Renewable Energy: It's Not Just About Cost Savings

by Preeti S    Jul 13, 2015



With enhanced technological advances and constantly depleting natural resources, there is an increasing need for companies to factor in alternative energy resources while not just devising new industry solutions, but also in planning organization’s sustainable future.

Enterprises are now seeing the need to reduce carbon footprint and cut down energy costs to improve productivity and efficiency, but beyond that, it is essential for them to explore the opportunities in implementing renewable energy solutions.

Talking about the role of enterprises towards building a greener future, Dr.  Nawal Al-Hosany, Director of Sustainability, Masdar Director, Zayed Future Energy Prize, says there has been a big shift in the market. “Companies such as Apple, Infosys, Wipro and TCS are keen to shift their focus and attention towards renewable energy and sustainability.”

Months ago, Infosys became the first Indian company to join RE 100, a global platform for companies committed to 100 pc renewable energy, according to the Climate Group.

As part of its commitment to RE100, Infosys aims to become carbon neutral by 2018 and source all its electricity from renewable resources by 2018.

Dr.  Nawal AlHosany

“The large corporations should continue their track record of developing innovative/unique products or solutions that will improve the quality of human life and offer strong commitment to raising awareness and supporting renewable energy policy development,” she says.

During the fiscal 2015, Infosys met 29 pc of its electricity needs - about 72.08 million units - for its locations across India through green power.

Ramadas Kamath, Executive Vice President and Head - Infrastructure and Sustainability, Infosys, said: “We are working towards building a clean energy future. Expanding the share of renewables is key to addressing the chronic energy crisis our country is facing today.”

Recently, Panasonic Corporation won The Zayed Future Energy Prize 2015 for its focus on solar-powered solutions. Recognized for its contribution in renewable energy sector, Panasonic has a dedicated R&D unit, PV manufacturing lines and downstream US business.

The company was rewarded for offering products geared towards reducing energy use or facilitating the use of renewables. The Zayed Future Energy Prize is an annual US$4 million award, which recognizes individuals, organisations for advancing solutions that will meet the challenges of climate change, energy security and the environment.

Dr Nawal say that it is important the large Indian IT players, who are also experienced in the renewable and sustainability sector, address the challenges by developing and implementing energy efficient solutions that are tailored to the market needs.

True value of RE

Often organizations fail to look at the value of renewable energy beyond cost savings.

“Most Indian companies have at least one green initiative motivated by the prospect of lower operating costs,” said Ganesh Ramamoorthy, research vice president at Gartner. 

“The IT sector where energy and water costs account for a significant portion of the operating costs is not far behind. Sectors like telecom and TV, and banking and finance lag behind. In terms of actions to address climate change issues, not many companies have a clear focus,” he added.

As a suggestion, Dr Nawal says enterprises must look for solutions that improve quality of life, conduct research, run experiments and develop industry solutions accordingly.

Sanchit Vir Gogia, Chief Analyst and Group CEO, Greyhound Research , says global IT giants like Microsoft, Facebook and Google have already taken a lead in reducing the carbon foot prints of their data center operations by setting up carbon neutral data centers and using renewable energy sources like wind and solar power for IT operations.

“It also gets important for organizations to avoid a one size fits all approach while implementing green data center strategy. Businesses should increasingly focus on tying up with experienced technology partners who can help identify and implement technologies to reduce operating costs and increase data center efficiency,” he says.

India, the most preferred destination

Japan’s SoftBank Corp has announced investment of $20 billion in setting up solar power projects in India in partnership with telecom giant Bharti Enterprises and Taiwan’s Foxconn, according to PTI.

Asia is considered one of the world’s largest potential markets for energy efficient solutions, and India is ranked second to China in energy consumption. “India is likely to overtake other Asian countries in the next decade as the key source of growth in global energy demand,” she says.

While awareness is growing, what is lacking is the initiatives to see renewable energy as a ‘must have’.