Davos 2023: India To Be Net Exporter Of Green Hydrogen, Says Power Minister

Large mobility will happen on green hydrogen in future, Power Minister RK Singh said.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Union Power Minister RK Singh. (Photo: Vijay Sartape/BQ Prime)</p></div>
Union Power Minister RK Singh. (Photo: Vijay Sartape/BQ Prime)

India's 2030 target of setting up 10 million tonnes of green hydrogen capacity is conservative and will be achieved well in advance, Union Minister RK Singh said on Thursday.

The import of fossil fuel or petroleum products will stop in the long run as the country is transitioning to electric and hydrogen fuel, the Union Minister of Power and New and Renewable Energy, told BQ Prime's Niraj Shah at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

"Private players with concrete plans and land, etc., have already lined up to set around 6 MTPA of green hydrogen and 32 MTPA of green ammonia capacities in the country," Singh said. 

"Large mobility will happen on green hydrogen in future," he said.  

India will become the net exporter of green hydrogen in the coming years as it is the cheapest producer of renewable energy, which constitutes 75% of the cost of green hydrogen.

"Nobody can compete with us on the pricing," he said. 

"In a free-and-fair competition, the world will have to buy from us. They may put a barrier on us and buy three times the costly hydrogen of their own. But then, in that case, they cannot turn back to us … Because barriers will create barriers," Singh said. 

The ministry has also started pilot projects for green steel, shipping on green ammonia and long-range mobility using hydrogen fuel cells. The country has started a pilot project for green hydrogen buses from Leh to Delhi, and from Delhi to Jaipur. Once they are successful, they will be used commercially, he said.

Need For Storage Capacities

India's complete transition to green energy will require the backing of battery storage. Unless that happens, this transition will take time.  

The ministry recently invited bids for 1,000 MWh of battery storage capacity at a rate of Rs 10/kWh. This was four times the rate of renewable energy power of Rs 2.50/kWh.

"Although the prices are high, we have finalised the bid and will be using it to create volume and reduce prices," the minister said. 

NTPC also carried out a bid for 3,000 MWh of pumped hydro capacity at Rs 5/kWh.  

Highlighting the need to reduce the price of battery storage, Singh said the country should add volume and capacity for battery storage.

The country would also go big on pumped hydro storage that would resolve the supply-chain issues related to the supply of lithium-ion, where all the known reserves have been tied-up by China, he said.

"We will avoid lithium-ion and rather focus on sodium-ion or green ammonia as our options for battery storage," he said.

India's Progress In Renewable Space

Today, 42% of India's power capacity is from renewable energy, the minister said, adding that it achieved its 40% target for 2030, nine years in advance.

Similarly, the carbon emissions' reduction target of 30% was achieved eight years in advance. India's coal capacity has already come down to 58% at present from 90% earlier, according to the Minister.

Singh asserted that it would come down further to 40% by 2030 as the country grows in renewables and storage capacity. 

By 2030, India's demand for power will increase to 900 GW, out of which 500 GW will be non-fossil-fuel-based power, close to 66% of the total capacity, he said. 

However, Singh cautioned that he will "not compromise on the availability of power for the growth of the country or to provide the lifestyle needed by the people of the country" in case of mismatch between demand and supply. 

Watch the full conversation here: