Government may consider duty hike on RE imports

This hike is expected to reduce dependence on imports from China and develop components locally.
Government may consider duty hike on RE imports

RK Singh, Minister, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), stated that there is a need to build domestic manufacturing in India for renewable energy (RE) and doing so government is considering all kinds of possibilities and will be coming up with a plan for hydrogen, battery and storage, hydropower. He also stated that a ‘Top Runner Programme’ will deal with highly-efficient solar products. This has helped China to achieve mass production.

In his address, in the Valedictory Session of the CII Digital Conference on Aatmanirbhar Bharat on Renewable Energy Manufacturing, he educated, “Once renewable energy and balancing power become cost-effective, thermal electricity and fossil fuel will both become a thing of the past in India’s energy mix. India is constantly thinking of innovation in bringing out bids. It came out with a bid on Renewable Energy & storage. The Government is also exploring other bid options such as - round-the-clock grid energy, balance by thermal, balance by hydro etc. The end objective is to increase the demand for storage and bring down prices.”

While manufacturing in the wind sector is majorly indigenous, in solar 80-90 per cent of the components is being imported. This is partly because of India’s in-house capability limitation to manufacture, but also partly because some of the countries have been dumping which has prompted the government to impose anti-dumping and import duties.

As many countries across the globe are dependent on solar and wind energy supplies from China. The Minister assured that these duties are going to only be stronger so that imports do get painful and domestic manufacturing feels incentivized. Singh also said, "The vision for a truly AatmaNirbhar Bharat is zero-dependence on fossil fuel imports." 

This would require storage to be viable, pumped hydro to take off, in-house manufacturing to jumpstart, batteries to become cheap. Speaking on which he said, “Hydrogen may the next big thing for transportation, alongside batteries to understand which is more economically viable. A city-wise segregated approach for the launch of hydrogen and batteries will be undertaken to measure the practical cost-effectiveness of these options. Only condition”, as the Minister enunciated, “would be the per km cost. The per km cost of transport on conventional methods.”

Another key announcement by the Minister came as Top-Runner program, aimed at manufacturing next-generation higher-efficiency solar products. This has helped China in achieving the mass-production of n-type cells. CII has been regularly suggesting this program as a part of its recommendations to the MNRE as a part of its advocacy work on Make in India – Renewables since 2018.

In stating his optimism for domestic manufacturing in the RE sector, he also took cognizance of the existing issues that the government was rallying to solve vis-a-vis – payment security of the entire value chain, the sanctity of contracts, land acquisition and regulatory issues. Regulatory issues by the regulatory commissions need to be streamlined for realizing India’s dreams. “While it is important to transform the energy sector with haste, it has to be a rational haste in ensuring the stability of all stakeholders,” said the Minister.

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