India's Industries: Electrification For A Greener Future

India’s Industries: Electrification For A Greener Future

India’s industrial sector is a major energy consumer, but also a major polluter. Here’s how electrification with renewables can be a win-win.


The Challenge: Heavy polluters need a clean fix

Industries are India’s biggest energy users, spewing 920 million tonnes of CO2 annually. Steel and cement alone contribute 18% of the country’s emissions. The European Union’s Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) adds pressure to decarbonize.

The Solution: Short-term and long-term strategies

In the near future (by 2030), switching from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources (RES) is essential. Long-term (by 2050), advanced electrification and power-to-fuel technologies are needed to slash emissions. Green electrification will reshape energy consumption, requiring strategic planning.

Electricity as a share of total energy consumed (%) in 2022. Height of the bars show total energy consumption by sector in petajoules (PJ)

Renewable Energy’s Potential: Powering Up

Renewable energy can decarbonize up to 11% of India’s current heavy industry energy use. Industries rely on both fossil fuels and electricity. In 2022, they consumed 175 TWh of electricity, with 91% used by steel, cement, and aluminium. Switching to renewable electricity sources can significantly reduce emissions and meet international standards like CBAM.

Meeting the Demand: 120 GW of Renewable Power Needed

By 2030, India’s heavy industry electricity demand is expected to rise 45% to 253 TWh. Meeting this demand with renewables requires adding 120 GW of RES capacity, potentially cutting CO2 emissions by 180 Mt. With declining RES tariffs, this shift is a smart business decision, especially if reliable renewable electricity is available.

Electrification: Tripling the Share of Clean Energy

Using sector-specific electrification and power-to-fuel technologies could significantly increase electricity demand by 2050, reaching 1,468 TWh and tripling electricity’s share in the industrial energy mix. This necessitates nearly 700 GW of renewable energy capacity. However, commercializing these technologies remains a challenge.

Benefits Beyond Emissions Reduction

Green electrification powered by renewables could reduce CO2 emissions by 37% (737 Mt) in 2050. Industries would benefit from lower tariffs, reduced fuel price volatility, and cleaner air. It would also strengthen India’s clean energy and manufacturing sectors, boosting RES manufacturing, power-to-fuel technologies, and attracting investments and jobs.

Reference- Mercom India, Economic Times, The Verge, Business Standard, Ember Report, Business Insider