More than three-and-a-half years after announcing ambitious plans in October 2007 to become carbon neutral by investing in wind energy projects in India, internet search giant Yahoo Inc is yet to open its account here for such projects.
“The short answer is there is no current activity,” Christina Page, Yahoo’s director for climate and energy strategy, wrote in a response to DNA’s query requesting details of Yahoo’s wind energy investments in India. Page did not elaborate on why there is no current activity.
In 2007, Yahoo was ahead of the curve, at least in terms of posturing, when it said it will invest in wind energy projects in India to offset its then annual green house gas emissions of 250,000 metric tonne.
“Yahoo is partnering with local businesses to purchase (carbon) offsets from 43 wind turbines of 750 kilowatt (each) in Vankuswade, Maharashtra and Tenkasi in Tamil Nadu,” Yahoo’s said in October 2007.
A spokesperson for Yahoo India said that there was “nothing more to add,” to what its global spokesperson has already said.
Vestas India, the Indian arm of the Denmark-based firm Vestas Wind Technology, has ongoing projects in Vankuswade and Tenkasi — the locations Yahoo claimed to have identified for investment.
According a spokesperson for Vestas India, neither does Yahoo have any investments at present at these locations, nor has it been in discussions with that company for investing at any point of time.
Yahoo had hired the services of two firms, EcoSecurities and CantorCO2e, that deal in international carbon trade to “source, vet, and execute” its projects in India and Brazil.
DNA was not able to reach the India office of CantorCo2e, either on phone or via e-mails. E-mailed queries to EcoSecurities remained unanswered.
For Yahoo, running of its energy-hungry data centres means consumption of vast amounts of electric power, which may be made using coal, gas or oil, emitting large amounts of green house gas during production. Hence, Yahoo wants to offset the greenhouse gas emission by investing in cleaner energy projects across the world.
“This investment was particularly important to us, as India is one of the most carbon-producing regions in the world,” Page had noted in 2007.
“With our rapidly growing presence in India, we felt a sense of responsibility to encourage the development and use of cleaner energy there,” she said.
“Doubts about long-term sustainability of investments here is one reason why foreign investors are not sure about spending on renewable energy projects for carbon credits,” said Arvind Sharma, director- climate change and sustainability at KPMG.
“While there is no dearth of opportunity to develop wind energy projects, issues around governance and reporting transparency make investment with a long-term view a difficult proposition for foreign investors.”
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