Originally published on Future Trends.
Welcome to another issue of our new India x Cleantech series! On a monthly basis, we are pulling news from across clean technology sectors in India into a single, concise summary article about the country.
Climate Policy & Carbon Tax
India was ranked the fifth-most vulnerable country to climate risk by a study conducted by Greenwatch. Countries are ranked for their vulnerability on the basis of fatalities and financial losses suffered due to extreme weather events. India slipped from being the 14th-most vulnerable in 2017 to 5th in 2018. The south Asian country saw the highest number of fatalities due to extreme weather events and second-highest financial loss in 2018.
Greenwatch found India to be among the best performing nations with respect to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, increasing the use of renewable energy, and improving energy efficiency. India was ranked ninth among best performing nations behind the likes of Sweden, Denmark, and Morocco. India fared better than Finland, Norway, Chile, and the United States. No country ranked among the top three as, according to Greenwatch, none of the countries are “doing enough to prevent climate change.”
NTPC Limited, India’s largest power generation company, has announced plans to invest US$7 billion in solar energy. The company plans to set up 10 gigawatts of solar power capacity over the next 10 years. The company currently operates over 50 gigawatts of power generation assets, of which only 920 megawatts are based on renewable energy technologies. By 2032, however, the company plans to increase the share of non-fossil fuel capacity to 30%.
Bank of America, under its Environmental Business Initiative, has extended a revolving line of credit to Fourth Partner Energy in India. The bank will lend US$50 million to the company to support the development of distributed solar power projects over the next 18 months. Fourth Partner Energy currently has an operational portfolio of 200 megawatts servicing over 150 companies in India.
Hero Future Energies, a leading private renewable energy power generator in India, secured debt funding worth US$65 million from the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). The company is working on a 250 megawatt solar power project in the western state of Rajasthan. Earlier this year, AIIB had approved funding worth US$75 million to Tata Cleantech Capital for renewable energy projects and expansion of transmission and distribution infrastructure.
MG Motors India launched ZS EV — an electric SUV — to take on Hyundai’s Kona and Nexon EV by Tata Motors. This is the second car model offered by MG Motors which grabbed headlines earlier with the Hector SUV. Formal launch of the car is expected in January 2020. ZS EV has a 44.5 kWh battery pack that power the SUV for 340 kilometers (211 miles) on a single charge. The car offers fast DC charging as well as slow AC charging.
Tata Motors showcased the electric version of its compact SUV Nexon. The car is the company’s second electric passenger vehicle after Tigor. Despite a battery pack of 30.2 kWh, Tata Motors claimed that Nexon could cover more than 300 kilometers (186 miles) on a single charge. The car is based on Tata Motors’ new Ziptron powertrain which is expected to be utilized for many more electric cars by the company. Nexon EV could be prices around US$21,170-$24,000 which would be significantly cheaper than Hyundai Kona, which costs over US$35,300.
Government-owned Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) plans to float a tender to acquire 250 electric cars in the luxury segment. These cars shall then be leased out to cab aggregators like Uber, its Indian-competitor Ola Cabs, and the EV-focused aggregator Blu Smart. The tender, expected to be launched early next year, will be dominated by foreign car markers. Not Indian company currently manufactures electric cars in the luxury segment. The only luxury segment electric car available in India right now is the Hyundai Kona.
The government of the National Capital Region of Delhi in India has announced ambitious targets to increase the share of electric vehicles plying the city. By 2024, the government aims to increase the share of electric vehicles to 25%. The focus of this policy shall be public transport, two-wheelers, and commercial vehicles (cabs and taxis). The government expects the number of electric vehicles in the city to increase to 35,000 over the next year and over half a million over the next five years. As part of the incentives offered in the new policy, the government will offer subsidies for setting up charging stations and procurement of electric vehicles like bikes and rickshaws.
One of India’s leading gasoline retail companies is planning to enter the EV charging space. Government-owned Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) has announced a partnership with another public sector company, Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), to set up EV charging stations for passenger vehicles.
Renewable Energy & Batteries
India’s November RE Generation Up 10%
India witnessed an increased of 10% in renewable energy generation in November 2019 over the same month last year. This is despite the fact that the total power generation in the country was down nearly 5% compared to generation in November 2018. Fossil fuel-based power generation was 10% year-on-year. The share of fossil fuels, however, registered growth for a third consecutive month. Share of renewable energy also increased from 7.2% in October 2019 as well as in November 2018 to 8.4% in November 2019. The share of hydro power and nuclear power declined from 18.6% in October 2019 to 13.8% November 2019.
India’s Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change reiterated his government’s position that the country will achieve the ambitious target of 100 gigawatts of solar power capacity by the end of 2022. According to the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, 30 gigawatts of capacity is under construction while another 37 gigawatts capacity has been tendered. As of the 31st of December 2019 India has an installed solar power capacity of 33.7 gigawatts.
Government-owned NTPC Limited, India’s largest power generation company, has announced plans to set up 10 gigawatts of solar power capacity with an investment of US$7 billion. The company currently has over 50 gigawatts of power generation capacity with just 920 megawatts based on solar power technology. By 2032 the company targets a total generation capacity of 130 gigawatts with 30% based on non-fossil fuels or renewable energy technology.
Power utilities in one of India’s largest states, Uttar Pradesh, recently announced a partnership with Power Ledger to execute a pilot project for blockchain-based solar power trading. Uttar Pradesh is among the largest electricity consuming states in India. A successful peer-to-peer power trading pilot project in the state would go a long way in formulation of blockchain-based power trading in India. This is the second such pilot project secured by Power Ledger in India. The company recently announced a similar project with a power utility in New Delhi. In this case, the project involves 5-6 megawatts of rooftop solar power capacity atop gated communities located in a Delhi suburb.
The Solar Energy Corporation of India issued two tenders of 1.2 gigawatts capacity each. SECI has sought bids from developers to set up 1.2 gigawatts of solar PV projects as well as 1.2 gigawatts of solar-wind energy hybrid projects across the country. Developers are free to choose the project sites and will be offered a power purchase agreement of 25 years in each tender. Recent tenders issued by SECI have not seen encouraging participation from large developers.
After several delays and amendments to the initial tender to link power generation and module manufacturing, the SECI has finally awarded a contract worth 2.5 gigawatts. India-based NYSE-listed Azure Power has secured the rights to develop 2 gigawatts of solar power generation capacity and 500 megawatts of module production capacity. The company, among the leading solar IPPs in India, has no background in or existing facilities for module manufacturing and is likely to partner with existing module manufacturers.
One of the leading Indian states in terms of installed solar power capacity has announced an ambitious target to have 30 gigawatts of solar power capacity installed by 2025. A large portion of this capacity, 24 gigawatts, is expected to come from solar power parks, 4 gigawatts from distribution systems, and 1 gigawatt each from rooftop solar power systems and solar-powered irrigation pumps. As of the 31st of December 2019, the state has 4.8 gigawatts of solar power capacity.