Last Updated: January 03, 2022
New Delhi: NITI Aayog’s Energy Advisor, Rajnath Ram discusses the think-tank’s green hydrogen plans, the status of India’s hydrogen policy, and the country’s renewable energy target in an exclusive interview with ETEnergyWorld. Edited excerpts:
What are the new policies NITI Aayog is currently working on in the renewable energy and green hydrogen space?
We deal with power, petroleum and natural gas, even atomic power. We are in the process of launching the India Climate and Energy Modeling Forum. It is an India-led platform where all the research agencies, think tanks, and the modelers are engaged. It has a two-tier structure with the steering committee and the inter-ministerial committee to provide the guidance and contemporary issues are currently being discussed. We are taking up the exercise for detailed modeling and study. The idea was to create a taskforce to look at several issues — low carbon pathways, decarbonisation etc. We also try to ensure some funding for such projects.
The deliberations from this forum will lead to policy formulation. We have also involved the respective ministries to be party to this because ultimately the study has to be integrated with policymaking. We are expanding the scope of this forum to integrate climate and economy in it as well. So, a detailed modeling exercise will be carried out to achieve the COP26 and the net zero targets. The policy coming out as a result of this forum will provide a broad energy vision for the country. The forum will give its report in 3-5 months. We will be piloting it and will then submit it to the respective ministries for their final comments.
What is the status of India’s plan to launch a Hydrogen policy? How far have the stakeholder consultations proceeded?
It is already under discussion, stakeholder consultation has happened, and inputs have been taken from the stakeholders. Inter-ministerial consultations are underway.
Do you think as a country we’re doing the right things to ensure that we reach a hydrogen cost of less than $1 per kg by 2030. Do you think it is possible?
It can be possible. An electrolyzer manufacturing company based at Bengaluru has already announced that they will achieve $1 per kg of green hydrogen production by 2025. It is achievable.
Talking of clean fuel and solar, the solar rooftop segment hasn’t really performed the way it was expected to be. We are missing the targets there. What could be the reasons?
I think there is a huge potential in the solar rooftops, but there are some issues such as the subsidy component which has not been provided to the standalone solar rooftops. As of now, only grid-interactive rooftop projects have been provided with the subsidy of 40 per cent but not the standalone ones. Also, we need support for energy storage.
The residential sector has been a laggard and major installation has been done by the industry and the commercial sector. Getting loans from banks is also an issue for residential customers as the banks ask for large collateral whereas the commercial industry, having good balance, get loans easily.
There is a view that the new target of 450 gigawatts of renewable energy by 2030 will not be enough to meet India’s clean energy requirement based on the projected growth in consumption. What is your view?
That is true. But, there are some other aspects too. One, India’s per capita energy consumption is one-third of global average. So, we have to think at what factor the energy consumption needs to grow. The other important aspect of it is that even if you are adding this much capacity where you are going to consume it? Entire renewable generation, because of its nature, has to be integrated in the grid. For that integration we need extra storage capacity and infrastructure. To achieve this 500 GW, we have to think of the decentralised mode of energy
.We should also think of green hydrogen in this. If sufficient demand is created for hydrogen and if India can look for an export market India can achieve the 500 GW target because green hydrogen has that kind of potential. Green hydrogen can easily cater to about 200 GW of this 500 GW RE target. If we are able to export green ammonia we can tap some of the markets like in Asia. By 2030, it is expected that about 300-odd million tonnes per annum demand would be there for green ammonia. So India can cater to this market and once the export potential is increased, India can quickly ramp up its renewable capacity.