India's solar PV manufacturing and Chinese import concerns

Posted By: Vishal Maurya Posted On: Aug 29, 2023
Mint Explainer: India's solar PV manufacturing and Chinese import concerns Photographer: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Bloomberg

In its journey towards energy transition and achieving 500 GW of installed renewable energy capacity by 2030, India is also looking at becoming a manufacturing hub of solar modules and cater to both domestic and global demand. Although the government has come up with incentive schemes and domestic developers have grown up the reliance on China for upstream components continues. Here is a look at how India aims to become a solar PV manufacturing hub.

Q. How has India fared so far in its goal of setting domestic solar module manufacturing industry?

A. As of March 2023, India has set up a module manufacturing nameplate capacity of 38 GW, against 18 GW a year ago, according to a recent report by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) and JMK Research. It said that in value terms Indian PV exports increased five-fold in FY23, compared to the previous fiscal.

However, there has not been a major growth in the production of cells, wafers and polysilicon which are used in the manufacturing of modules photovoltaic modules.

While India has a nameplate capacity of 6 GW for cell production, there is no notable capacity for polysilicon and wafers.

Q. What are the key concerns for the Indian module manufacturing sector?

A. Despite healthy demand both in the domestic and export markets, there are headwinds being faced by the industry, including the continued import dependence for cells, polysilicon and wafers among others. The IEEFA report said that although the quality of all tier-1 Indian manufacturers is comparable to global standards, domestic solar power developers are largely hesitant towards Indian supplies. Further, the lack of skilled manpower to install and operate high-tech machinery, especially for cells and other upstream components, is also a challenge, it added.

Q. What are the efforts taken by the government to boost manufacturing in the solar power ecosystem?

A. The Union Ministry of New and renewable energy has rolled out a production-linked incentive scheme where in it has allocated funds in two tranches due to robust demand for incentives under the scheme. In March, the government allocated a total capacity of 39,600 MW of domestic solar PV module manufacturing capacity to 11 companies, with a total outlay of ₹14,007 crores under the second tranche of the PLI scheme for high-efficiency solar PV modules. The second tranche covers the whole ecosystem of polysilicon to modules.

Further, in order to boost demand for domestic cells and modules and thwart cheaper imports from China, the government has imposed a basic customs duty of 40% on modules and 25% on cells with effect from April 2022.

Q. What is the outlook for the domestic module industry?

A. The two tranches of the PLI scheme will add 51.6 GW of module capacity and at least 27.4 GW of integrated ‘polysilicon-to-module' capacity in India in the next three to four years, said the IEEFA report. It further said that India will become self-sufficient by FY26 as it would add around 110 GW of photovoltaic (PV) module manufacturing. However, in the short term, the supply constraints may continue to hinder solar power projects.

Source: Live Mint
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High power demand and the need to blend imported coal

Posted By: Preeti Dabar Posted On: Sep 22, 2023
India's power demand Power touched a record high of 239.9 GW on 1 September. (File Photo: Bloomberg)

India witnessed its driest August in a century, and amid hot weather conditions and the resultant surge in demand for power, the central government earlier this month directed domestic coal-based (DCB) power generating companies (gencos) to blend 4% imported coal till March 2024.

In January, gencos were asked to blend 6% imported coal till September in order to meet high demand during the summer. In a recent notification the power ministry noted that Grid India has projected evelvated demand for power through FY24 which would necessitate blending of imported coal.

Here is a look at the decision and the reasons thereof.

Why were gencos asked to blend imported coal till March 2024?

The power ministry mandated blending of imported coal to ensure ample stocks at power plants for smooth operations. In its letter to gencos, the ministry had said despite an increase in domestic coal supply during the first quarter of FY24, it fell short of meeting the requirement.

In August, the gap between coal consumption at domestic coal-based plants and the receipt of domestic coal was about 200,000 tonne per day. “The gap was partly made up with import of coal without which coal stock would have declined to critical levels," it said. Further, supply of hydro power would decline going ahead with the end of the monsoon and the demand will have to be largely met by thermal power plants.

How has demand been?

Power demand touched a record high of 239.9 GW on 1 September, surpassing the Central Electricity Authority's (CEA) estimate of 230 GW for the year. On 1 September, when the peak power demand neared 240 GW, the peak shortage had shot up to 10.75 GW. The rise in demand follows sporadic monsoon rains and hot and dry weather conditions. Demand, however, has eased since then and on Wednesday, 20 September, the peak demand was at 206.441 GW.

What has been the trend in power prices on the exchanges?

Power prices on the exchanges hit the ₹10 per kilowatt hour unit price cap in the first four days of September. On Thursday, the market clearing price stood at ₹6.48, higher than ₹4.59 per unit on Wednesday. As demand eases, prices are likely to soften going ahead.

What is the outlook for power demand?

Peak demand currently hovers at 200 GW, and is unlikely to rise hit fresh highs, according to senior officials. Demand is largely likely to be manageable going ahead.

What other steps has the government taken to meet power demand?

At the start of 2023, the Centre had announced a number of steps to meet the rising power demand. Last month, the power ministry also asked imported coal-based (ICB) power plants to operate at full capacity till the end of October. The original directive on this was issued in February when ICB plants were asked to run at full capacity till 15 June. This was extended till September.

Source: Live Mint
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Gentari, Edelweiss, Actis vie for O2 Power solar projects

Posted By: Pawan George Posted On: Sep 18, 2023
Gentari, Edelweiss and Actis are actively scouting for opportunities in India?s green economy. (Bloomberg)

NEW DELHI : Three large bidders have entered the last lap for acquiring solar projects totalling 350 megawatts (MW) from O2 Power, promoted by Singapore’s Temasek and European alternative asset manager EQT, two people close to the development said.

These include Gentari Sdn Bhd, a unit of Malaysia's state-run oil and gas company Petroliam Nasional Bhd; Edelweiss Infrastructure Yield Plus Fund's Sekura Energy Ltd; and private equity firm Actis Llp, the people said on condition of anonymity.

The transaction, having an equity and enterprise value of $50 million and $200 million, respectively, is being managed by EY, with these three bidders shortlisted from around a dozen non-binding offers (NBOs) that were submitted.

Gentari, Edelweiss and Actis are actively scouting for opportunities in India's green economy and are also in the race for buying 185MW solar projects from Finnish state-run power utility Fortum Oyj, as reported by Mint earlier. Actis, which invests only in emerging markets, has so far committed $2.1 billion to India. It is also vying for Macquarie Asset Management's Green Investment Group (MAM-GIG) platform Vibrant Energy, for which India's quasi-sovereign wealth fund National Investment and Infrastructure Fund Ltd is also in the race. Actis now has its third clean energy firm BluPine Energy, in the space, after selling Sprng Energy and Ostro Energy to Shell Plc and ReNew Power Ventures Pvt. Ltd, respectively.

An EY spokesperson declined to comment. Queries emailed to the spokespersons for Gentari, Petronas, Edelweiss, Actis and O2 Power on 12 September remained unanswered till press time.

O2 Power is a renewable energy platform in India, targeting around 5 gigawatts (GW) portfolio over the next five years. Founded by former ReNew Power executives—Parag Sharma, Peeyush Mohit, Rakesh Garg and Nimish Agrwal—O2 Power already has a 2.6GW portfolio, of which 600MW has been commissioned.

Mint has reported on several deals brewing in India's green energy sector, including Oil and Natural Gas Corp. Ltd (ONGC) competing for Fortum Oyj's Indian solar projects totalling 185 MW. Also, ReNew Energy Global Plc recently announced an equal joint venture with Gentari to develop 5GW capacity, wherein Gentari Renewables India Pte. Ltd will have a 50% equity stake in Nasdaq-listed ReNew's utility-scale 5GW renewable energy portfolio comprising solar, wind and energy storage projects.

India's green energy space has witnessed considerable interest, given the country's ever-increasing demand for power. Power demand reached a new record of 239.9GW recently, crossing India's power sector planning body, the Central Electricity Authority's (CEA) projections of 230GW. India has an installed renewable energy capacity of 172GW, with an additional 128GW either under development or have been bid out.

India is also leveraging its green economy to forge global energy alliances. A recent case in point is India and Saudi Arabia signing an agreement to link their power grids through a subsea cable that will help the two nations with improving grid security in the backdrop of infirm power sources such as wind and solar.

India also plans to leverage the International Solar Alliance (ISA), the first treaty-based international government organization headquartered in India, to help project its solar power expertise to other countries. India is also championing the One Sun One World One Grid (OSOWOG), which seeks to transfer solar power generated in one region to feed the electricity demands of others. The global grid plan has been spread across three phases. The first phase deals with the Middle East—South Asia—-South East Asia (MESASEA) interconnection for sharing green energy sources such as solar for meeting electricity needs, including peak demand. While the second phase deals with the MESASEA grid getting interconnected with the African power pools, the third and final phase is about global interconnection.

Also, the climate change conference (COP28), to be held later this year, aims to secure an annual $100 billion in climate finance for developing nations.

Source: Live Mint
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Panasonic aims to double its solar business

Posted By: Anita Mamgai Posted On: Sep 11, 2023
Rajesh Nandwani, director of power business unit, Panasonic Electric Works India.

Panasonic Electric Works India, which is a subsidiary of Japan’s Panasonic Corp., seeks to double its solar module business within three years, and boost its exports.

“Solar contributes 6% to our overall business, comprising wiring devices, wires, cables and more. Our vision is that in the next three years, we want it to reach double-digit contribution. 10-12% of contribution should come from solar," Amit Barve, head of solar business, said in an interview.

“In distributed solar market we have 3-3.5% right now and we expect to touch 5% in two years. As the world continues to see India as +1 to China, we expect to achieve this," he said. The company plans to position India as an export hub and expects the share of exports to its entire business to increase from 25% as of 31 March 2023, to 30% this financial year.

“Out of the volumes, I would say 30% is what we are looking for in exports. 10-12% of export is happening for made-in-India models. Balance is happening through made-in-China. And with many countries preferring products from India, we are trying to capitalize on it," he said. “... Indian exports in solar have been multiplying. Especially, few countries such as the US, Canada and Europe, among others prefer made-in-India products as compared to made-in-China. We are actually exploring more and more markets. What we are looking at is a mandate for supplying modules beyond Japan."

The company is set to invest ₹300 crore over 3-4 years to expand its Sri City manufacturing unit in Andhra Pradesh to achieve its exports targets, the company's management said in a press briefing.

“We have already invested ₹300 crore in our new Sri factory. We plan to invest a total of ₹600 crore in the five years' bracket which is 2021 to 2025. In first tranche of investment, ₹300 crore has been already invested," said Rajesh Nandwani, director of power business unit, Panasonic Electric Works India.

The company said India is in a strategic position, and it aims to establish it as an export hub. Nandwani said exports currently constitute 2% of overall revenue, and it aims to push it up to 10% of the targeted revenue by 2030.

The development comes at a time the company is looking to triple its topline growth, said Yoshiyuki Kato, managing director, Panasonic Life Solutions India. “In FY23, our business was at ₹5,000 crore-plus. We plan to increase it by three times in seven years."

Source: Live Mint
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Can Mukesh Ambani disrupt India's wind energy sector

Posted By: Pawan George Posted On: Sep 07, 2023
Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani. (PTI)

Mumbai: Billionaire Mukesh Ambani's proposed plan for Reliance Industries' foray into the wind energy space could disrupt the sector in the same way his group did with refineries, petrochemicals, telecom, and retail.

To his credit, Ambani has created the world's largest grassroots petroleum refinery at Jamnagar, Gujarat, doubling its capacity from 33 MTPA in 2010 to over 72 MTPA now.

Ambani launched the retail business in 2010 and today Reliance Retail Ltd is the largest retailer in India. RIL launched telecom services under the Jio brand in 2016, and it is now the largest telecom operator in India. In 2020, RIL raised a record $20 billion by selling stakes in its digital and retail businesses.

Under Mukesh Ambani, RIL's market capitalization has grown from $5.5 billion in 2002 to over $200 billion now.

With Ambani announcing his mega wind energy plans, the industry could be in for a rapid makeover.

On 28 August, Mukesh Ambani addressed shareholders at his $200 billion RIL group's annual general meeting, stating that RIL's large-scale "carbon-fibre" manufacturing capabilities (used to make wind turbine blades) could place the company in a unique position to reduce the cost of wind turbines.

“We will be partnering with the world's leading technology players in wind equipment manufacturing to deliver most cost-efficient solutions," said the billionaire business tycoon.

Ambani's plan to rope in global firms for wind energy business came as a bit of a surprise because RIL's first priority, according to Ambani, is to deliver a fully integrated, end-to-end Solar PV manufacturing ecosystem, which is something similar to plans of solar-cum-wind energy hybrid renewable power production plans being drawn by Adani Group and other conglomerates in India.

Ambani says RIL will set up one of the largest, most technologically advanced, flexible, and most cost-competitive solar giga factory globally, and will be converting sand into solar PV modules.

"Our Solar giga factory will include manufacturing of PV Modules, Cells, wafers and ingots, polysilicon, and glass at a single location in Jamnagar. We will target to bring the factory on-stream in a phased manner by the end 2025," said Ambani in the AGM, adding that RIL will also pursue cost-effective wind power generation through in-house carbon fibre blade making capacity.

Adani group has already installed a hybrid renewable energy capacity of 8.5GW through solar and wind.

Ambani feels integration of energy storage with wind and solar power generation is critical to providing grid-connected, round-the-clock electricity.

Inside RIL's solar energy plans, a key attempt is the deployment of grid-scale of batteries to convert intermittently captured photons (from the Sun) into electrons and make them available round the clock for RIL's captive requirements, as well as for India's growing energy needs.

"Reliance has a golden chance to enable India to transform itself from a net energy importer to a net energy exporter. Therefore, as I look into the future, I can clearly see Reliance creating substantial wealth for India and for all our shareholders in perpetuity," said Ambani in his AGM speech.

Ambani's statements in RIL's 46th AGM not only indicates that India could be leading from the front in Asia's net-zero journey but also hints that a fierce battle may be in the making in the world of wind energy.

Why is RIL, the country?s most valuable private firm, keen to enter wind energy biz?

India is the world's third-largest carbon emitter, after China and the US. India is also the world's third-largest wind energy producer, catering to both onshore and offshore consumers. The government wants to curb dependence on imports of oil and gas. For this, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has committed to meeting 50% of energy demand through renewable sources and reducing the carbon intensity of the economy by more than 45% by 2030.

According to a 29 June ICICI Securities report, Indian power grid needs more wind in its mix.

Alongside, clean energy transition is a global priority aiming to restrict the average global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2050, forcing companies across the globe to pace up their multi-billion dollar green energy transition roadmaps and large investment managers to shift their bets on green energy-compliant firms. Asia alone accounts for over 50% of global carbon emissions.

In hindsight, clean energy has emerged as one of the most promising businesses of the future for many global industrial groups, including RIL. With oil prices breaching the $90 per barrel due to prolonged supply cuts from Russia and Saudi Arabia, the migration to renewables such as wind and solar could be faster.

“Towards this, we have made significant progress in developing a manufacturing ecosystem critical to achieving cost-efficient Wind Power generation at giga scale.," said Ambani.

RIL wants to leverage its engineering capabilities, along with its giga-scale manufacturing ecosystem, to accelerate installation of at least 100 GW of renewable energy generation by 2030, said Ambani.

RIL owns a vast land at Jamnagar, Gujarat that may help it integrate capacities at mega-watt scale in the next few quarters.

Billionaire Gautam Adani-led Adani group too has set an ambitious green energy target, entailing investments worth $50 billion. But, RIL sees the enormous business opportunity, which is why it accelerated the journey to achieve Net Carbon Zero by 2035 and has mentioned that the group is ready to double its investment to Rs. 1.5 trillion to establish renewables and green bioenergy business.

“We are well on our way to build the New Energy ecosystem of manufacturing solar, wind…," said Ambani, who is competing with the likes of Tata, Vedanta, Adani group and L&T among others in the race to go green.

Currently, Suzlon is the leader in domestic wind energy space, with a market share of 33% (based on total installations).

However, RIL's entry may change the wind energy landscape altogether, given its financial superiority compared to hundreds of other Indian and global firms.

Currently, India's top wind energy production and services firms include Vestas India with installed capacity of 57 GW across 70 countries; Chennai-based Regen Powertech Pvt. Ltd. which manufactures wind turbines and erect wind energy projects; Suzlon Energy Ltd producing 23 GW in wind energy across 30 countries; Enercon India Pvt. Ltd. (runs under the brand Wind World Ltd.) can produce 28 GW of wind energy and is a part of the top 500 companies of Engineering News Record (ENR).

Then, firms including GE Wind Energy Ltd.(26 GW capacity); Chennai-based Indowind Energy Ltd., Gamesa Wind Turbines Pvt. Ltd. , Orient Green Power Ltd. (with capacities in Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Andhra Pradesh), and Noida-based Inox Wind Ltd., are engaged in wind energy business.

Will India?s wind energy journey be smooth?

India's fast economic growth has so far largely been fuelled by coal ‐ the most carbon-intensive fossil fuel, which accounts for over 70% of India's power mix.

Ambani said the next few years are going to be “transformational" for RIL, which will help position India to be a world leader and trendsetter in energy transition.

Even though wind generates power in monsoon and nights when solar generation is low, and higher wind will lead to lower battery storage requirement for a decarbonised grid, growing demand for wind energy will require substantial land and air space.

In 2003, when Minnesota-based DanMar & Associates placed an order for 24 wind turbines first time with an Indian wind energy firm -- Gujarati businessman Tulsi Tanti-led Suzlon Energy Ltd., several Indian business houses were possibly enthused to redraw their diversification roadmaps.

But in 2012, the market was shocked when India's biggest convertible debt default occurred as Suzlon failed to repay $209 million, following reports of orders running dry, top level exits and poor quality of blades – the most expensive component of a wind turbine, whose one rotation covers an area equal to the size of a standard soccer turf and can generate power that is enough for an American home for a day, according to global reports.

Technological advancements

“Wind power industry faces size problem as blades get longer than football pitches· The growth in offshore wind turbine size is accelerating," said a 29 August report by Financial Times.

“The 169 wind turbines spinning off the Yorkshire coast are an engineering feat: each eight-megawatt model erected by Danish developer Orsted can power a home for 24 hours with a single rotation of its 81-metre turbine blades," said the FT report.

Dozens of miles north, the FT report said, rival wind farm developer SSE is already upping the ante with its newest turbines, where a single rotation of the 107-metre blade can power a home for two days.

The jump in turbine size in the offshore wind industry, where blades can reach higher than New York's Rockefeller Center and provide electricity for millions of homes, reflects the fierce race for scale over the past decade or more.

As a result, windmills will require larger spaces in the future. There is a possibility that RIL, which has built offshore rigs, will now build mega-windmills offshore as well.

A windmill to generate 1 MW energy costs at least ₹10 crore and it requires more land than any other power generation plant. The upfront cost is high but the production cost is cheaper.

However, wind energy could be the trickiest of all the energy businesses.

Wind's occurrence is beyond human control and given the climate change (like the ongoing El Nino storm) wind's intensity pattern may completely change from one geography to another.

While RIL and Adani group are setting up their wind energy capacities in Gujarat, Suzlon already has an 1100 MW wind park in the Kutch district. Apart from Gujarat, Indian companies have set up windmills in Kerala, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.

Also, windmills are set up typically in the countryside since enough lands are not available in cities. Any growth in wind energy business will need more land acquisition, which has been a decades-old problem in India due to fragmented land ownership, importance of agriculture, farming, and changing political influences that impact land acquisition and habitat. With India's population surpassing 1.4 billion, this may turn out to be a major issue.

In India, wind energy business could be even trickier with most of the windmills located in the top-most earthquake-prone states including Gujarat. Any adverse seismic event in these states, where companies like RIL and Suzlon are betting on the most, could expose the wind energy business to bigger threats that could completely disrupt India's wind energy ambitions.

Source: Live Mint
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Net-zero target calls for tech innovation

Posted By: Ajay Rawat Posted On: Aug 29, 2023
(From left) Goutam Das, Editor-Long Story and Mint Primer, Mint; Sumant Sinha, founder, chairman and CEO, ReNew; R.P. Gupta, chairman and managing director, Solar Energy Corporation of India; Kanika Pal, South Asia Sustainability Director, Hindustan Unilever; Arunabha Ghosh, CEO, CEEW. (Mint)

India’s long-term target of net-zero carbon emissions by 2070 would need appropriate technology, financial resources at a reasonable cost, and increased participation by various stakeholders, a panel of experts said at the recent Mint Sustainability Summit.

In the next 10-15 years, many new technology-led solutions would be available, said Sumant Sinha, founder, chairman and chief executive, ReNew, who believes India can reach its target perhaps even before 2060. “What India will discover is that either we stay outside some of these technologies and business models that evolve, or decide actively to get into those earlier and become leaders in those solutions. As we do that, and the cost comes down and usage increases, moving towards net zero becomes much faster."

While 2070 may seem like a moonshot target, think tank CEEW's CEO Arunabha Ghosh thinks the individual steps and milestones taken towards that are critical. “The issue is not about setting the target, but more about the money and how to bring down the cost of financing. We have to also think about the materials challenge, and the design of our power and energy markets have to change. That will give the real push," he said.

Some companies have set themselves an accelerated target. FMCG major Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL), for instance, wants to achieve net zero emissions from all its products by 2039. The company is nearly 100% renewable energy based for its electricity needs, with a 40% reduction in energy consumption, said its South Asia sustainability director, Kanika Pal. “Water will be critical in sustainability. We have enabled a 48% reduction in our water requirements to a 2008 baseline, and we have also enabled improved utilization and conservation. As a result, we have enabled more than 100 billion litres of water saved," she said.

R.P. Gupta, chairman and managing director, Solar Energy Corporation of India said while the cost of renewable energy is still higher compared to thermal, the (pricing) gap has narrowed due to policy push, tech innovations and entrepreneurs in India. He added: “The challenges which discoms were facing have been addressed with policy regulations, ensuring the payments are made on time."

With India chasing the target of 500 GW of clean energy capacity by 2030, financing and the cost of capital will be critical. Sinha said to set up 50GW of renewable energy capacity every year would need roughly $50 billion of investment annually. While both equity and debt are available, the cost of financing remains higher than other parts of the world, which “translates into higher tariffs that ultimately our consumers have to pay".

Source: Live Mint
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US trade chief flags concerns over India's license mandate for laptop

Posted By: Jogendra Kumar Posted On: Aug 27, 2023
External affairs minister S Jaishankar and United States trade representative Katherine Tai during a meeting, Saturday. (PTI)

New Delhi: U.S. trade chief Katherine Tai has raised concerns with India over the Asian nation's new order mandating licenses for the import of laptops, tablets and personal computers, according to a statement.

Tai's intervention comes amid worries the licensing regime could impact shipments from the likes of Apple and Dell and force firms to boost local manufacturing.

"She noted that there were stakeholders that needed an opportunity to review and provide input to ensure that the policy, if implemented, does not have an adverse impact on U.S. exports to India," as per the U.S. statement issued after Tai met with India's Trade Minister Piyush Goyal on August 26.

Tai was in India to join the G20 trade ministers' meeting last week in the western state of Rajasthan.

India's new licensing regime, which is due to come into effect on November 1, aims to "ensure trusted hardware and systems" enter the nation. It also seeks to reduce dependence on imports, boost local manufacturing, and in part address the country's trade imbalance with China, according to an Indian government official.

India and the U.S. will also continue discussions to find a solution to the only bilateral dispute between the two nations at the World Trade Organisation, which involves measures by New Delhi on certain agricultural imports into the country, according to the statement. Six other disputes were mutually resolved earlier this year.

Source: Live Mint
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Run on full capacity till 31 Oct

Posted By: Anita Mamgai Posted On: Aug 24, 2023
Industry

NEW DELHI : Amid rising demand, the Union ministry of power on Wednesday directed imported coal-based (ICB) power plants to operate at full capacity till the end of October.The original directive on this was issued in February when ICB plants were asked to run at full capacity till 15 June. This was extended till September.

The fresh extension comes after peak power demand hit record highs in August. On 17 August, it reached 234 GW, surpassing Central Electricity Authority's (CEA) projection of 230 GW for 2023. “It has now been decided to extend the time period for Section 11 directive to imported coal based generators, up to 31.10.2023," said a ministry letter to ICB power plants.Going ahead, demand is expected to remain elevated due to El Nino effect. The government's weather department says rains during the second half of the monsoon season are expected to be on the lower side of normal, ranging between 94% and 99% of the long period average.

The Centre has taken a number of steps this year to meet the high demand anticipated after the country witnessed a panic situation amid low availability of domestic coal and high international coal prices in 2021 and 2022.

Source: Live Mint
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Govt assuages industry concerns on laptop import curbs in high-level meeting

Posted By: Anita Mamgai Posted On: Aug 09, 2023
Govt assuages industry concerns on laptop import curbs in high-level meeting (AP)

NEW DELHI: The government is learnt to have assured global players in the laptop and IT hardware manufacturing space that there won’t be a ‘license raj’ policy that will be adopted by the government but the move to prohibit non-licensed imports of laptops, tablets and servers et al was aimed at boosting domestic production locally.

According to four people aware of a high-level meeting, minister of state for electronics and information technology, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, engaged in discussions with representatives from prominent global IT hardware companies such as Apple, Lenovo, Cisco, Samsung, Asus, Acer, Dell, HP, and HPE.

During this meeting, concerns related to the recent notification that imposed constraints on the import of personal computers and other IT hardware goods, along with its subsequent extension until November 1 were addressed and mitigated.

“Imports won't be stopped in any way, and there was no intention of doing so either. The government is not in favour of using any coercive measures. However, the government wants the PLI to succeed and within that global players are being brought on board," a senior industry official said on the condition of anonymity as the discussions were not public.

“The government is mindful of global conditions in the personal computers or laptop space, where demand has dropped and supplies are more. Some of the companies already make in India but the capacities need to be expanded, others may have to begin greenfield, And therefore, one size fits all strategy will not be beneficial for all players," a second executive said, asking not to be named.

A third executive present for the meeting said that each of the companies will be engaging with the government to explain their positions and their plans for local manufacturing, either on their own or through contract manufacturers, such that their positions are allied with the IT hardware PLI scheme.

A fourth executive said that clarifications on several points, such as the system that will be adopted for importing under license, the ports and authorities that will clear the consignments, and the conditions under which the licenses will be provided to comply with the November 1 deadline, will be discussed with the government in the coming months.

“The discussions with the government will also include the ways in which local manufacturing of these consumer products can be incentivised and the scale of local manufacturing that the companies can undertake," the third executive said.

Queries to the Ministry of Electronics and IT, Apple, Lenovo, Cisco, Samsung, Asus, Acer, Dell and HP and HPE, did not elicit an immediate response.

The meeting came days after India imposed restrictions on laptops, tablets, and servers among other items on 3 August, and a day later extended the deadline for implementing the restrictions till November 1, 2023. The move took the industry by surprise and requests for more time for compliance were made to the government, Mint reported last week.

The government is learnt to have also stated that it intends to reduce its reliance on imports of the products included in the IT hardware PLI schemes, alongside that of consumer products including personal computers, laptops and tablets. In May, the government introduced the revised ₹17,000 crore PLI scheme for IT hardware to attract laptops, tablets, and other hardware makers to India after its first version with a lower allocation failed to take off. India imports about $8 billion worth of laptops and tablets every year. Mint also reported that 44 companies had already registered for the IT hardware PLI 2.0, and two companies, including HP, had already applied. The deadline for the scheme has also been extended till the month's end.

Government officials had said that companies would be given time to apply for licenses and that two companies had already applied on the portal introduced by the Director General of Foreign Trade. They added that the government would help in facilitating the clearance of goods in transit and those that may be stuck at ports. They further noted that laptop makers had adequate manufacturing capacities within India and, therefore, it would not lead to a shortage of goods ahead of the start of the festive purchase season or the beginning of college sessions.

Source: Live Mint
Related Posts: IMPORT,LAPTOPS,IT,LICENSE,APPLE,LENOVO,CISCO,SAMSUNG,ASUS,ACER,DELL,HP,PLI,MINISTRY OF ELECTRONICS

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