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“If we knew then, what we know now”, says Ashish Khanna in a Leadership Series EDGE Webinar

Published on September 04, 2022

Ashish Khanna, CEO, Tata Power Renewable Energy talks about the history, operations and impact of the renewable energy sector in the 359th EDGE webinar titled, ‘If We Knew Then, What We Know Now’ conducted on July 27, 2022. He begins with the global impact of climate change in the world; right from the heatwave in Europe to the forest fires in Australia, we are looking at a critical rise in temperature as early as 2060, which is four decades away.

He said, “The next generation will face the catastrophic impact. It’s bound to happen and will be detrimental to the existence of mankind. Everyone is scrambling toward action areas enabling focus on climate change plans and initiatives. In 2021 alone, 3000 companies have pledged the ‘Net Zero Emissions’ with a particular year in focus.”

So many businesses are carbon-dependent and the possibility of attaining carbon neutrality is a challenge. Looking back, one will wonder if the race towards changing the course of climate change will be delayed or not.

Are we too late?

Electricity is a source of energy. We need to mitigate the losses faced. Prices have gone low and affordability has become better. Mr Khanna said, “India is born with a massive 1000GW potential of wind and solar energy and as a whole, we require only a quarter of the energy for the transition to clean energy.”

Business opportunities exist but India even with its projections started the transition towards renewables only in the last decade.

The path forward requires governments, businesses, civil society organisations and the general public to work together. One of the biggest challenges facing humanity is the threat of climate change. This can only be met if India has access to low-cost and reliable energy sources that have low carbon intensity i.e. produce a minimum amount of carbon dioxide when burnt for producing electricity or any other purpose, for example, cooking or heating your home.

Rewrite History

Mr Khanna said, “We have the technology, means, and money for global energy conservation. We can sustainably develop renewable energy supplies right now. Yet despite this, our energy future is still uncertain.” With the growing demand for energy and oil running out, we must put into place a sustainable and cleaner option of energy source now!

As the rate of global warming increases, the demand for renewable forms of energy is also increasing drastically. One such initiative that I'd like to touch upon today is the one by Tata Power. In their efforts to improve the environment and reduce pollution, they have started a campaign called “Go Green” wherein they're helping building owners and residents install solar panels on their roofs to harness the power of the sun and convert it into cheaper electricity.

Under its aegis, Tata Power started the renewable energy initiative at a time when solar and wind power were far from mainstream. But Tata Power was way ahead of its time. In 10 years, through a relentless focus on how the consumer consumed electricity, they transformed the overall electricity consumption once again.

Path to Sustainability

In a time when carbon emissions are on the rise and renewable resources are ever more in demand, Tata Power has unveiled a unique initiative to make India a global leader in clean energy manufacturing.

Mr Khanna said, “Tata Power is committed to low emission development strategy and is progressively moving towards lower emission targets.” They currently have the largest capacity for wind power generation in India and have large solar power projects in various states of India.

They also believe global warming is real, and they're taking steps to bridge development with lesser environmental impact. Tata Power has also started an initiative of installing solar Grids in remote areas where conventional energy supply methods are not feasible. This project hopes to increase the standard of living while minimising environmental damage.

Sustainable Development Goals are one of the most important global agendas as we strive toward a sustainable future. Unarguably, our development and standard of living are highly dependent on the air we breathe and the water we drink. We from Tata Power are fortunate to be in a position to contribute to the development of the country through the generation of the power sector.

Smart Move in Utilities

The energy sector is constantly being disrupted, and regulations governing power providers are changing rapidly. Mr Khanna said, “In such times, how do you establish infrastructure for sustainable living? You start by making the smart move and investing in smart meters.”

An important mechanism in achieving the path toward a sustainable future is the ability to measure, analyse, and optimise a system's performance over time. Keeping track of energy consumption has always been a top priority of utilities, especially related to their transmission networks. The importance of metering goes well beyond billing and collecting fees; it's critical to monitoring, operating and maintaining assets worth billions.

Smart meters are a cost-effective way of monitoring and recording energy use. When used, they can help customers reduce their electricity bills and improve the security of the grid. He added, “To make smart meters work as intended, however, consumers need to understand how they work, while utilities must be willing to provide accurate information to customers. Ultimately, widespread acceptance of the technology depends on consumers' ability to trust their utility providers.”

The session concluded with an interactive Q&A round where many thought-provoking questions were posed to Mr Khanna.

He agreed that “Tata Power's renewable energy initiative is a major part of India's many efforts to fight climate change. The company will also lead India in another effort to reduce its carbon footprint – by adding more solar power capacity in the country.”