Rolling on elec­tric­ity

Elec­tric ve­hi­cles can help boost the sag­ging power sec­tor – and re­duce pol­lu­tion too

Governance Now - - PEOPLE POLITICS POLICY PERFORMANCE - Radha Kr­ishna Tripathy Tripathy is a se­nior fel­low at the CUTS In­sti­tute for Reg­u­la­tion and Com­pe­ti­tion, New Delhi.

Aniti Aayog re­port says in­dia has the po­ten­tial to save about $60 bil­lion in petrol and diesel costs if it goes in a big way for elec­tric ve­hi­cles. There are chal­lenges, no doubt; but the ad­van­tages far out­weigh the neg­a­tives. not only will an elec­tric ve­hi­cle pro­gramme save bil­lions in for­eign cur­rency out­flow, it will give a new lease of life to the power sec­tor – es­pe­cially in re­new­able sources.

cur­rently, de­mand growth in the power sec­tor is slow. Very few power pur­chase agree­ments (PPAS) are be­ing signed. Hence, many power projects are stalled and new power projects are not com­ing up. Power gen­er­a­tion has taken a hit, ad­versely af­fect­ing the econ­omy and job growth. on the other hand, the gov­ern­ment has set a huge tar­get for power gen­er­a­tion from re­new­able sources: 175 gw by 2022, of which 100 gw has been set for so­lar power, 60 gw for wind-based sources, and 15 gw for other re­new­able sources. (For an idea of what a gi­gawatt is, an av­er­age nu­clear plant gen­er­ates about a gi­gawatt, while it would take 400 av­er­age wind tur­bines of about 2.5 MW to pro­duce the same.) so­lar projects are be­ing awarded due to gov­ern­ment push, but dis­tri­bu­tion util­i­ties are not buy­ing enough from them. They can­not be faulted, for the de­mand is low.

To push de­mand growth would re­quire mas­sive gov­ern­ment pro­grammes and ma­jor re­forms ini­tia­tives. The ‘Make in in­dia’ ini­tia­tive may push de­mand for power a lit­tle bit, with new in­dus­trial and com­mer­cial set­ups com­ing up in the coun­try, this will not be enough. in this sce­nario, it is im­por­tant for the gov­ern­ment to find such a so­lu­tion to cre­at­ing that de­mand that is at the same time sus­tain­able in the long run – fi­nan­cially, so­cially, and en­vi­ron­men­tally. The so­lu­tion should also be aligned with the sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment goals of the coun­try.

With this per­spec­tive, the idea of mov­ing com­pletely to elec­tric­ity ve­hi­cles (ev) by 2030 is a wel­come step. The writ­ing on the wall is clear for all stake­hold­ers. There is a clear mo­tive from the gov­ern­ment side, and there is enough time to cope with the change. Ve­hi­cle man­u­fac­turer would have to strate­gise their busi­ness plans to move to man­u­fac­tur­ing elec­tric ve­hi­cles.

There are mul­ti­ple ben­e­fits for all stake­hold­ers. For the gov­ern­ment, it

would help ful­fill its tar­get of re­duc­ing crude and petroleum im­ports by 10 per­cent by 2022. The move to elec­tric ve­hi­cles will cre­ate less de­mand from the trans­port sec­tor, and though there’s em­pha­sis on dis­cov­er­ing do­mes­tic re­serves of oil and gas, the switch will help re­duce im­ports. There may be ini­tial shock for the oil com­pa­nies, but they have am­ple time to ad­just with the new norms and change their long-term strat­egy by ex­plor­ing op­por­tu­nity in the new par­a­digm.

it would also help the gov­ern­ment to gen­er­ate di­rect and in­di­rect em­ploy­ment through up­ward and down­ward streams of the elec­tric ve­hi­cle value chain, such as cre­at­ing new charg­ing in­fra­struc­ture, bat­tery man­u­fac­tur­ing, bat­tery swap­ping, etc. it will also help in at­tract­ing for­eign in­vest­ment in the coun­try to make their man­u­fac­tur­ing base here and thus may boost the Make in in­dia ini­tia­tive. The r&d re­quire­ment in bat­tery tech­nol­ogy may even­tu­ally open up the re­search sec­tor in in­dia with gov­ern­ment help and sup­port.

The gov­ern­ment would strive to make bat­ter­ies af­ford­able for ac­cel­er­ated adop­tion of elec­tric ve­hi­cles for the masses. Most im­por­tantly, it will help the gov­ern­ment achieve its tar­get of re­duc­ing over­all car­bon foot­print by 30 to 35 per­cent by 2030 by in­creas­ing re­new­able ca­pac­ity ad­di­tions to the coun­try. it will act as a cat­a­lyst to in­crease the so­lar ca­pac­ity gen­er­a­tion in the coun­try as the de­mand will be led by the elec­tric­ity re­quire­ment com­ing from the trans­port sec­tor for ve­hi­cle charg­ing.

This would also help the power sec­tor in mul­ti­ple ways. A large fleet of elec­tric ve­hi­cles would nat­u­rally con­sume more elec­tric­ity. This would re­quire more elec­tric­ity to be gen­er­ated to sup­ply the charg­ing sta­tions. This would help cre­ate the much needed power de­mand and hence more ca­pac­ity ad­di­tion. on the gen­er­a­tion side, clean coal tech­nol­ogy based power gen­er­a­tion may see a come­back as base loads. This would also help so­lar power gen­er­a­tion with gen­er­a­tors hav­ing com­fort of power de­mand re­vival as dis­tri­bu­tion com­pa­nies would more likely to en­ter into long-term PPAS with them. Al­ter­na­tively, it would also spur in more and more cap­tive gen­er­a­tions based on so­lar to ful­fill the de­mand from the trans­port sec­tor. so­lar-based in­di­vid­ual charg­ing sta­tions can also be a re­al­ity in in­dia.

it would come as a boon to the dis­tri­bu­tion com­pa­nies that are al­ready strug­gling with huge debt in their bal­ance sheets. such an ini­tia­tive would help their busi­ness as they would be pre­ferred among oth­ers to build in the charg­ing in­fra­struc­ture and pro­vide the elec­tric­ity to users on pay­ment ba­sis. even if the gov­ern­ment de­cides to build the in­fra­struc­ture on PPP ba­sis or any other modes, the sale of power would be through the dis­tri­bu­tion com­pa­nies, which would def­i­nitely boost their rev­enue prospects.

Last but not the least, con­sumers and so­ci­ety at large who are strug­gling with the grow­ing men­ace of pol­lu­tion in cities and sub­ur­ban ar­eas would get much needed re­lief. one of the ma­jor pol­luters in the cities is the trans­port sec­tor with grow­ing fleets added day by day to ex­ist­ing num­ber of petroland diesel-driven ve­hi­cles. A move to­wards elec­tric ve­hi­cles would cer­tainly help in less­en­ing the pol­lu­tion level and in­creas­ing the hope for fresh air to the com­mu­nity. There might be ini­tial hic­cups due to the move from oil and gas to elec­tric ve­hi­cles and dif­fi­cul­ties ow­ing to the in­fra­struc­ture avail­abil­ity and other op­er­a­tional and com­mer­cial con­straints. But largely, it would get an over­whelm­ing sup­port from the con­sumers.

so, de­spite all the chal­lenges in terms of op­er­a­tional and com­mer­cial con­straints and de­bates around the vi­a­bil­ity of the oil and gas sec­tor, pos­si­ble job losses, this is an op­por­tu­nity In­dia can­not af­ford to lose or waste time on.

The trans­port sec­tor has a huge op­por­tu­nity and with gov­ern­ment in­cen­tives and sup­port, they would do well in chang­ing their strat­egy and adopt the new tech­nol­ogy faster. re­search and con­sult­ing agen­cies need to come up with new ideas and mod­els to show­case how best it can be im­ple­mented and in what way. A syn­ergy be­tween all stake­hold­ers with proac­tive gov­ern­ment poli­cies and ac­tions will def­i­nitely see elec­tric ve­hi­cles be­ing the prime mode of trans­port in in­dia by 2030, or even be­fore.

Man­u­fac­tur­ers need to switch to mak­ing elec­tric ve­hi­cles, and more power from re­new­able sources needs to be gen­er­ated. New job and busi­ness ops, such as bat­tery mak­ing and recharg­ing cen­tres, will also open up.

photo: wikimedia

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.