New Energy Roundup: Hydrogen-Powered Car, RIL's Battery Bet And More
Here’s a quick round up of the major developments in the clean energy segment in March…
New Energy Roundup is a monthly collation of key events in the renewable energy and allied sectors.
Investments into new energy picked up as India eyes net zero carbon in the next five decades.
Toyota launched a pilot green hydrogen-powered car. India and Japan extended clean energy partnership. The nation’s most valuable company bought assets of a lithium battery maker. Four firms won bids to make advanced chemistry cell battery storage under the Rs 18,000-crore production-linked incentive scheme. And a new electric two-wheeler enters the market amid incidents of such vehicles catching fire.
Here’s a quick round up of the major developments in the clean energy segment in March…
Hydrogen-Powered Car Pilot
On March 15, Union Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari launched a green hydrogen-powered vehicle, terming it a first-of-its-kind project in India, as the nation aims to cut reliance on fossil fuel-backed vehicles.
The minister last Wednesday arrived at the parliament in the green hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle, Toyota Mirai.
Bengaluru-based Toyota Kirloskar Motor Pvt.—a joint-venture between Japan’s Toyota Motor Corp. and India’s Kirloskar Group—and International Center for Automotive Technology are conducting a pilot project to the study the vehicle's performance on Indian roads and climatic conditions.
The Burning EVs
A couple of days after the hydrogen-backed car debuted, India reported its first instance of an electric two-wheeler catching fire. Then three more such incidents followed.
That prompted the the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways to order a probe. It has reached out to DRDO’s Centre for Fire Explosive and Environment Safety and Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru to examine the cause of the incident.
Last week, Gadkari said in parliament that the government would take “appropriate action” against the manufacturers once investigations are complete.
Clean Energy Partnership
India and Japan have announced an expansion of a clean energy partnership to enhance bilateral cooperation in the area of clean and sustainable development.
Cooperation under this partnership will build on the work already being done by both countries under the auspices of the ‘India-Japan Energy Dialogue’ established in 2007, the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement.
The two countries will collaborate on electric vehicles, storage systems including batteries, EV charging infrastructure, energy efficient appliances, solar photovoltaic cells, wind energy, green hydrogen, green ammonia, cleaner LNG, carbon capture technology and biofuels. They will also collaborate for recycling of batteries, solar panels.
The initiative was launched at the 14th India-Japan Annual Summit in New Delhi during Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s visit on March 19 and 20.
One of the key deals sealed during the Japan PM’s visit was between Suzuki Motor Corp. and the Gujarat government. Suzuki Motor plans to invest Rs 10,445 crore by 2026 to make EVs and EV batteries in the state.
Suzuki Motor Gujarat is a wholly-owned arm of Suzuki Motor Corp., while Maruti Suzuki Toyotsu India is a group company. In an interview to BloombergQuint, Maruti Suzuki Chairman RC Bhargava had said the nation’s largest carmaker will sell EV vehicles produced by Suzuki Motor in India.
RIL’s Latest Battery Bet
Reliance New Energy, a subsidiary of Reliance Industries Ltd., has agreed to acquire assets of Lithium Werks BV for nearly Rs 462 crore ($61 million), as billionaire Mukesh Ambani plans to build a renewable energy ecosystem in India.
Lithium Werks is a cobalt-free lithium battery technology and manufacturing company. It has operations in the U.S., Europe and China.
Lithium Werks has nearly 200-megawatt-hour annual production capacity and produces high-performance lithium iron phosphate batteries, with 219 patents, and an integrated cell manufacturing capacity.
Companies such as Tesla and Ford opt for LFP batteries over tradition lithium ion batteries—that use lithium, nickel, manganese and cobalt—because of their cost efficiency and longer lifetime.
Lithium Works’ acquisition comes after RIL purchased U.K. Faradion Ltd., a sodium-ion cell technology firm.
The two acquisitions—part of Ambani’s commitment to invest $10 billion in sustainable energy initiatives over three years—will give RIL access to end-to-end battery ecosystem and enhance its capabilities for battery production.
Green Hydrogen Advocacy Group
Six renewable energy firms have formed an independent advocacy group for green hydrogen in India, the Economic Times reported on March 28, citing people aware of the matter.
Acme Group, Azure Power, Fortum India, SunEdison Infrastructure, O2 Power and Sprng Energy have founded the Independent Green Hydrogen Association.
BloombergQuint’s emailed queries to the six companies weren’t immediately answered.
The group intends to engage with the government and stakeholders and provide technical inputs to develop a policy framework for green hydrogen in India, the report said.
This comes as several Indian companies, including RIL, Larsen & Toubro Ltd., JSW Steel Ltd., NTPC Ltd., Bharat Petroleum Corp., Indian Oil Corp. and Jindal Steel & Power Ltd.—detailed plans to set up green hydrogen units.
Adani Green, NTPC’s Sri Lanka Projects
Adani Green Energy Ltd. has signed a deal for two large power projects in Sri Lanka, The Hindu reported, citing island-nation’s weekend newspaper Sunday Morning.
The Ceylon Electricity Board is reported to have signed an MoU with Adani Green to develop a 500 megawatt wind power project at a cost of $500 million. BloombergQuint’s emailed queries to Adani Renewables weren’t immediately answered.
Also, NTPC Ltd. and the Ceylon Electricity Board have signed an agreement to set up a 100 MW solar power project in eastern Sri Lanka, according to a PTI report.
These come amid power and fuel shortage in Sri Lanka. Its government has extended the duration of daily power cuts to 13 hours. Diesel supplies, food and medicine stocks have been affected. Even the country's stock market will stay open for fewer hours this week.
ArcelorMittal formed a strategic partnership with Hyderabad-based Greenko Group to develop a renewable energy project with 975 MW of nominal capacity.
The $480-million (600 million Canadian dollars) project will utilise solar and wind power, according to a company statement. It will be supported by Greenko’s hydro-pumped storage project, which helps to overcome the intermittent nature of wind and solar power generation.
Greenko will design, construct and operate the renewable energy facilities in Andhra Pradesh. The project, owned by ArcelorMittal, is expected to be commissioned by mid-2024.
ArcelorMittal will purchase 250 MW of renewable electricity annually from this project.
Ola Electric Mobility, Hyundai Global Motors Co., Reliance New Energy Solar and Rajesh Exports Ltd. have won bids under the country’s $2.4-billion (Rs 18,100 crore) scheme to build gigafactories that make battery cells in India.
Ola and Hyundai each have been awarded production-linked incentives for setting up 20 gigawatt hour of manufacturing capacity for advanced chemistry cell battery storage, the Ministry of Heavy Industries said in a statement.
Reliance New Energy and Rajesh Exports will get PLI for setting up 5 GWh of manufacturing capacity. Reliance had bid for 20 GWh, and the remaining 15 GWh has been waitlisted.
The manufacturing facility will have to be set up within two years.
Bids of Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd., Exide Industries Ltd., Larsen & Toubro Ltd., Amara Raja Batteries Ltd. and India Power Corp. have been waitlisted.
New EV On The Block
Oben Electric has launched a battery-powered two-wheeler as competition hots up in India’s nascent market amid a push for cleaner transport to curb emissions.
‘Rorr’ is priced at Rs 99,999 (ex-showroom price) in Maharashtra and more than Rs 1 lakh in other states, according to details available on the company website.
The electric motorcycle can clock 200 km on a single charge. The two-wheelers can log top speed of 100 km an hour and charging time is two hours.
Customers can pre-book the vehicle now, while the test-drive starts in May. The Bengaluru-based mobility startup, according to a PTI report, plans to roll out a new product every six months over the next two years.
Sovereign Green Bonds
India will issue at least Rs 24,000 crore in sovereign green bonds amid the shift to a low-carbon economy, Bloomberg reported citing officials with knowledge of the matter.
Debut sale may take place in first half of the ongoing fiscal. Decision to sell more green debt will depend on response to the maiden issuance. A green bond is specifically used as fixed-income instrument to fund projects working to allay climate concerns.
Other Deals And Developments
Adani Power has signed a pact with Japanese firms IHI Corp. and Kowa Co. to study the feasibility of using liquid ammonia in its Mundra power plant.
Norway-based Skyfri Group has acquired Avi Solar, the operations and maintenance services provider for solar power projects in India. The financial details are not yet disclosed. Skyfri, said in a statement, the acquisition would bring over 500 MW of additional solar power plants for some of the largest and most reputed renewable asset investors and owners such as KKR, Cleantech, Bosch and Honda onto its platform called Skyfri Intelligence.
Adani Solar and Smart Power India—a subsidiary of Rockefeller Foundation—has signed a non-financial, non-commercial pact for equitable access to last-mile electricity in rural India, LiveMint reported. The pact intends to promote use of solar rooftop panels and achieve 5 MW of solar deployment in rural and peri-urban areas of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and Odisha. BloombergQuint’s emailed queries to Adani Solar and Rockefeller Foundation weren’t immediately answered.
Tata Power and Rustomjee Group collaborated to set up EV charging infrastructure across the Mumbai Metropolitan region.
Power Grid Corp. has approved investment proposals for five projects worth Rs 821.29 crore. Two of the five projects worth Rs 249.37 crore pertain to renewable energy. The company approved Rs 129.38 crore for strengthening transmission system beyond Kolhapur for export of power from solar and wind energy zones in southern region. The Rs 120.09-crore investment is toward evacuation of 500 MW renewable energy in Tirunelveli and Tuticore Wind Energy zone in Tamil Nadu. The plant is scheduled to be commissioned by March 2023.
Adani Power has acquired 100% of paid-up share capital and management control of Essar Power MP. The cost of acquisition of the 1,200 MW power plant, along with rehabilitation cost, stood at Rs 4,250 crore. Essar Power MP is undergoing insolvency resolution under the IBC.
The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has constituted a committee to push women-centric policies, programmes and interventions in the renewable energy sector.
British International Investment (CDC Group) has announced a total investment of Rs 665 crore ($89 million) to scale up renewable energy capacity in India. About Rs 350 crore will be used to build 294 MW of greenfield renewable generation capacity across India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Vietnam. British International Investment aims to spend 30% of its new investment in climate finance, under its new five-year strategy.
SpiceJet, Boeing and CSIR-Indian Institute of Petroleum will work together to explore opportunities for the use of sustainable aviation fuel in Indian aviation industry. SAF—made from several feedstocks, and can be blended with traditional jet fuel without modifications to aircraft—is expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by at least 65%.
Torrent Power has bought 100% share capital of LREHL Renewables India SPV 1 Pvt. The special purpose vehicle operates a 50 MW solar power plant in Maharashtra. The enterprise value for this acquisition is around Rs 300 crore. With this acquisition, Torrent Power’s total generation capacity will rise to 4.6 GW, with a renewable portfolio of over 1.5 GW.
(Source: Company statements, exchange filings)