Indian Mining and Metals Sector Quest for Renewable Energy Technologies: Industry Experts

19 August 2023

The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI), in collaboration with Hero Futures Energies, hosted a dynamic session titled 'Renewable Energy Adoption in Indian Mining and Metals Sector'. The event aimed to spotlight renewable energy solutions and technologies tailored for the Indian mining and metals domain. This initiative is geared towards aiding their transition towards decarbonization and embarking on the path towards achieving net-zero emissions.

Mr. Pankaj Satija, Co-Chair of the FICCI Mining Committee and Managing Director of Tata Steel Mining Ltd, underscored the remarkable progress achieved in India's renewable energy (RE) capacity, which has reached 179GW as of July 2023, propelled by government initiatives. He accentuated the collaborative efforts of the mining and metals sector and RE developers in pursuit of the industry's net-zero goals. He emphasized the significance of innovative sourcing and financing models to facilitate the decarbonization journey of the metals industry.

During the presentation on Renewable Energy Solutions for Indian Mining & Metals Industries, Mr. R Sundar, Business Head – India C&I at Hero Future Energies, elucidated six pivotal energy megatrends. These include SDG and net-zero objectives, real-time control (RTC), green molecules, cross-border energy trade, protectionism, and energy efficiency. He noted the transition of renewable energy solutions towards steadfast renewables, encompassing elements like continuous energy supply and energy storage, as well as green molecules, involving green hydrogen and partnerships between users and producers. Mr. Sundar predicted a reduction in the pricing of RE solutions for sectors such as mining and metals, attributed to burgeoning demand and collaborative efforts.

Mr. Animesh Sharma, Head of Business Development – India C&I at Hero Future Energies, spotlighted the substantial potential for renewable energy adoption in the western region, with a particular emphasis on Maharashtra due to its ample wind resources, solar exposure, robust grid infrastructure, and supportive policy frameworks. He highlighted encouraging policies within Maharashtra, including the waiver of electricity duty for a decade, stamp duty exemptions on RE project land, and streamlined clearance procedures.

Representing the steel industry, Mr. Jatin Parekh, Managing Director of Fortran Steel, discussed the industry's concerted efforts to achieve its 2030 decarbonization targets. He emphasized the pivotal roles that green hydrogen and solar energy have assumed, evolving from buzzwords to become integral to the steel industry's future. Additionally, the industry is establishing captive RE capacity through collaborations with RE developers, thereby reducing emissions and revolutionizing production processes.

Addressing the mining and cement sector, Mr. K N Rao, Corporate Head – EHS, AFR, Energy Sustainability at MyHome Industries, highlighted the unique carbon intensity of the cement industry, largely stemming from its raw materials. He stressed that around 10% of India's greenhouse gas emissions are attributed to the cement sector, and as cement usage surges in planned infrastructure projects, emissions could escalate significantly. Consequently, renewable solutions are poised to play a pivotal role in the cement industry's future. With a projected cement production of 1400 MTPA by 2050, the year in which the industry aspires to achieve net-zero status, a demand of approximately 50GW of green power from the industry is anticipated. Mr. Rao emphasized the need for a strategic policy framework to meet this forecasted demand.

Mr. Rahul Prithiani, Senior Director & Global Head of CRISIL, delivered a sectoral presentation, while Prof. Viswanathan N Nurni, Professor and Head of the Department of Metallurgical Engineering & Materials Science at the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, shed light on the research and development aspects of the Indian mining and metals industry's journey towards net zero.

The interactive session underscored the multi-faceted role of renewable energy in the mining and metals sector, with far-reaching implications for sustainability and environmental goals. Acknowledging the sector's substantial electricity consumption, the discussions highlighted its potential to drive the shift towards clean power in India. Corporations and industries in India have already committed to embracing green energy and are actively seeking solutions tailored to their operational needs.