Electrifying efforts towards clean energy
According to the latest research by London-based environmental think tank Ember, the CO2 emissions from the global electric power sector surged past pre-pandemic levels in the first half of 2021. The analysis also found that the electricity demand and emissions are now 5% higher than the pre- Covid-19 outbreak. The analysis raise questions like-are we on the right track of so-called “green recovery”?
The International Energy Agency forecasts that coal generation will rebound in 2021 because of the rising demand for electricity. It is noteworthy that five G-20 countries had more than 75% of their electricity supplied from fossil fuels last year and Asia currently generates 77% of the world’s coal electricity. This is an ironic situation, where despite coal’s record drop during the pandemic, we are still falling short of the requirement.
Talking about India, last week, India’s power minister R.K. Singh asked officials to consider diverting coal to power plants with extremely depleted stocks. The minister also indicated that India’s electricity demand is likely to increase further and suggested utilities consider blending imported coal with local fuel to address the shortages.
As per the data from the Central Electricity Authority, more than half of India’s 135 coal-fired power plants had less than a week’s supply of coal left. This is certainly a matter of concern for the Indian economy. Such shortages occur periodically in India. So, what’s the solution? Though companies are taking the best measures to meet the green target, there is an immediate need to build sufficient clean electricity, while replacing coal simultaneously and gradually. Recently, Mukesh Ambani, Chairman and Managing Director of Reliance Industries said that India can be the first country to bring down the cost of green hydrogen to $1 per kg within a decade. The 1-1-1 target is a push towards achieving green hydrogen through alternate energy. RIL has also announced to invest Rs 75,000 crore in clean energy technology. Such initiatives are encouraging steps towards meeting the sustainability goals in India.
The 1-1-1 target looks impressive but can be achieved when we have a robust policy framework that supports our country’s developing infrastructure. Moreover, the latest technologies to burn carbon-free hydrogen should also be looked upon to achieve a green mission.
When we talk about coal and energy, the cement industry cannot be ignored. Cement is indispensable for construction activity and is highly energy- and emissions-intensive because of the extreme heat required to produce it. To heat kilns, we need coal, natural gas, oil, and the combustion of these fuels produces additional CO2 emissions.
As per the latest Icra report, major cement companies will invest up to Rs 1,700 crore in two fiscal years ending March 2022 to set up 175 MW of waste heat recovery system (WHRS) capacities for saving power costs. Our cover story has discussed the green topic in detail, and it is an interesting fact to discover that Indian cement players are gearing up to reduce their carbon footprint by introducing the best technology, processes, and alternative fuels. We look forward to witnessing how cement companies will elevate their measures in the coming years to meet the net-zero mission.
Pratap Padode, Founder & Editor in Chief