Union Budget 2021: Power sector needs higher outlay for incentivising investments in R&D, renewables – India News , Firstpost

The general goal is to extend inexperienced vitality capability in all its kinds by lending coverage and funding assist.

Solar panel. Image courtesy ChristofferRiemer/Wikimedia Commons

Without a doubt, 2020 was an unprecedented yr, even for the facility sector. Both provide and consumption underwent a major change. The impression on native manufacturing in the wake of falling demand and rising enter prices was evident. The pandemic has acted as a catalyst in the direction of the vitality transition happening in India. The authorities had revised its renewable vitality targets to an much more bold 220 Gigawatt (GW) by 2022 from 175 GW.

The COVID-19 disaster has highlighted the significance of sensible applied sciences, sensible utilities and sensible working kinds. The authorities additionally supported the facility sector with a large stimulus package deal and numerous initiatives and incentives for linked segments equivalent to inexperienced vitality and EVs. To speed up this additional, we hope to see a larger give attention to indigenisation, innovation, digitisation, vitality effectivity, electrification moreover market reforms and system integration in the approaching occasions beginning with the Budget 2021.

Interest and responsibility incentives

Clearly, the responsibility construction on the import of photo voltaic modules is an space of debate. While native producers will choose a higher import or safeguard responsibility in some kind, mission builders wish to have an exemption or as low import responsibility as doable not less than until the time native manufacturing scales up. The authorities ought to thus have a look at it carefully from each side and arrive at a viable answer.

In the lengthy-time period, India absolutely desires to have as a lot native manufacturing as doable and therefore, should have an obligation construction to guard the pursuits of indigenous producers so long as it isn’t hurting well timed mission improvement. For occasion, fundamental customs responsibility exemption on imported photo voltaic modules might proceed for a yr past 2021 as effectively. Further, to keep away from frequent adjustments, the federal government ought to lay out the responsibility construction for a interval of 5-7 years.

Even responsibility on photo voltaic lanterns has an inverted construction. Imported lanterns have a lot lesser responsibility than importing digital elements. This anomaly needs to be corrected to keep away from low cost and low-high quality photo voltaic lanterns from hitting the Indian market. Battery manufacturing is one other massive space that needs to be supported. The authorities may contemplate lowering the Goods and Service Tax (GST) on lithium-ion batteries from 18 p.c to five p.c to advertise the event of battery ecosystem in the nation. Also, the lengthy-pending challenge of inclusion of fuel and energy inside the ambit of GST might be re-thought of.

Financing mechanisms and market assist

Often funding to the renewable vitality sector will get clubbed with thermal energy for limits. As a measure, eradicating renewable vitality from the facility sector, precedence lending and making a separate precedence sector class for renewable vitality to allow Renewable Energy (RE) Independent Power Producers (IPPs) would guarantee extra financial institution funding.

Currently, the definition of energy additionally contains thermal energy because of which banks usually are not lending to the RE sector citing that their energy sector publicity is full.

Accelerate the retirement of inefficient and dear coal-based mostly energy vegetation by ratepayer-bond idea. This will create a win-win scenario for energy technology corporations (GENCOs), distribution corporations (DISCOMs) and finish shoppers of electrical energy. There is actually a must assist the wind business that has the longest historical past of contributing to the RE capability. The wind business as in comparison with photo voltaic has extra home element and comparatively gives extra jobs. However, there are fewer wind auctions in mild of decrease photo voltaic tariffs. It is time to implement Wind RPO or a minimal wind procurement to maintain the business alive.

Other coverage and infra assist for indigenisation

The general goal is to extend inexperienced vitality capability in all its kinds by lending coverage and funding assist. This could be achieved by setting apart funds to make a strong ecosystem for indigenous photo voltaic manufacturing. To make the home photo voltaic business price-aggressive, there’s a want for an all-inclusive coverage framework required for encompassing each tariff and non-tariff boundaries, long run monetary assist, and direct incentives. Also, present a 3-5 p.c curiosity subvention on working capital loans and time period loans for helping home photo voltaic manufacturing.

The nation needs to have an extended-time period inexperienced hydrogen roadmap as much as 2030. Green hydrogen actually has a future and the time to begin is now. Some fiscal assist ought to come for demonstration tasks. Off-shore wind and floating photo voltaic are two different areas the place we want massive assist to arrange not less than 5 or 10 commercially confirmed position fashions. Since the tariffs are prone to be higher because of higher Capex, state assist is crucial in the early days earlier than it sustains by itself.

Battery storage additionally needs larger thrust whereby enhanced coverage readability will allow higher demand certainty and creation of provider/ producer ecosystem.

While the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme envisions the assist to this sector, it needs to be additional expanded with larger budgetary outlay. In an effort to assist native manufacturing, safeguard duties on imported modules, batteries and even EVs must be evaluated. We ought to have a higher budgetary outlay to incentivise investments in R&D in renewables and cupboard space.

The author is Partner and Leader, Power & Utilities, EY India.

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