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Stefan Louis



2 Ratings

RENEWABLE GENERATION We expect the government to adopt technology-neutral policies

Mar 16, 2022

… says Stefan Louis, CEO, Nexcharge, in this interview with Efficient Manufacturing. Nexcharge is a solution provider for customised storage solutions that cater to the transportation as well as industry & utility sectors. He talks about how India is a leader in renewable generation, how the company’s technological roadmap targets products with a longer life to dramatically lessen battery waste and how a more extensive budget might help to further accelerate self-reliance. Excerpts…

Nexcharge, in 2021, collaborated with TPDDL and inaugurated India’s first grid-connected Li-ion battery-based community energy storage system. What was the significance of this step for a city like Delhi? Do you plan to venture into other states?

The 0.52 Mwh battery energy storage system at TPDDL’s Rani Bagh substation will provide peak shaving, VAR compensation and deviation settlement based on the frequency response at the substation level, with power backup to preferential consumers in case of a grid outage. We are pleased to partner with Tata Power-DDL to set up the 0.52 Mwh grid-connected system that will pave a new path for the broader adoption of grid-scale energy storage technology across India.

India has heavily subsidised conventional energy sources in India, which ultimately gives it an upper hand over renewable energy. What new regulations and changes need to be made to ensure that renewable sources are preferred in the country?

India has an ambitious plan of scaling up the non-fossil fuel energy mix to 500 GW by 2030 and is on track with close to 150 GW already installed capacity as of the end of 2021. With the favourable solar power generating capacity as well as the availability of wind resources in key RE-rich states, the country is a leader in renewable generation in terms of both capacity additions as well as lower levelized cost of such RE power. Now, the critical work that is required to enable 500 GW of non- fossil generation to get commissioned is the addition of energy storage, which will make renewable energy a dispatchable and flexible resource.

On the regulatory front, we expect the government to adopt technology-neutral policies to allow renewable energy and energy storage to participate in ancillary service markets, which can provide additional revenue for such hybrid projects. We also need to explore issues related to financing emerging technologies, such as energy storage in India.

The lack of facilities to manufacture Li-ion batteries at scale and planning to deal with the environmental threats of battery waste is a big problem with EV battery manufacturing. Is your company taking any proactive steps to tackle these problems? Are there any tips for companies in India to tackle with this predicament?

Exide plans to set up cell manufacturing and has participated in the ACC PLI scheme. We’re also actively participating in the draft of standards for battery recycling to ensure maximum sustainability. Our technological roadmap also targets products with a longer life to dramatically lessen battery waste.

The government is actively working towards making India self-reliant in the area of advanced battery technology. What would be the extreme essential steps, according to you, to attain this self-reliant status?

In our view, the government is taking all the necessary steps. Market demand incentives, manufacturing support through PLI schemes, supply chain development – all of this is being worked on in cooperation with the industry. To further accelerate self-reliance, only a more extensive budget might help. Nevertheless, we appreciate every rupee provided to make transportation more sustainable, and energy generation, distribution & consumption more renewable.

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