Sunny Days Ahead

October 21, 2016 3:48 am0 commentsViews: 200

Funds, cheap imports
Solar has picked up pace but distribution companies are reluctant to purchase solar in light of low power demand and cheap power availability on exchanges. MNRE is mulling a $400 million World Bank fund to protect clean energy producers from payment delays by discoms. About funding support from banks and on dumping of lower cost modules from China and Taiwan, Aditya Ravindran said,

  • If we are to look at the energy market from a purely economic standpoint, the demand-supply equation should balance itself out, as the falling prices would bring more demand for power. But because of the annual nature of tariff revisions, a larger reliance on long-term PPAs, and the attempts to recover the losses of the discoms, these falling prices might take some time to reach the bulk of end-users. Only then would the demand bounce back and prices stabilise.
  • A loan to the developers to stay afloat for this rather long duration would defnitely help to retain investment in the sector, but this should only be treated as an interim measure. Meanwhile, this period should be utilised by the government to make strategic moves in the sector to eliminate the root-cause including the long-awaited supplywire business separation.
  • On dumping of modules from China and Taiwan – India is not in a position to ban or regulate the import of solar power equipment from these countries. The country has to go a long way in fulflling its 100 GW solar power target within the next 6 years, and we do not have an option to deny these imports to give an opportunity for the domestic manufacturing industry to mushroom.”

Electric Vehicles
Governor Brown has committed to having over 1.5 million electric vehicles (EVs) on the road in California by 2025 and Pacifc Gas and Electric is proposing to install 7,600 electric vehiclecharging stations over the next three years, the single biggest deployment of plug-in spots in the country. About such large-scale deployment of EVs in India and its benefts, Aditya Ravindran said,

  • EVs would be really benefcial for cities where the vehicular population is being blamed for air pollution. A large scale migration to EVs could also help in driving down the fuel import bill for India.
  • But India is a highly price-sensitive market. Till now, the response to EVs and hybrid vehicles has been extremely poor, even after the launch of such vehicles in a wide spectrum of prices. Not even the subsidies and tax waivers have been able to attract a signifcant number of customers.
  • Following global trends and on-going developments like Tesla’s Giga factory, the demand for EVs and hybrid vehicles would also gain momentum in India. The vehicle manufacturers need to be ready for this scenario, because when this demand hits, the market would see exponential growth in the sale of hybrid vehicles and EVs.”

About large-scale deployment of EVs in India and its benefts, an India Power spokesperson said, “Governor Brown signed the bill setting a goal of placing 1.5 million electric vehicles (EVs) on the road by 2025. The government will change its clean-vehicle rebate programme to provide an extra credit for low-income drivers who wish to purchase or lease an electric car. It will also provide assistance to car-sharing programmes in low-income neighbourhoods and install electric-vehicle charging stations in apartment buildings in those communities.
The large-scale deployment of EVs is possible in India with the help of government only. The market success of electric vehicles is far from assured in India or any other country if awareness among the people is not created. The early incentives offered by national and local governments to accelerate EV adoption are undoubtedly important, but cannot continue indefnitely. The future EV policies and investments therefore need to be smarter and grounded in data-driven analysis. Well-designed policies can be achieved by leveraging insights collected from transportation data, real-world observations, and stakeholder feedback. The consideration of the optimal location and level of charging infrastructure in urban areas must be  kept in mind.
There are various benefts of EV’s such as:
1 Reduction in air pollution.
2 Reduction in the use of fossil fuel.
3 Reduction in noise pollution.
4 Employment creation
5 Future energy security.”

The solar sector recently faced a challenge in the shape of the recent WTO ruling, following which a scheme to subsidise both domestic and foreign manufacturers, without going against WTO rules, is on the anvil. Such government initiatives, it is hoped, will lend the necessary impetus to the local manufacturing sector.

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