New Delhi: Exhorting India to ‘seize the moment’ in the global energy transition, Minister for Power and New and Renewable Energy RK Singh said that India needs to emerge as a green fuel destination for the global shipping sector. Delivering the inaugural address at a seminar organised by NTPC on ‘Green Hydrogen Pilots in India’ on the sidelines of the G20 Summit on Tuesday, Singh said that India has the potential to become one of the cheapest producers of green hydrogen because it has set up a huge ecosystem of renewable energy (RE) and enjoys natural advantages.
“For India, this is the moment. For long, we have been importers of energy. And we have been huge importers energy because we are a large country. And we are growing. If we don’t do something about it, our import bills will only multiply because our energy needs will grow as our economy grows. And this is the moment because we can emerge as exporters of energy,” said the Power Minister.
Stating that the global shipping sector is going to go green in the next 10 years, Singh said that India needs to emerge as a green fuel destination for the global shipping sector. “Shipping will go green in the next 10 years. And we have to emerge as the refuelling destination for all green ships. That’s our ambition. Because we can provide them green hydrogen or green ammonia or green methanol at the cheapest rates. So we need to prepare ourselves for it and ready bunkers at shipping ports,” said Singh.
Commenting on green hydrogen mobility pilots, the minister said, “Similarly, the pilots for heavy-duty long-haul vehicles can be structured in a way that we invite bids for refuelling points on select routes for long-haul vehicles. And I believe that if we provide VGF (Viability Gap Funding) for the first and the second round, third round onwards, no VGF will be required. The way prices of petrol and diesel are rising, this will emerge as a commercially viable alternative on its own.”
In order to develop an indigenous solution to the problem of energy storage for RE projects, the government is also planning to come out with pilot projects that involve green hydrogen, green ammonia-based storage along with round-the-clock (RTC) RE power. “If we have round-the-clock renewable energy using green hydrogen or ammonia storage, it will be priced around Rs 4.25–5.50. There are companies that have already developed turbines that can use green hydrogen or ammonia. That will free me in one stroke from the need to import large-scale Li-ion batteries till we have our own manufacturing capacity. But using green hydrogen or ammonia storage will be a better option because this will be entirely homegrown,” said Singh.
Bhupinder Singh Bhalla, Secretary at the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), said that the recently-unveiled National Green Hydrogen Mission is a visionary step towards energy independence and environment sustainability. “At its core, the mission aims to position India as a global hub for the production, utilisation and export of Green Hydrogen and its derivatives. It is a strategic move that promises to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, combat climate change and ensure energy security. But the showpiece of this mission are the pilot projects which have been allocated a funding of Rs 1,466 crore and hold the key to innovation and experimentation. Out of this amount, Rs 456 crore has been set aside for steel, Rs 495 crore for transport, Rs 115 crore for shipping and Rs 400 crore for other projects. So, we have a large budget for pilot projects,” he said.
Stressing on the importance of pilot projects for the green hydrogen ecosystem, NTPC CMD Gurdeep Singh said, “Green hydrogen pilots will be extremely helpful in scaling up these technologies in size and numbers. It is heartening to see that it is not just the public sector which is taking up pilot projects, but also the private sector. These pilot projects will not just help us understand what should be done but also the nitty-gritty pertaining to the standardisation of products, the nature of input material required, the skill sets needed for the workforce, among other things. These projects will helps us develop the entire ecosystem in the long run.”
Addressing the participants, Mohit Bhargava, NTPC Green Energy Limited (NGEL) CEO, said, “We are hopeful that the pilot projects on green hydrogen by both public and private sector will be useful not only in making sense of these new technologies but also in deciding how to take things further when we move into the commercial phase.”
During the seminar, NTPC, NHPC, Oil India Limited (OIL), Cochin Shipyard, H2E, Acme Group, L&T, et al, gave presentations on their green hydrogen pilot projects.