Change is coming to India. On the back of its promise to build 500GW of renewable energy and achieve net-zero by 2070, both public and private sectors have expedited their CSR activities when it comes to green power.
Coal India Limited, the largest coal producing company in the world, has stepped up its efforts to integrate renewables as part and parcel of the regions it operates in. Its subsidiary, Eastern Coalfields Ltd. (ECL), has installed another 38 solar LED street lights in the Satgram area of Raniganj, West Bengal.
These LEDs were installed as part of its CSR initiative in the Satgram region. The activity was also included as part of ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’, an initiative by the Government of India to commemorate 75 years of a progressive India. ECL’s vision of social responsibility includes focusing on the plight of the underprivileged, marginalized and Project Affected People (PAP) in its area of operations.
Keeping strictly in line with the CSR policy of the parent company, CIL, 80 percent of CSR funds would be utilized with a radius of 25 km around ECL’s HQ/Area/Project. The remaining 20 per cent will be used in other initiatives within the state.
Coal has been the backbone of India’s growth for decades now. The country’s rise to economic prosperity has been fueled by the ore and since the turn of the 21st century, its usage has become a controversial subject.
With many countries opting to go green, India is under tremendous pressure to follow suit. An overnight transition to green energy is not a possibility. Even if it was, the economic repercussions would bring the country to its knees. Therefore, the government has instead decided to introduce renewable power while slowly phasing out coal.
Companies like CIL play a crucial role in this endeavour. By implementing environmentally viable CSR projects, they help lay the groundwork for the future generations. Through the introduction of solar lamps and solar-powered devices, communities in these regions stand to benefit in the long-term.
ECL has engaged in such initiatives before. Tangible improvements in the basic amenities and living standards of the villagers take priority. Solar energy has proved to be a boon for these regions, where conventionally generated electricity is often hard to come by.
As part of its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and CSR activity, ECL has provided Integrated Domestic Energy Systems (IDES) to these households. Solar Household Light (SHL) systems and Improved Cook Stove (ICS) with solar-powered fans have become a common sight in every home.
Such initiatives, undertaken with hopes for a better future, is key to transforming India. CIL knows that it is only a matter of time before renewables replace coal as the key energy provider. By effecting changes on a smaller scale in its operational areas, CIL will have the basics down when it comes to large scale transitions.