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New Delhi plans ‘India first’ policy to protect battery industry

Fri, 04/20/2018 - 17:05 -- Xuan Zhong
New Delhi plans ‘India first’ policy to protect battery industry

India’s government is planning a policy shake-up to “incentivise” battery manufacturing in the country, the country’s minister of state for power and new & renewable energy has told industry leaders. 

Raj Kumar Singh (pictured) told a meeting of Indian electric vehicle and battery manufacturing chiefs he could introduce “Make in India” legislation— to ensure only batteries produced in the country are used for government contracts related to the expanding EVs and energy storage market.

Singh said he would consider manufacturers’ calls to create “Indian standards” for the manufacture of batteries— plus the creation of a network of national “field testing facilities” for batteries used in stationary and transport.

And to ensure India has an “adequate supply of raw materials” for battery producers, Singh revealed the government is already in talks with “resource rich countries such as Bolivia” to guarantee supply chains.

The moves come as ministers are already considering financial incentives to encourage domestic carmakers to set up their own lithium-ion battery plants in the country in the face of touch competition from wider Asia.

Singh urged manufacturers to expand battery production in India “as future demand is going to be very high, with the government promoting EVs in a big way”.

“Tenders for procuring EVs have already been issued and we have started procuring the vehicles. This is going to increase,” Singh said. The government will “soon come out with a policy” on future bids for projects involving solar/wind hybrids coupled with storage, the minster said.

Manufacturers have also called on the government to “create an enabling environment” for increased battery recycling in India.

According to a study published in 2017 by the India Energy Storage Alliance (IESA), the country’s expanding energy storage market is poised to attract more than $3 billion in new investments over the next three years.

A separate IESA report, published last September, said India’s lead-acid business is set to soar over the next few years and demand from stationary and motive applications would more than double in value.

Earlier this year, the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers urged the government to be “technology neutral” in supporting the country’s nascent EV sector— and not to back lithium-ion batteries exclusively.

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