Today, India has 141 GW of installed capacity of Renewable Energy [RE] making it the fourth largest installed capacity globally – fourth largest for wind and fifth largest for solar. India has also set for itself the world’s largest RE expansion plan ~ to achieve 175 GW by 2022 and 450 GW by 2030 in installed capacity. The RE installed capacity has already seen a 226 per cent increase in the last five years. India has also been designated as a ‘Global Champion’ for energy transition at the UN High Level Dialogue on Energy and ranked 3rd in EY Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index. India’s RE sector has already received investments worth $70 billion in the last seven years and presents additional business prospects worth $20 billion for the next decade.
France-based Total Group acquired 20 per cent stake in Adani Green Energy Limited worth $2.5 billion last year. ORIX Corp invested $980 million in wind assets of Greenko Energy Holdings, which has existing investments from sovereign funds GIC & ADIA worth $2.2 billion. In May 2021, Virescent Infrastructure acquired 76 per cent of India’s solar asset portfolio of Singapore-based Sindicatum Renewable Energy Company Pte Ltd.
Reliance Industries, intends to develop four huge “giga factories” to manufacture photovoltaic modules, batteries, fuel cells, and ~ importantly ~ electrolysers to produce hydrogen. It bridges two aspects of decarbonization: technologies that exist today and are economical at scale, and those that need a major effort to get to that point.
Hydrogen is an energy carrier that can transform our fossil-fuel dependent economy into a hydrogen economy, which can provide an emissions-free transportation fuel. A renewable energy-hydrogen system can provide the means of a totally emissions-free method of producing energy and can reduce fossil fuel use. Many environmental issues have been caused due to increased use of fossil fuel during generation, transformation and use of energy, for example, acid rain, stratospheric ozone depletion and global climate change.
Around the world, storms, floods, and wildfires are intensifying. Air pollution sadly affects the health of tens of millions of people and unpredictable weather causes untold damage to homes and livelihoods too. But while the impacts of climate change are devastating, advances in tackling it are leading to cleaner air, creating good jobs, restoring nature and at the same time unleashing economic growth.
Under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India is looking to kick-start Green hydrogen ecosystem development. Various initiatives with respect to the greater use of hydrogen in India’s energy mix have already started. National Hydrogen Mission has made a hydrogen roadmap for the country. Pilot projects on Blue Hydrogen, Hydrogen CNG (H-CNG) and Green Hydrogen have already been initiated. Through technological advancements, the blending of hydrogen with compressed natural gas for use as transportation fuel as well as an industrial input to refineries has started. Fifty buses in Delhi are plying on blended hydrogen in Compressed Natural Gas on a pilot basis. There is a plan to scale it up in the coming months across the major cities of India. The Prime Minister in his Independence Day speech this year said, “Energy is integral to support our fast-growing economy, and we are developing an energy sector which will be growth-centric, industry-friendly and environment-conscious.” He said that we have the onerous task of ensuring energy justice and to end energy poverty in the country. This requires ample access to affordable energy to improve the lives of Indians coupled with the need to have a smaller carbon footprint. He further announced India becoming a global hub for green hydrogen production and exports. Recently COP26 president Alok Sharma said that he has requested the Indian government to consider raising ambitions in emission reduction targets and reiterated that a delivery plan on finance for developing countries is being put in place ahead of the conference in Glasgow later this year. India is the only country among G-20 nations whose actions are at par with the nationally determined contributions (NDCs) set by them under the Paris Agreement in 2015. Negotiators from both India and the UK expressed their willingness to explore the possibility of establishing a Green Climate Fund which could materialise the proposal for climate finance to the tune of $100 billion pledged by developed countries under the Paris Agreement.
Green hydrogen is the biggest goal and will help provide a quantum jump to India. India’s strategy will be to leverage scale for its ambitious green hydrogen plan on the lines of its renewable energy programme , leading the country to run the world’s largest clean energy programme . India is on track to achieve its renewable energy target of 450 gigawatt (GW) by 2030.
India’s total hydrogen demand is expected to touch 11.7 million tonnes (mt) by 2029-30 from the current 6.7 mt. With the current cost of green hydrogen produced by electrolysis estimated at around Rs 350 per kg, the plan is to more than halve it to Rs 160 per kg by 2029-30. The government also aims to extend the production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme for manufacturing electrolysers to produce green hydrogen. This initiative on green hydrogen can help us to build an ecosystem of a 2-3 trillion-dollar industry in the next 20-25 years.
Hydrogen gas is colourless, odourless, and non-toxic. It is classified as a flammable gas, and the ignition of hydrogen mixed with air can result in an explosion. Hydrogen is combustible when mixed with air in concentrations ranging from 4 to 75 per cent by volume, and compared with other flammable substances, very low energy input is required to ignite the gas. For example, hydrogen gas can be ignited by static discharge from clothing and equipment and by spontaneous combustion. Hydrogen is lighter than air – which means that a leak will rise quickly. In the outdoor use of hydrogen, this is positive in terms of safety, because a leak will quickly dissipate. However, it is still important to focus on preventing accidental discharge.
To achieve these goals and bring a renewable Hydrogen ecosystem in India, we need to develop Centres of Excellence in each state in India and train engineers and technicians immediately.
(To be Concluded)