On March 24, 2020, all our lives were about to change.
No one had suspected the end of the world as we knew it. And then it changed indeed, and how!
This is a brief account of the incredible events chronicling the days and nights that finally led to India’s awakening to the need of clean energy.
And, one such clean fuel that promises a new dawn for our atmanirbhar future.
In one strike, the pandemic delivered a deadly blow to the market. Investors were losing their sleep like never before. No one knew what could happen in the very next moment.
The widespread lockdown wreaked havoc on industries like travel, entertainment, hospitality and retail. Many dreams died as many businesses came to an abrupt end.
Amidst the rampant lockdowns, loss of life and uncertainty, the old world order somehow dragged itself into the year 2021.
But this is where it all finally went to dogs.
International coal prices suddenly soared to unprecedented levels. Initially triggered by disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and later exacerbated by the Russia-Ukraine conflict, it all had a significant impact on imports, leading to substantial repercussions.
And then the UK’s economy crashed!
The winters were coming and the people in Britain no longer had gas to heat their homes because of the UK's dependence on Russia for gas. They felt terribly & utterly helpless- an unimaginable thing for the residents of a first-world country.
In India, petrol prices started to skyrocket due to this war. Its repercussions are being felt by Indians to this day. Despite their best efforts, the central and state governments could not stop these prices from jumping drastically.
Meanwhile, Indian states across the country had issued panic warnings that coal supplies to thermal power plants are running perilously low. 80% of the country’s coal-fired plants were in the critical state.
Amidst a frenzied state of affairs, a diplomat hurried along the powerful corridors of the PMO to deliver a letter from Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal to the prime minister, Narendra Modi, stating that the capital “could face a blackout” if power stations did not receive more coal.
As the entire country sat shut in their houses, darkness descended on one city after the other with power cuts of up to 14 hours a day. Many power plants got shut!
The roads were empty and the windows pitch dark! The world came to a standstill as the dystopian vision of many a literature’s geniuses came true!
...and then it happened.
By mid 2021, the biggest tectonic shift in the fabric of India’s power sector had started to surface.
In the high echelons of the business world, Gautam Adani and Mukesh Ambani, in the wake of severe power crisis, were chalking out a new future for India’s power sector in the form of clean energy. The idea was to make a departure from traditional coal and petrochemical business and cut short India’s dependence on any other country in the future.
That clean energy in question was ‘Green Hydrogen’.
Green hydrogen, also known as renewable hydrogen or clean hydrogen, refers to hydrogen gas produced through the process of electrolysis using renewable energy sources like solar or wind power.
It is considered "green" because its production does not involve the release of carbon dioxide (CO2) or other greenhouse gases.
Let’s simplify how green hydrogen is produced.
It was a battle of wits between India’s top two conglomerates; each trying to one up the other.
On one hand, Reliance Industries announced its plans to spend $10 billion over the next three years for developing a cost-effective modular electrolyser for green hydrogen production for domestic and international distribution.
At the same time, Adani New Energy Ltd. announced to invest $50 billion by 2030 towards developing the infrastructure for the green hydrogen ecosystem.
But it was not just about the fight between these two! The other players were not far behind in realizing that green hydrogen is the future of the power & energy sector.
Companies like Larsen & Toubro, Indian Oil, GAIL & Linde have all announced their participation at different levels of the entire value chain. Tata Power has also announced its plans to invest $9.5 billion in this market over the span of next 5 years.
According to a report by PwC, the expected market size of green hydrogen by 2050 could amount to $300 billion.
Can India finally become atmanirbhar in its power sector?
Well, keep your fingers crossed as succeeding in this will require a concentrated effort from all sides.
The Ukraine-Russia war & the subsequent shortage of crude oil and electronic chipsets opened our eyes to the new reality that a new world is coming, and it’s going to be full of geo-political power struggles to claim the throne as the world’s next superpower.
And to stay on top in such times requires moving along quickly with time to gain the first-mover advantage in the sustainable energy sector.
The movement that the Ambanis and the Adanis have started has picked up pace and we as a nation stand to reap all its benefits in the form of new jobs and bigger market opportunities.
And that’s where NICMAR’s 2-year MBA in Sustainable Energy Management comes in. A meticulously crafted program with all the insights from the industry leaders, this course will encompass everything from operations and policies to clean energy transition and innovations in the energy ecosystem. Come be a part of the future; come be the leader of the new world!