Dr. Rahul Walawalkar, President, India Energy Storage Alliance (IESA) shares his views on Union Budget 2020
Power and RE sector
- We welcome the government’s focus on the Power and RE sector by the allocation of Rs 20,000 crore for the renewable energy sector. With the recent path breaking tenders showing viability of RE+ storage as an alternative to Peaker plants. Government’s plan to retire old inefficient thermal plants can be achieved through RE+ storage hybrid projects, thus providing a boost for efforts for cleaner air and renewable energy push.
- We welcome the announcement on concessional corporate task rate of 15% to generations sector as this can attract greater investments in RE sector in India.
- Over the past 2-3 years, we have witnessed reliance on solar pumps to reduce distribution network losses by various states. We urge the government to consider use of micro grids that can help improve utilization of solar panels deployed with these pumps as well as ensuring ground water management is done. Without such integrated policies, push for just deployment of solar pumps could lead to exploitation of limited ground water resources and result in unintended consequences during summer months.
- We welcome steps to boost electronics manufacturing. Power electronics and electronic manufacturing is essential part of advanced storage and EV ecosystem. We hope that this new scheme can boost component manufacturing in India and reduce reliance on imports for Indian companies.
- IESA was given the push under Niti Aayog’s mission National Mission on Transformative Mobility and Battery Storage for indigenous manufacturing. We were anticipating a clear allocation of resources for accelerating e-mobility and setting up of Giga factory which was a miss in the budget. We hope finance ministry will provide a clarification on this early next week.
Policy for building data centre parks
- India is already witnessing rapid growth of data centres. Data centres need high quality and reliability of power supply. This would give a big boost for integration of advanced energy storage technologies that can offer higher energy density and thus allow data centres to dedicate more space to deploying servers for revenue generating activities.
Kishan Rail’ network to ferry perishable goods faster, will have refrigerated coaches
- We thank the government for addressing issues of lost agricultural produce during transportation that leads to huge losses for farmers. Use of refrigerated coaches as well as cold storage facilities would help reduce these losses to large extent, thus helping to boost income of farmers in India. IESA and its members are working on the use of thermal storage technologies for both cold storage and refrigerated transportation facilities as well as looking of use of microgrids for local processing of agricultural produce and thermal storage for accelerated drying of agricultural produce.
100 more airports would be developed by 2024 to support Udaan scheme
- Air transportation is witnessing rapid consumer demands. IESA anticipates that by 2021, electric planes will be commercially available for transporting passengers from smaller airports with a radius of 500 km. The government’s push for opening up 100 more new airports can receive huge boost if India can become early adopter of ePlanes. Due to lower operating costs and smaller sizes, this can enable rapid grown of air transportation amongst these newly formed airports.
INR 4,400 Cr allocation for climate change policy
- We thank government for their focus on climate change policy. Government’s push for Renewable energy is an integrated part of this policy and we are happy that energy storage has been recognized as a key enabler for the RE targets. The allocation for the climate change policy will result in faster deployment of RE+ hybrid projects in 2020-21.
To boost startups, tax burden on employees due to tax on Employee Stock Options to be deferred by five years or till they leave the company or when they sell, whichever is earliest.
- Government’s 5 year tax holiday will definitely encourage the new innovation in electric vehicle and energy storage startups to flourish in India. This will provide a competitive platform for Indian startups to compete with global players.
Development of five new smart cities in collaboration with States in PPP mode
- We have already seen short listing of 100 smart cities in the past. But the actual amount of work done on implementation is minimal. We need to evaluate the progress made so far and ensure that we can create smart cities that can achieve all the stated objectives and setting up example.
Fish production to be raised to 200 lakh tonnes by 2022-23
- Reliable power supply is essential for the fisheries. IESA is already working on exploring role of microgrids for helping fisheries to avoid losses due to power cuts. We look forward to helping government is achieving the target for increasing fish production in India.
No manual cleaning of sewer systems or septic tanks
- IESA welcomes this step. Entrepreneurs are developing new tools that can automate task of cleaning of drainage systems (such as Bandicoot, a drainage-cleaning robot). With the advances in energy storage technologies and availability of compact high power batteries, such systems can reach tougher spots and help us eliminate need for manual cleaning immediately. We encourage all industries and residential societies to consider such options before choosing for manual scavenging.
- We are looking forward to further details on this plan. Push for opening up waterways for transportation and developing economic activities along the river banks can be achieved through introduction of electric boats, that can also ensure minimal damage to fragile ecosystems along with the rivers.