India X Cleantech — March 2021

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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.

Cleantech Investments

ReNew Power Proposes $570 Million Investment In Solar Modules, Lithium-Ion Battery

ReNew Power submitted proposals to set up a solar cell and module production facility with 2–4 gigawatts per annum capacity and another facility to produce lithium-ion batteries. These proposals, submitted to the government of the western state of Gujarat, have now been approved. These facilities will require an investment of around Rs 40 billion ($570 million).

ReNew’s decision to set up a solar cell and module production facility has been spurred by the Indian government’s production-linked incentive scheme. Offered for multiple electronic and semiconductor products, the scheme has helped India attract investments from the likes of Samsung and Apple.

India Renewable Energy Giant Renew Power Preps For Nasdaq Listing

ReNew Power will merge with RMG Acquisition Corporation II which is already listed at Nasdaq. ReNew Power has signed an agreement with the company and hopes to complete the transaction by June. The combined company will be called ReNew Energy Global PLC and will trade at Nasdaq with the ticker symbol RNW. The total enterprise value of the new entity is expected to be $8 billion. Proceeds from this transaction are expected to be around $1.8 billion and will be used to retire debt and fund new projects.

Continuum Wind Energy Plans $600 Million Green Bond

Indian wind energy generator Continuum Wind Energy is planning to issue its first green bond with backing from the International Finance Corporation. According to media reports, Continuum will issue a green bond to raise $500-600 million. The bond will be listed at Singapore Exchange. IFC has announced that it will invest $75 million in the bond. Proceeds from the bond issue will be used by Continuum to refinance six operational wind energy projects with a capacity of 734 megawatts.

Finnish Utility Fortum Looking To Offload India Solar Assets

Fortum India is looking to sell a majority stake in 500 megawatts of solar power projects. Fortum’s plans to sell assets has attracted some marquee investors like Brookfield Asset Management and private equity firm Actis. A total of 3 non-binding bids have been submitted for assets on offer. Fortum has 700 megawatts of solar power assets operational in India. Of the 500 megawatts on the block, around half is operational with the balance nearing completion. The sale of these assets is valued at around €500 million.

Electric Transport

Amazon & Walmart-Backed Rival Flipkart Announce EV Partnerships For Indian Deliveries

E-commerce giant Amazon and its Walmart-backed Indian rival Flipkart have both announced partnerships with electric vehicle manufacturers for last-mile delivery of products. Amazon, in a recent press statement, announced it will strengthen its partnership with Mahindra Electric to procure more electric 3-wheelers for last-mile deliveries. Amazon has already acquired 100 electric 3-wheelers from the EV manufacturer. Flipkart, a homegrown e-commerce company, also shared its plans to expand its electric delivery fleet. The company has acquired 450 electric 2- and 3-wheelers across India. It has partnered with Hero Electric, Mahindra Electric, and Piaggio to acquire electric vehicles.

Renewable Energy & Batteries

Solar Overtakes Wind As India’s Largest Renewable Energy Technology

According to data reported by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy for January 2021, the solar power capacity in India was 38.7 gigawatts. The wind energy capacity was reported to be 38.6 gigawatts. Solar power overtaking wind power as India’s largest renewable energy technology is no surprise — this was expected for a long time. However, the pace at which solar power capacity has grown has been stellar. Ten years back, the solar power capacity was just 18 megawatts, while the wind power capacity was at 13 gigawatts (13,000 megawatts). So, during the last ten years, solar power capacity has grown 2,150 times while wind power capacity has grown three times.

Indian State Auctions 6.4 Gigawatts Of Solar At 3.68¢ Per kWh

Andhra Pradesh recently auctioned 6.4 gigawatts of solar power capacity meant to supply electricity to farmers. The tender offered developers a capacity of 300 megawatts and more in multiple solar power parks spread across the state. Participation in the tender was highly concentrated, with only five developers submitting bids to develop projects. However, the tender was oversubscribed by 2.3 times as developers offered to set up as much as 14.3 gigawatts of capacity.

India To Offer $640 Million In Incentives To Solar Manufacturers

With a target to reduce dependence on imported solar cells and modules, the Indian government has announced an incentive program for solar cell and module manufacturers. India’s finance minister announced a production-linked incentive in this year’s financial budget. The government has earmarked $640 million to incentivize solar manufacturers. Through the incentive scheme, the Indian government hopes to attract investment for 10 gigawatts of solar ingot-to-module capacity by 2023.

Fresh Trouble For Indian Solar Developers As Utilities Dishonor Auction Results

A power distribution company in the western state of Gujarat has asked the state regulator not to approve tariffs of 700 megawatts of solar power projects that it had auctioned last year. The basis of this plea is the sharp decline in tariff bids this year. The 700 megawatts of solar power projects were auctioned last year at Rs 2.78 to 2.81 (US¢3.97 to 4.01) per kilowatt-hour. However, an auction held in January this year saw tariff bids falling to Rs 1.99 (US¢2.84) per kilowatt-hour. The distribution company argued that the large difference (40%) in the two tariffs will have a huge financial impact over 25 years for which the solar power will be contracted for. This financial impact will be passed on to the retail consumers if the higher tariffs are adopted, the distribution company argued.

Indian Cell Manufacturer Plans New 1-Gigawatt Cell & Module Line

Premier Energies has announced plans to set up a new solar cell and module manufacturing line with 1 gigawatt of annual production capacity. The company will invest Rs 4.8 billion ($68 million) into the new plant. The new line will increase the company’s cell and module production capacity from 500 megawatts to 1.5 gigawatts, making it one of the largest producers of cells and modules in India. The new line will be located in the southern city of Hyderabad. It will be spread across 25 acres and is expected to be completed over the next two months.

India Plans Green Hydrogen Auctions

Minister RK Singh said that his government is exploring the possibility to conduct the first green hydrogen auction over the next three to four months. The minister for new and renewable energy is in discussions with the ministry for oil and gas as well as fertilizers and steel to introduce a mandate for companies to buy a set minimum quantum of green hydrogen.

Indian Solar Developer Plans Foray Into Green Hydrogen

One of India’s leading solar power generation companies — Acme Solar Holdings — has announced plans to enter the green hydrogen business. According to a company press release, Acme will partner with French Lhyfe Labs for the production of green hydrogen. The announcement came just days after the Indian finance minister mentioned the government’s plan to launch a national hydrogen energy mission. Media reports suggest that the government will mandate fertilizer, steel, and petrochemical companies to use green hydrogen.

CO2 Footprint Update

India May Have Already Passed Peak Coal

India may have passed peak coal share in its electricity mix in 2018. Energy think tank Ember reports that the share of coal-based electricity has been on the decline since 2018. In 2020, the share of coal power declined by 5%, taking the total decline in its share since 2018 to 8%. The decline in 2020 was due to a mix of a slowdown in economic activity due to the COVID lockdown and a rise in solar and wind energy generation. With the decline in generation at coal-based power plants, their plant load factor also fell to a record low of 53%.

 

 

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