Sunday, May 28, 2023

Climate action: Positive impact from renewable energy and electric vehicles


By Christie Fernandez

Using renewable energy and electric vehicles can reduce carbon emissions drastically around us, making the environment sustainable.

The best way to reduce carbon emissions is to reduce the consumption of polluting fossil fuels.

The recently concluded #cop26 created awareness about the climate crisis and an urgent need for ‘Climate Action’. #cop27 must be about achievable goals by 2040 to drastically reduce carbon emissions.

#cop27 must make the climate crisis an opportunity for everyone – it should be about lowering taxes by not subsidising fossil fuel production, increasing job opportunities by investing in cleantech, increasing disposable incomes by reducing energy costs, improving air quality by making clean energy & clean mobility accessible for all.

To make this possible, we have to focus on just 2 things – Renewable Energy (RE) + (EV) Electric Vehicles.

1. Build a ‘Global Renewable Energy Grid (GREG) on the lines of ‘World Wide Web (www). The sun never sets, solar is the cheapest energy to produce, and we have a lot of wastelands to set up solar plants.

2. Electric vehicles (EVs) are cheaper to run and more eco-friendly than polluting fossil fuel vehicles. Governments must quicken the pace of adoption of EVs with more favourable policies, incentives and infrastructure. Building electrified roads that enable wireless charging, will reduce range anxiety and charging downtime.

Let’s focus less on limiting carbon emissions, and focus more on replacing fossil fuels with ‘RE + EV’.

‘RE + EV’ will help to drastically reduce fossil fuel consumption and its resultant carbon emissions. BNEF estimates EVs to displace 17.6 billion barrels of oil per day by 2040, resulting in CO2 emissions reduced by 2.57Gt a year from road transport. RE can also power rail transport, homes, businesses & industries, leading to more reductions in carbon emissions.

Switching to renewable energy (RE + EV) electric vehicles is easily doable, it will create many more job opportunities and increase the quality of life for everyone.

The government of India (GOI) earlier set up facilities to import polluting fossil fuels, which is expected to increase to more than $300 billion per annum by 2040. 

Maybe a good idea for GOI to now undertake something similar for lithium & other battery materials by providing support for lithium raw material procurement – mining concessions, lithium extraction & processing. Lithium reserves are available in plenty in countries such as Argentina, Chile, Australia, Zimbabwe, Portugal, Afghanistan, and some other Central American nations. 

Importing Lithium or other battery materials will eventually come down, as almost 90% of battery materials can be recovered by recycling. 

Generating renewable energy locally to power electric vehicles will usher in a new era of prosperity and cleaner air in India.

1. Transition quickly from polluting fossil fuel vehicles to no tailpipe polluting electric vehicles. This will help to make the air cleaner to breathe in our residential neighbourhoods, similar to a ban on humans smoking in public places.

2. Make it easy for everyone to generate solar energy & charge electric vehicles as a micro-business, including rural communities. Let solar harvesting become as beneficial as the green (farming) & white (milk) revolution.

3. Make it convenient for large solar energy producers to sell directly to large EV charging operators, factories & businesses. This will enable EVs to be manufactured & charged with clean energy.

4. India is a small car market, and a large 2 & 3 wheeler market. Let’s not compare with developed countries focused on speed, range & fast charging. Fuel efficiency & Low TCO are important, so we should permit new variants of electric vehicles to be launched, without worrying about legacy vehicle classifications & homologation rules.

A ‘Global Renewable Energy Grid (GREG)’ combined with electric vehicles can help to drastically reduce our consumption of polluting fossil fuels.

We have already built a global grid for telecommunications ‘World Wide Web (www)’ which comprises of both land and submarine cables. Perhaps a good idea for T&D companies to start building the infrastructure for renewable energy to be shipped globally…

Imagine being powered by the Sun, 

Imagine breathing clean air,

Imagine paying very little for energy,

Imagine a brighter, cleaner & more prosperous future…

Also Read: EV battery industry crucial to realise mobility transformation goals

(Christie Fernandez is the founder of Sooorya EV Pte Ltd)

(Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the author’s and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.)


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