ONGC leads India’s renewable energy initiatives with Rs 2 trillion roadmap

ONGC has made a major announcement as part of its net zero emissions roadmap, with the state-owned firm planning to offset 9 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions by 2038. The ambitious plan will cost the company a whopping Rs 2 trillion, according to an announcement on Tuesday. ONGC, India’s largest oil and gas producer, is now the first fossil fuel company in the country to have outlined a detailed plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions over a set period. While other major Indian public sector companies, including Indian Oil, Indian Railways and Coal India, have committed to achieving net zero emissions, they are yet to share specific plans, according to global portal Net Zero Tracker.

ONGC’s move is in line with India’s broader goal of achieving net zero emissions by 2070. The 200-page roadmap presented by ONGC has a significant impact on the country’s overall climate goals. Other companies are likely to be encouraged to follow suit, following the example of the country’s leading oil and gas producer. Significant investments in renewable energy sources such as green hydrogen and offshore wind will not only reduce ONGC’s carbon footprint but also strengthen India’s transition towards clean energy.

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Technology Integration and Innovation

ONGC is also focused on integrating cutting-edge technology and fostering innovation to achieve its net-zero emissions goals. The company plans to leverage advances in carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies that can significantly reduce emissions from its current operations. Additionally, ONGC is investing in R&D to explore the potential of biofuels and advanced battery storage systems, providing a diverse and resilient approach to sustainable energy.

As part of its plan, ONGC has committed to significantly increasing its share of renewable energy. By 2029-30, it aims to set up 3.89 gigawatts of renewable capacity across projects in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Assam. This includes hybrid, offshore wind and small hydro. Over the next decade, this renewable capacity is expected to touch 6.03 GW, ultimately replacing dependence on natural gas and grid electricity for internal power generation.

Impact on the community and environment

ONGC’s commitment to sustainability goes beyond reducing carbon emissions. The company prioritizes the well-being of communities and the environment through various initiatives. It aims to undertake large-scale afforestation projects that will not only bind carbon but also improve biodiversity and support local livelihoods. Additionally, ONGC implements stringent environmental safeguards and monitoring mechanisms to minimize the impact of its operations on the surrounding ecosystems.

The financial commitment is significant, with a planned investment of Rs 97,000 crore by 2030. This will be followed by an additional outlay of Rs 65,000 crore and Rs 38,000 crore by 2035 and 2038, respectively. Green hydrogen accounts for the lion’s share of the Rs 2 trillion investment plan, with Rs 80,000 crore allocated. Offshore wind projects are a close second with Rs 49,000 crore, while onshore wind and solar projects will get a combined Rs 30,000 crore.

To accelerate its journey towards net zero emissions, ONGC is partnering with global energy leaders and technology providers. These partnerships are designed to share expertise, technology and best practices, enabling ONGC to implement the most effective and efficient solutions. By working with international partners, ONGC aims to remain at the forefront of the global energy transformation and contribute to the global efforts to combat climate change.

India’s Energy Goals

India has set ambitious net-zero carbon emissions targets by 2070 and is using resources intensively to achieve these goals. The government’s first priority is to reduce coal’s use of total power. India is making progress towards this goal, with coal’s share of total power falling below 50% for the first time since 1966 in May this year. However, adverse weather conditions and rising demand for energy mean the country still relies on coal for more than 70% of its electricity generation.

On the other hand, renewable energy accounted for 71.5% of India’s record generating capacity of 13,669 megawatts (MW) in January-March, according to the quarterly POWERup report by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA).

ONGC’s massive investment in renewable energy is expected to yield significant economic benefits and create numerous employment opportunities. The development of renewable projects will boost local economies by providing employment in construction, operations and maintenance. Moreover, the focus on green technologies will encourage the development of new industries and skill sets, contributing to India’s economic diversification and resilience.

Renewable energy sector

The government and policymakers are now focusing on increasing the share of renewable energy, leading to a boom in the renewable energy sector. India has announced a record 69 gigawatts (GW) of tenders for utility-scale renewable energy projects in fiscal 2024, far exceeding the government’s ambitious target of 50 GW.

India is also doing exceptionally well in solar power, ranking third globally in solar power generation, trailing only China and the US, according to Ember’s fifth annual Global Electricity Review of 80 countries. This achievement underscores solar’s ​​dominance as the world’s fastest-growing source of electricity for the 19th consecutive year. As India aims to become energy independent by 2047, the adoption of green hydrogen and its derivatives has also become crucial.

Energy prospects to 2030

Thanks to investor-friendly policy initiatives, India currently ranks fourth in the world in terms of installed renewable energy capacity. Solar and wind power are leading India’s energy transformation journey. By 2030, India appears well-positioned to achieve its renewable energy target of 500 GW installed capacity and achieve 50% of its cumulative installed electricity capacity from clean energy sources. India’s energy scenario by 2030 is expected to be a mix of both renewable and conventional energy sources, with a gradual transition to cleaner energy.

ONGC’s net zero emissions roadmap is closely aligned with the policy support and incentives offered by the Indian government. The company is taking advantage of various government programs to promote the adoption of renewable energy sources, including subsidies, tax breaks and simplified regulatory processes. This policy support is crucial for ONGC to achieve its ambitious targets and for India to effectively meet its national climate commitments.

The upcoming budget on July 23 is crucial for the energy sector. As the country aims to achieve 500 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2030, the budget must lay a solid foundation for a sustainable future. By addressing key challenges and providing the necessary impetus to grow renewable energy, thermal power and new energy sources, the government can cement a sustainable and self-reliant future for India.