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The Indian hotel industry is transforming as it increasingly adopts renewable energy sources. This movement towards sustainability is not only reducing operational costs but also appealing to the growing segment of eco-conscious travellers. However, this transition is fraught with challenges that hotels must navigate to fully realise the benefits of renewable energy.

Types of renewable energy sources adopted by Indian hotels
Indian hotels are incorporating various types of renewable energy to power their operations. The most common sources include:

Solar power: Solar panels are widely used to generate electricity and heat water. Hotels in regions with high solar insolation, such as Rajasthan and Gujarat, have made significant investments in solar infrastructure.

Wind energySome coastal and high-altitude hotels are utilising wind turbines to harness wind energy. Significant progress has been made through government and private joint ventures in states like Maharashtra.

BiomassHotels, especially those in rural or semi-urban areas, are turning to biomass for energy production. This includes the use of agricultural residues and organic waste.

Hydropower: Small-scale hydropower projects are also being adopted, particularly in regions with abundant water resources.

Widespread use and economic impact
The adoption of renewable energy in Indian hotels is becoming increasingly widespread. According to the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), over 20 percent of the hospitality sector has integrated some form of renewable energy into their operations. This shift has several economic impacts:

Green certifications: Achieving certifications like LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) and GRIHA (Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment) by showcasing renewable energy usage.

D2C awareness initiatives/marketing strategies: Promote renewable energy initiatives through various onsite and in-room touchpoints using effective branding techniques. Strive to achieve Carbon Positive Certification for events and MICE (Meetings, Incentives, conferences, Exhibitions) by engaging with organisers. For instance, partner with trade and industry publications to consistently communicate sustainability efforts and initiatives.

Guest engagement: Educating guests about their renewable energy efforts through tours, informational materials, and interactive displays.

Challenges and overcoming obstacles
Despite the benefits, Indian hotels face several challenges in transitioning to renewable energy:

High initial costs: The upfront investment for renewable energy infrastructure can be substantial. To overcome this, hotels are exploring financing options like green loans and power purchase agreements (PPAs).

Technological barriers: Integrating renewable energy systems with existing hotel infrastructure can be complex. Hotels are partnering with technology providers to ensure smooth integration.

Regulatory hurdles: Navigating government regulations and obtaining necessary permits can be time-consuming. Hotels are working closely with regulatory bodies to streamline these processes.

Influencing industry trends and government policies
The adoption of renewable energy by Indian hotels is influencing broader industry trends and government policies. The hospitality sector's commitment to sustainability is setting a benchmark for other industries. This shift is prompting the government to introduce more supportive policies, such as:

Increased subsidies: Enhanced financial support for renewable energy projects in the hospitality sector.

Regulatory support: Simplified procedures for installing renewable energy systems.

Public-private partnerships: Collaborations between the government and private sector to promote renewable energy adoption.

Energy generation and dependency reduction
Quantifying the impact of renewable energy adoption on energy generation and dependency on traditional sources is crucial. For reference, the total electrical energy demand at ITC Maratha is met through renewable energy sources. On average, around 75 percent of the total electricity generated comes from renewable energy, and we continually strive to maximise this utilisation. This percentage is increasing annually as hotels expand their renewable energy capacities.

We as a 5-star luxury hotel exemplify the innovative use of renewable energy in the Indian hotel industry. The hotel owns an in-house biogas plant that generates biogas from food waste produced by the hotel. This bio gas is flammable and has an energy Kcal which is close to Pipe Natural Gas. ITC Maratha could find its use to the full capacity after proper re-engineering and the same is used in the laundry try tumbler to dry the clothes which otherwise was getting done by burning pipe natural gas. This initiative highlights how renewable energy can be effectively integrated into hotel operations, reducing reliance on conventional energy sources and enhancing sustainability.

The transformation of the Indian hotel industry through renewable energy adoption is a testament to the sector's commitment to sustainability. While challenges remain, the economic benefits, enhanced sustainability credentials, and positive influence on industry trends and policies make renewable energy an attractive proposition for Indian hotels. As the industry continues to innovate and invest in renewable energy, it sets a powerful example of how sustainability can be integrated into business operations, benefiting both the environment and the bottom line.