Tata Motors Limited

Tata Motors Limited, India’s largest automobile company, has set itself the goal of using entirely renewable energy – including a switch to 100% renewable electricity for its own operations. Here, Mr. Arvind Bodhankar, Global Head – Health, Safety, Environment and Chief Sustainability Officer, explains why the company is taking a lead on shifting India’s manufacturing sector to renewables.

Why is your company striving to be ‘100% renewable’?

“The manufacturing sector accounts for enormous electricity consumption. Helping to switch this demand to renewables will not only reduce our carbon emissions but also will lead to long term financial savings. This will also help us align our corporate goals with our policy statements.”

How did you decide on your 100% goal?

“Tata Motors has a long standing commitment to sustainable development, evident from the fact that we have dedicated group level and company level policies to address the same. We have a climate change policy and a climate change strategy already in place.

“Going forward with an aspiration to switch our manufacturing operations to 100% renewable energy is a logical step. It will support our policy commitment to focus on optimizing energy consumption and maximizing use of renewable energy in our manufacturing operations.”

What progress have you made towards your 100% goal so far?

“The renewable energy we used during the financial year 2014-15 accounted for around 5% of our total energy consumption, and resulted in the avoidance of over 32,000 tCO2e.

“Our consumption of renewable energy is mainly from wind power – ‘captive wind power’ plant and third party wind power purchase, plus wind energy via the grid. Our ‘captive wind power’ project has 21.95MW capacity and is registered under the REC scheme. In 2014-15 our Pimpri Works plant at Pune utilized 26 million units of wind power – equivalent to carbon savings of over 24,000 tCO2e, and resulting in net financial savings of INR 163.5 million in avoided electricity charges.

“We also have 6MW off-grid generation of solar energy at our Pune, Dharwad and Sanand plants.”

What opportunities and challenges are you encountering?

“Our opportunity lies in the action plans which we have adopted in line with our Tata Group climate change policy for our Passenger Vehicle Business Unit and Commercial Vehicle Business Unit operations.

“Our approach towards climate change mitigation and pursuing low carbon growth is three-fold – develop cleaner and more efficient vehicles, reduce environmental impacts of manufacturing operations, and build awareness among stakeholders. 

“Our products are designed to deliver superior fuel efficiency for customers and thereby reduce greenhouse gas emissions during use phase. So, in order to minimize GHG emissions during manufacturing phase, going ahead and joining RE100 initiative looks like a logical step. 

“One challenge which we will be facing is regarding the Open Access Regulation of 2014. Due to this regulation, Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited did not permit purchase of wind energy through Open Access and hence captive wind energy was the only source of renewable power in FY 2014-15. We hope to secure renewable energy through Open Access on the grid in future.

“Unless policies, rules and regulations are aligned to the international and national goal of scaled up use of renewable energy, a company cannot go forward with the aspiration of using 100% renewable energy in its manufacturing operations.” 

What are your plans for switching to 100% renewable electricity going forward?

“We are aggressively working on becoming 100% renewable. We are partly dependent on the availability of renewable energy through the grid, but we will be considering a range of options available to us over the coming months."

Why do you think it is important for companies to play a role in increasing demand for renewable electricity? 

“Companies, especially those in the manufacturing sector, are often highly energy intensive. Switching this huge power requirement towards renewables will surely accelerate the demand for renewable electricity. This will definitely send a positive signal to the market and will also help deliver on our national climate commitments.” 

Why do you think RE100 is a good initiative to join?

“The RE100 campaign offers a powerful network to support and celebrate businesses that are increasing their use of renewable power.

“We expect RE100 to address regulatory barriers and help to develop transparent reporting mechanisms, in addition to offering technical help and providing guidance on selecting and implementing the best approach to utilizing renewable power.

“The RE100 movement is giving a clear signal that the transition to renewable energy is achievable. The world's leading sustainable companies are getting prepared for this major change by committing to go for renewable electricity and Tata Motors is proud to join such an initiative.” 

How else are you helping to drive forward the transition to a low carbon economy?

“We are constantly taking initiatives to drive our sustainability journey.  Every year we work towards ENCON – Energy Conservation – targets at our manufacturing locations.

“This includes initiatives like a waste Heat Recovery System for the exhaust flue gas of our paint baking oven, reduction in thermal losses in furnaces, optimized shift operation of ovens at Foundry, use of energy efficient pumps, energy efficient compressed air nozzles, and new technology of our Auto Pouring System for metal at Foundry. Energy savings during the last year came to over 44,000MWh, leading to an estimated avoidance of more than 72,000 tCO2e emissions.

“Apart from this, we are also a conducting life cycle assessment of our products in order to minimize their environmental impacts. We have also conducted fuel life cycle studies for evaluating sustainable and low carbon fuels for automobiles in the Indian context. “Now that we aspire to switch our manufacturing operations to 100% renewable energy, we will work to find more new initiatives that will help us achieve this target.”

 

Last updated: March 2016