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India – The big energy reset

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Mohan MURTI
Mohan MURTI
Degree in Law and Science; Master's in Industrial Relations and Personnel Management. Accomplished leader with over 40 years of successful experience in global business management. Demonstrated ability of revenue generation while promoting business strategy on international basis - largely based in Europe. Initially, nominated by Ministry of Commerce, Government of India as India's Representative to UNITED NATIONS-IPS, Paris and Zurich and since 1993, Director, Europe, CII, Cologne, Germany. Since 2004, Managing Director, Europe, Reliance Europe. Expertise: India & EU market entry strategies, cross-cultural trainer in aspects of doing business, M&A transactions, joint ventures, legal contract negotiations, litigation, arbitration & disputes resolution, FDI pitching & negotiations, and post merger integration, technical collaborations, joint ventures. Leadership Coach & Cross-Cultural Trainer noted for establishing team synergies. Articulate communicator with strong interpersonal skills; establishing and strengthening professional liaisons with European and Indian governments and corporations at Board level. Possess significant expertise in high level negotiations with remarkable success in employing best practices and boosting productivity. Proven success-generating business across cultures and providing business leadership combined with legal and financial aptitude required to deliver superlative returns for shareholders. Frequent guest lecturer at European management schools. Op-Ed Columnist for a leading Indian business newspaper.

The big energy dialogue is taking place across the world, against a difficult political, economic and security backdrop.

On the economic front, seemingly rock-solid truths – such as the eternal rise of oil prices – are beginning to cause enormous pain to economies and people, across the globe. I think now is the time for a global transition to sustainable energy sources. And now, is the first and foremost opportunity to get rid of subsidies in oil, coal and gas and their almost addictive effect on our society.

In India we are moving our economy onto a low carbon path and in this context, the Prime Minister of India has already made a firm commitment and a timeline associated with the necessary transition to this path. They include a promise for India to get 50% of its energy from renewable resources by 2030, and by the same year to reduce total projected carbon emissions by one billion tonnes. And a pledge for India to become a net-zero carbon emitter by 2070.

We realize that the shift towards renewables is no longer a luxury. On the contrary, due to rapid market growth the major hubs of renewable energy installations have become a common sight in various parts of India.

Generation costs for all renewable energy sources are now at the same level as for fossil fuels – without additional external risks such as air pollution and disposal. It is therefore not surprising that India`s capacity in renewables has increased multifold since the beginning of the millennium.

With cheap renewables there is a double dividend for India, because it opens doors to energy access in regions where millions of people have been living without electricity. The sun shines on every roof. And renewable energy can be generated in an extremely decentralized manner, without needing an extensive grid.

The emerging trend now in India is that climate change mitigation is now firmly founded on national action. The mindset has shifted from a “top down” one, to one with a strong “bottom up” component based on national undertakings.

It is now clear to most sections of Indian society that the era of fossil fuels is ending. And real transformation of the energy sector is the undertaken by the current government.

Over the past two years we have seen an exponential growth in climate action by cities, regions, businesses, and civil society, in addition to national actions. This reality is, I believe, inspired by the Prime Minister of India.

Another welcome trend in India today is that non-state actors are clearly becoming the engine of both mitigation and adaptation action. The scope and scale of initiatives and announcements, some at the highest level, are breathtaking. This is helping to define a “new normal”, especially when one looks at:

-Actions by large Indian corporate giants– a record $100 billion in new clean energy investments by the end of this decade;

–Plan to repurpose a $4-billion (about Rs 30,000 crore) gasification assets for clean energy. India’s biggest company by market value will use syngas—a product of coal gasification— to make blue hydrogen at a competitive cost of $1.2-1.5 a kilo – perhaps, the cheapest in the world!

–The rapidly declining price of renewable energy and the explosion of mega solar and wind power installations;

  • –Plans to build a giga factory in Jamnagar for the long-duration energy storage systems for intermittent energy and manufacture of solar energy panels.
  • –The government of India is actively formulating policies and promoting projects that are leveraging advanced IT and OT solutions to drive the country towards a circular economy system. Two such critical areas are electricity from recyclable resources and waste recycling & management.

In my view, India could emerge as one of the biggest winners of the clean energy transition.

The EU has been India`s natural partners. I see enormous and growing synergy between India and EU to work towards a strong alliance to make the most out of technological progress. By end of this decade, India will be in the “fast-lane” to make energy poverty history and to bring green jobs and green growth.

All this illustrates the great progress that we have made in the partnership between EU and India. But it is certainly no reason to relax our efforts!

I strongly believe that India will play a significant future role in the Fifth Industrial Revolution as we march forward to sustainable energy creation and the substitution of fossil fuel-based chemistry with renewable feedstock-based chemistry enabled by renewable energy, hydrogen and CO2 direct air capture. And, in this mission, Europe will play a defining role in the years to come.

Mohan MURTI is Chief Representative -Europe Group Corporate Affairs for EU, Reliance Industries Limited Germany

(Views expressed are personal)

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Mohan MURTI
Mohan MURTI
Degree in Law and Science; Master's in Industrial Relations and Personnel Management. Accomplished leader with over 40 years of successful experience in global business management. Demonstrated ability of revenue generation while promoting business strategy on international basis - largely based in Europe. Initially, nominated by Ministry of Commerce, Government of India as India's Representative to UNITED NATIONS-IPS, Paris and Zurich and since 1993, Director, Europe, CII, Cologne, Germany. Since 2004, Managing Director, Europe, Reliance Europe. Expertise: India & EU market entry strategies, cross-cultural trainer in aspects of doing business, M&A transactions, joint ventures, legal contract negotiations, litigation, arbitration & disputes resolution, FDI pitching & negotiations, and post merger integration, technical collaborations, joint ventures. Leadership Coach & Cross-Cultural Trainer noted for establishing team synergies. Articulate communicator with strong interpersonal skills; establishing and strengthening professional liaisons with European and Indian governments and corporations at Board level. Possess significant expertise in high level negotiations with remarkable success in employing best practices and boosting productivity. Proven success-generating business across cultures and providing business leadership combined with legal and financial aptitude required to deliver superlative returns for shareholders. Frequent guest lecturer at European management schools. Op-Ed Columnist for a leading Indian business newspaper.
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