriously, applaud) but it leaves us with a few questions. Will India hit the target of reaching 100 GW in less than 2 years? Will the solar park learn from its counterpart’s mistakes? Will the rural side finally see light?
Only time will tell.

Do you think India could successfully achieve 100GW solar capacity targets at this pace? Write to us and let us know on!

Willing to take action and grow your business? Connect with our Carbon Mandal sustainability professionals Click here

List of References

  1. Mission Document, Solar Energy Corporation of India Ltd.. Accessed August 30, 2021.
  2. Mission Document, Solar Energy Corporation of India Ltd.. Accessed August 30, 2021.
  3. Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (Phase I, II and III), 2021, IEA. Accessed August 30, 2021.
  4. Solar Energy, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy. Accessed September 1, 2021.
  5. Press Release 2021. NTPC to set up India’s single largest solar park at Rann of Kutch, NTPC.. Accessed September 02, 2021.
  6. Ranjan.R, 2019. World’s Largest Solar Park at Karnataka’s Pavagada is Now Fully Operational, Mercom India. Accessed September 05, 2021.
  7. Sirur.S, 2021. How Gujarat is building ‘world’s largest’ solar power park, close to its border with Pakistan, The Print. Accessed September 02, 2021.
  8. Sanjay.P, 2020. With 2,245 MW of Commissioned Solar Projects, World’s Largest Solar Park is Now at Bhadla, Mercom India. Accessed September 05, 2021.

Understanding the significance of environmental footprint for organisations

Measuring environmental footprint provide organisations an upper hand in the sustainability game

Human beings and the environment have always co-existed in a very delicate balance. Our basic needs and necessities ultimately not only affect the availability of these supplies but also of the functioning of the Earth’s cycles to uphold a well maintained biosphere. The influence of all of these individual and collective decisions on human well-being are just as important as their influence on the environment.

When this balance is disturbed, i.e. when the planet runs on an ecological deficit, this phenomenon is called an “overshoot”. This is the estimated date when humanity’s annual resource use exceeds the Earth’s capacity to regenerate the same. Humanity today is only burdening the world by increasing consumption to the point where demand exceeds supply, preventing the planet from replenishing its resources before they can be consumed.

This results in a condition called environmental degradation, an occurrence due to depletion of resources such as quality air, water and soil, ecosystem destruction, habitat destruction, wildlife extinction, and many more. We are consuming 50% more natural resources than the Earth can replenish. At this rate,we’d need 1.5 Earths to support our existing population, something we can’t afford [1].

There is however, a way to challenge this. With the right means to measure the degradation, we have the power to undo a big chunk of the damage.

Environmental Footprint – The tool that gives you the power to reverse environmental degradation

An Environmental footprint is a quantifying factor of Human impact on the Earth’s ecosystem. The environmental footprint, also known as Ecological footprint is a well-known metric endorsed by significant governing bodies. It’s used globally by businesses to measure their business’s impact on the environment, understand their market foresight, set strategic direction and boost performance.

The Earth and its resources work in a very intricate model of supply and demand. From the demand viewpoint, the ecological footprint is used to measure an individual or the population’s demand for natural resources. From the supply viewpoint, it measures a city, state or even a nation’s biocapacity in terms of how much productive land and sea area there is for use.

An Environmental Impact Assessment is what maps the environmental footprint in a clear and concise manner. It’s performed by inspecting, analysing and assessing operations to guarantee the safe and sustainable development of the organisation while being able to predict consequences of the business’s practices. Some of the most crucial factors that are evaluated are the expected environmental, social, and economic effects.

Environmental assessment is the first step to sustainable development

Sustainability is now a growing requirement from governments, suppliers and customers. Quite evidently, global warming is going to be one of the biggest challenges for corporates. An Ecological Impact Assessment gives you the power to turn these challenges into opportunities. With the awareness of where an organisation has room to improve in, the assessment helps businesses make tactical choices in all departments. An assessment not only provides well compiled, detailed results through the means of a derived standard but also allows businesses to set precise and achievable targets and look for greener ways to function.

Businesses that choose to effectively utilise their resources have an upper hand. Not only does correctly assessing the ecological footprint mean long term corporate sustainability, it also helps reduce their operational costs drastically by effectively reducing the footprint. Quantifying impacts and identifying ways to switch to less carbon-intensive goods and processes are added perks. At an early stage, major environmental impacts of a project can be detected, prevented, remedied, or minimised. Apart from this, this helps analyse how businesses or regions will be hampered by lack of resources as well as where they can thrive in a resource-constrained world.

In simpler terms, the Ecological footprint helps recognise why environmental degradation is a problem and an Ecological footprint analysis can be a very helpful tool to educate people on how to be smarter and more efficient with the use of resources so as to not exhaust them as quickly. This is the best way for businesses and organisations to hop onto the sustainability bandwagon as anything that can be measured can definitely be changed.

List of References

  1. The World Counts, 2021. Accessed April 11, 2021.

Environmental Justice and Climate Action with C40

Nearly 100 cities all around the world are working in collaboration with the C40 organisation to construct future-proof sustainable infrastructures to mitigate the impacts of climate change.

Did you know that globally, cities occupy nearly 3% of the earth’s land and yet house over 50% of the world’s population, produce 70% carbon emissions, and consume 60% of resources? Rapid urbanization has contributed to a rise in the population living in cities, especially in slums. Consequently, basic infrastructures and services for waste management and sanitation, clean water, roads, public transport, and more to cater to the increasing city population are proving to be inadequate [1].

Unplanned urban development coupled with the population rise has also increased health-related problems. Covid-19 pandemic is a good case in point as over 90% of all cases have emerged from urban areas [2]. This is largely due to the proximity of living conditions.

Traffic congestion, industrial operations, landfills, burning of agricultural waste, etc., continue to affect the air quality in cities, forcing citizens to breathe pollution. Almost 99% of the global population is exposed to levels of air pollution that place them at risk for diseases like heart disease, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cancer, and pneumonia [3]. On the other hand, extreme weather events such as cyclones, urban floods wreak havoc every year, causing both economic and social crises. With such recurring negative impacts, it has become substantial to build resilient urban infrastructures that guarantee sustainability.

Today, there are multiple organizations in place to tackle these pressing issues of our time. One such organization acting upon this crucial matter by facilitating and guiding city officials all around the world is C40.

What is C40?

“A global network of mayors taking urgent action to confront the climate crisis and create a future where everyone can thrive [4].

What started with 18 megacities in 2005, now has 97 members making an effort to implement robust action plans to mitigate as well as adapt to the changing climate. These 97 cities belonging to the global south and north are working in collaboration with the C40 organisation to construct future-proof sustainable infrastructures to mitigate the impacts of climate change.

With a scientific and collaborative approach, the C40 aims to:
● Limit global warming to 1.5° C,
● Improve equity,
● Build resilience, and finally
● Provide good living conditions for all.

C40’s guiding principles are rooted in the goals set at the landmark 2015 Paris Agreement. Cities earn their membership by proving their participation in taking action.

What Advantages do these C40 members receive?

Understanding the significance of local geography, the C40 services and support are driven by the regional approach. Here are multiple ways in which the C40 is helping its member cities [5]:

● Through their climate action plans, just recovery agenda, high-impact declaration, and measures to construct inclusive and thriving cities, C40 is engaging with cities to adopt ambitious initiatives. This includes building regional capacity and competency for taking inclusive, equitable climate actions such that no one is marginalised.

● With a set of high-impact declarations (clean air, clean construction, zero waste, equity pledge, divestment from fossil fuels, job creation and more.), C40 encourages mayors to take high impact actions.

● With the help of C40’s global diplomacy and advocacy, city officials are encouraged to participate in regional and national political discussions. This is rooted in the belief to enhance their leadership and build fair economies when it comes to delivering climate and sustainability solutions.

● To shape a green economy, C40 supports cities in the divestment from fossil fuels. It works to improve climate finance and scale-up investments in infrastructures such as clean energy, zero-carbon building, waste management, public transport, etc. With consultation, research, technical assistance, workshops, project preparation, and more, C40 makes sure to equip cities with all the resources they might need.

● C40’s business and innovation programme also assists city officials to engage with the private sector to develop joint climate goals catering to their respective region of operation.

● C40’s ‘Global Green New Deal’ pilot programme seeks to have cities recognise the climate emergency and commit to the 1.5°C goals of the Paris Agreement. It lays out principles for member cities to put climate action in their decision-making while also encouraging political leaders, civil society, trade unions, CEOs, and investors to recognise the climate emergency.

● Realising the involvement of youth in pushing for climate action, C40 also provides a forum for global youth and mayors. The forum is a platform for discussions to work collectively for implementing the Global Green New Deal with a scientific approach and win over oppositions.

● As a track of the ‘Race to Zero’ campaign by the UN, C40 has developed the ‘Cities Race to Zero’. Here, the campaign influences cities to sign up for climate actions in line with the agendas of the 2015 Paris agreement.

As mentioned earlier, C40 delivers the action plan that aligns with the demands and is best suited to the city. This makes it easier and efficient to understand existing problems and influence relevant decision-making.

A Case in Point: Here’s how Mumbai is collaborating with the C40 Organization to take Climate Action

Mumbai is the only fifth Indian city besides Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkata, and Delhi to join the C40 network in 2020. Working in partnership with the C40, WRI, the environment department of Maharashtra, among others, Mumbai aims to identify vulnerable communities and increase resilience by introducing sector-specific strategies to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change.
The Mumbai Climate Action Plan has identified 6 focus areas to implement robust climate action programmes [6]:
1. Sustainable Waste Management
“Decentralizing waste management using a reduce, reuse & recycle approach”
2. Urban Greening and Biodiversity
“Adopting a scientific approach to the green cover across the city of Mumbai”
3. Urban Flooding and Water Resource Management
“Strategising to address water inequity and increasing flood risks”
4. Energy and Buildings
“Inspiring just transitions to clean energy along with financing innovation”
5. Air Quality
“Building strategies to mitigate air pollution in high-risk neighbourhoods”
6. Sustainable Mobility
“Modernizing public transportation to enable a shift to public transport”

Recently, the government of Maharashtra has been introducing comprehensive action plans for climate mitigation. One such initiative is to generate 250 MW of Solar energy (enough to power more than 2 lakh homes[7]) from the new Mumbai-Nagpur Highway[8].

The Government has also introduced the ‘Women4Climate’ Initiative with C40 to encourage the participation of women in taking climate action. Through the programme, 25 emerging women leaders will be supported to enhance their leadership skills and mobilize others to accelerate climate action [9].

Acknowledging Mumbai’s climate leadership, the Government of Maharashtra was awarded the Inspiring Regional Leadership Award by the Under2 Coalition at the 26th Conference of Parties (COP26) in Glasgow.

Considering the impact cities have on the planet, sustainable urban development is a key opportunity for mitigating the devastating impacts of climate change. One of the biggest threats is the rising of sea level due to the extent of global warming.

As per estimations, low-lying coastal cities such as Jakarta, Indonesia; Lagos, Nigeria; Houston, Texas; Dhaka, Bangladesh; Venice, Italy; Virginia Beach, Virginia; Bangkok, Thailand; New Orleans, Louisiana; Rotterdam, Netherlands; Alexandria, Egypt; etc., are the top 10 countries to disappear by the end of this century[10]. Major cities such as Mumbai, India; New York, The USA; Shanghai, China; etc are also on the brunt of going underwater by 2050![11].

Rapid, inclusive, and equitable urban environmental management for greenhouse gas mitigation, air pollution, urban flooding, clean energy and mobility, clean water and sanitation, among other matters is bound to reap benefits on all three fronts: Environment, Social, and Economic.

Smart and sustainable cities are the future. Cities must sign up and have organizations such as the C40 help them secure their future on the planet.

Willing to take action and grow your business? Connect with our Carbon Mandal sustainability professionals Click here

List of References

  1. United Nations Sustainable Development. 2021. Cities . Accessed December 1, 2021.
  2. 2021 . Accessed December 1, 2021.
  3. 2021. Air pollution . Accessed December 1, 2021.
  4. C40 Cities. 2021. C40 Cities – A global network of mayors taking urgent action to confront the climate crisis and create a future where everyone can thrive . Accessed December 1, 2021.
  5. C40 Cities. 2021. C40 Cities – A global network of mayors taking urgent action to confront the climate crisis and create a future where everyone can thrive . Accessed December 1, 2021.
  6. 2021 . Accessed December 1, 2021.
  7. News, C. and News, d., 2021. 1-MW solar power plant to light up 1,000 city homes | Delhi News – Times of India. . Accessed December 1, 2021.
  8. IndiaTimes. 2021. COP26: Maharashtra Wins Award For Climate Action, Becomes Only Indian State To Get Recognition . Accessed December 1, 2021.
  9. 2021. W4C – Women4Climate Mumbai . Accessed December 1, 2021.
  10. World Economic Forum. 2021. These 11 sinking cities could disappear by 2100 . Accessed December 1, 2021.
  11. 2021. Incredible places that will be underwater by 2050 | . Accessed December 1, 2021.