India’s largest car manufacturer joins drive for 100% renewable power

India's largest carmaker has become the second company from the country to join The Climate Group's RE100 initiative - a move that will see the firm source 100% of its energy use from renewable generation.

Tata Motors, which has sold more than nine million cars across India, has this week pledged to use 100% renewable energy across its entire operations.

The RE100 pledge follows on from last year’s investment into renewables which saw the carmaker source nearly 8% of its energy from renewables – saving more than 30,000 tonnes of emissions as a result.

Tata Motors’ chief sustainability officer Arvind Bodhankar said: “Our climate change policy aims to maximize the use of renewable energy in our manufacturing operations. Doing so will not only reduce our carbon emissions, but also lead to long-term financial savings.

“The RE100 movement shows that the transition to renewable energy is achievable and it offers a powerful network to support and celebrate businesses increasing their use of renewable power. Tata Motors is proud to join such an initiative.”

The firm – which joins BMW in the RE100 automotive representatives – already has its own 21.9MW ‘captive wind power’ project which has led to carbon savings of around 24,000 tonnes, equating to $2.4m savings in electricity costs.

Tata, which manufactures commercial vehicles as well as defence and homeland security vehicles, will now build on the solar installations currently installed at three of its facilities. Discussions are also in place to source renewable energy from the grid through an open access agreement.

The RE100 initiative will work with Tata Motors through a Technical Advisory Group and knowledge-sharing platform to promote best practice for sourcing 100% renewable energy.

Odd or even?

The Indian capital of Delhi recently introduced an innovative two-week trial aim at curbing air pollution and promoting behaviour change by imposing restrictions on private car use. Cars with even and odd number plates were forced to alternate driving use between days. The result saw one third of the city’s three million cars removed from the roads, easing congestion.

Authorities said the trial had resulted in a ‘more than 50% drop in air pollution’ that was predominantly caused by automotive traffic – although independent research has stated that the pollution from the aftermath is still at critical levels.

As part of its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution for the recent Paris Climate Conference, India pledged to lower carbon intensity by 35% by 2030 against a 2005 baseline. As the world’s third largest emitter, the country has taken steps to reduce its carbon footprint. The Government has announced that it is retrofitting 710 million LED bulbs throughout cities and villages, which it expects will save them $6bn a year.

The Prime Ministers of the UK and India have also agreed on a new climate deal between the two countries that will establish a £10m joint research collaboration into new low-carbon technologies.

Matt Mace

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