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Cover Story | August 2018

India poised to become a leading hub of energy technologies

Even as Eastman Auto &amp; Power is promoting its tubular gel battery as a homemade cost-effective solution for the <span style="font-weight: bold;">AGM VRLA and Li-ion batteries, Saurabh Srivastava, President, Marketing and Product Strategy</span> predicts that the new policies and ongoing investments could turn the country into a leading global energy technology hub.<br /> <br /> <span style="font-weight: bold;">Please give us your perspective on the energy storage scenario in India. </span><br /> In the present era, energy storage is an extremely important component of the global energy market. India is on the edge of a technological boom in this field and is expected to see higher growth in the future. In 2018, the energy storage sector is expected to witness a large demand, driven primarily by grid applications, electric vehicles (EVs) and telecom. The government is already working on the early adoption of EVs, which will certainly increase the call for improved technologies, especially Li-ion batteries. Energy storage has various applications in the country like incorporating support in renewables integration, delivering grid support services and enabling early implementation of EVs. The Indian inverter battery market is about 15û20 million units, out of which Eastman Auto &amp; Power has a share of around 10û15 per cent. States like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand have a high demand for energy backup and storage solutions as certain areas in these states face power shortages ranging from 10-12 hours on an average. With the grid situation improving rapidly in India, the demand for energy storage solutions will however, continue since India is a large land mass and it is a challenge for the grid to reach many of the remote areas owing to terrain and cost issues. Coupled this with India's ability to harvest and store the solar energy, energy storage will continue to be big across households, small office or home office (SOHO) and medium-to-large businesses.<br /> <br /> <span style="font-weight: bold;">What are some of the new technologies that you might be looking at introducing in the market? </span><br /> The energy storage market, with favourable opportunities, looks promising in India for both stationary as well as EV applications. Lead-acid battery - both flat plate and tubular technology with flooded absorbent glass mat (AGM), valve-regulated leadûacid battery (VRLA) and tubular gel could be important assets for industries like the renewable energy sector. The tubular gel battery can be a great solution for solar, UPS and telecom sectors in place of AGM VRLA, and a cost-effective option compared to Li-ion. It is a sealed, maintenance-free battery, which in our opinion will be a benchmark in the industry. Its entire technology, as well as the design, has been developed in-house at our factory, as a part of the Prime Minister's Make in India initiative.<br /> <br /> <span style="font-weight: bold;">Where do you see the country headed on the storage front? </span><br /> India is intensifying an aspiring target to develop its renewable energy generation capacity. With the demand for renewable integration and diesel optimisation, EVs and grid support service sectors have the potential to expand and grow the energy storage market in India. With the support of new strategies and investments at this time, the country is likely to become a leading market and manufacturing hub in energy technologies. <br /> <br /> <span style="font-weight: bold;">Presently, what are some of the primary challenges facing manufacturers like you? </span><br /> The main policy intervention that is required is the need for transparent price signal for electricity that values peaking power and flexibility. Removal of certain barriers, such as higher Goods and Services Tax (GST), which is 18 per cent on Li-ion batteries versus 5 per cent on solar panels, and import duties for kick-starting the market for advanced energy storage in India would also be counted as a solution to the challenges that are currently being faced by manufacturers. Besides, most of the investment decisions for power sector are now being driven by the average cost, while there are various applications, where the marginal costs of current technologies or solutions being planned are significantly higher than the current cost of storage technologies. <br /> <br /> <span style="font-weight: bold;">What are Eastman Auto and Power’s key expectations from the proposed National Energy Storage Mission that is likely to be established in the 2018–19 fiscal? </span><br /> The year 2018–19 is expected to augur revolutionary changes in the country’s energy storage sector. We believe that these two years will prove to be among the most significant for the sector and could lead to several successful announcements, tenders, and collaborations. The government has planned to launch the National Energy Storage Mission in the financial year 2018–19. We expect the consolidated energy storage demand for all sectors to grow up to 300 Gwh, specifically with the adoption of cutting-edge technologies in the field of EVs and renewable energy.<br /> <br /> <span style="font-weight: bold;">-Manish Pant</span><br />
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17 Oct 2016
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