“The vision for a truly AatmaNirbhar Bharat is zero-dependence on fossil fuel imports” – Mr RK Singh

New Delhi:  Minister, Mr RK Singh’s address at the “Valedictory Session” of the CII Digital Conference on Aatmanirbhar Bharat on Renewable Energy Manufacturing, could not have been more forward-looking and practical. “Once renewable energy and balancing power become cost-effective, thermal electricity and fossil fuel will both become a thing of the past in India’s energy mix. India is constantly thinking innovation in bringing out bids. It came out with a bid on Renewable Energy & storage. The Government is also exploring other bid options such as – round-the clock grid energy, balance by thermal, balance by hydro etc. The end objective is to increase demand for storage and bring down prices.” This would require storage to be viable, pumped hydro to take off, in-house manufacturing to jumpstart, battery to become cheap.

“Hydrogen may the next big thing for transportation, alongside batteries to understand which is more economically viable. A city-wise segregated approach for launch of hydrogen and batteries will be undertaken to measure the practical cost-effectiveness of these options. Only condition”, as the Minister enunciated, “would be the per km cost. The per km cost of transport on conventional methods.”

Another key announcement by the Hon’ble Minister was his Ministry’s advocacy for the “Top-Runner program” in manufacture of higher-efficiency next-generation solar products. This is what helped China in achieving mass-production of n-type cells. CII has been regularly suggesting this program as a part of its recommendations to the Ministry of New & Renewable Energy as a part of its advocacy work on Make in India – Renewables since 2018.

In stating his optimism for domestic manufacturing in the RE sector, he also took cognizance of the existing issues that the government was rallying to solve vis-a-vis – payment security of the entire value chain, sanctity of contracts, land acquisition and regulatory issues. Regulatory issues by the regulatory commissions need to be streamlined for realizing India’s dreams. “While it is important to transform the energy sector with haste, it has to be a rational haste,” said the Minister, “in ensuring stability of all stakeholders.”

While manufacturing in the wind sector is majorly indigenous, in solar 80-90 percent of the components is being imported. This is partly because of India’s in-house capability limitation to manufacture, but also partly because some of the countries have been dumping which has prompted the government to impose anti-dumping and import duties.

In the coming days, the Minister assured, that these duties are going to only be stronger so that imports do get painful and domestic manufacturing feels incentivized.

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