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The nation aspires to quintuple its renewable energy capacity, says Dwarakanadha Reddy B, Business Head – Power Division, Amara Raja Infra

The nation aspires to quintuple its renewable energy capacity, says Dwarakanadha Reddy B, Business Head – Power Division, Amara Raja Infra

Challenges persist, including issues related to land acquisition, transmission infrastructure, grid integration, and dependence on imports for solar modules and equipment, says Dwarakanadha Reddy B, Business Head – Power Division, Amara Raja Infra

Your views on the ability of renewable power sources in transitioning India from a power pinched nation to a self-reliant sustainable economy
Renewable power sources ranging from solar to wind and hydel are playing a pivotal role in India's transition to become a self-reliant sustainable economy. The vast amount of research and innovation happening in the renewable energy space is also poised to position India as a global leader in this space. With targets like net zero emissions by 2070 and 50 percent of electricity requirements from renewable energy sources by 2030 is all set to put India as a pioneer of a new model of economic development that avoids carbon-intensive approaches and provides a blueprint for other developing nations. The sheer size of economic growth coupled with the rising population has meant that energy consumption is set to grow more than its counterparts. The targets set by the government are good if implemented in an efficient manner and are already showing results with almost 40% of the power capacity being met by non-fossil fuels. As per International Energy Agency, India has already exceeded its target of installing 175 GW of renewable energy capacity in 2022 and the country is set to overtake Canada and China in the next few years to become the third largest ethanol market after US and Brazil. However, the sector has its own set of challenges like lack of infrastructure to store the energy, decreased capital flow, high levels of pollution in the urban cities, and sharp increase in commodity prices.


Where do you see your organisation placed in the India's renewable energy sector?
We have strategically positioned ourselves as a key player in the renewable energy sector, especially in solar power. Actively involved in industry associations and collaborating with research institutions to advance solar technology, its sustainability commitment aligns with India's ambitious renewable energy targets. Some contributions include diversification into solar energy solutions by Amara Raja Energy and Mobility (ARE&M), a leading manufacturer that offers products and solutions for the Energy & Mobility space including Lithium-ion battery packs for energy storage and electric vehicles. Additionally, Amara Raja Infra (ARIPL), an arm of the Amara Raja Group, focuses on Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) services for solar power projects, managing design, installation, and commissioning. We aim to become a leading integrated solar solutions provider.


Give us a brief understanding about the technologies driving the sector today?
The renewable energy sector is currently witnessing substantial growth and innovation, driven by technologies that are pushing boundaries. Solar PV, the reigning champion, continues to advance in efficiency and affordability, with breakthroughs in perovskite solar cells and building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) promising a brighter future. Wind energy is becoming more versatile with innovations such as offshore wind farms, floating wind turbines, and vertical axis wind turbines (VAWTs). Effective energy storage is crucial, with lithium-ion batteries facing challenges in cost and sustainability, redox flow batteries improving in lifespan and capacity, and hydrogen storage gaining traction. Smart grids and microgrids are essential for integrating renewables efficiently. Finally, emerging technologies like ocean energy, geothermal energy (Enhanced Geothermal Systems - EGS), and fusion energy show great promise but require further development.
We are at the forefront of energy sector innovation. Our expertise lies in Advanced Valve Regulated Lead-Acid (VRLA) batteries, known for superior performance in telecom, UPS, and backup power. We excel in Start-Stop technology for enhanced fuel efficiency and emissions savings, while our commitment to Micro-Hybrid technology fosters eco-friendly driving. Specializing in Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) batteries, we ensure safety and efficiency in electric vehicles. Our Battery Management Systems (BMS) guarantee lithium-ion battery health. Beyond batteries, we contribute significantly to clean energy through large-scale solar projects and Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS). Always pioneering, we explore cutting-edge technologies like solid-state batteries, envisioning a brighter future as battery-powered pioneers, solar-powered visionaries, and electric-powered trailblazers.

How successful is India so far in achieving its dream of emerging as a net zero carbon emitting nation?
India's pursuit of achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2070 is characterized by a multifaceted and evolving landscape. Evaluating its progress involves a nuanced consideration of various factors. India's commitment to combatting climate change is evident in the positive strides it has taken, surpassing the Paris Agreement target by achieving 46% of energy production from renewable sources, notably exceeding the 40% goal. Currently hosting the world's most extensive renewable energy expansion program, the nation aspires to quintuple its capacity. Policy initiatives, such as the National Hydrogen Mission, promotion of electric vehicles, and energy efficiency programs, contribute to the reduction of emissions. Despite the rise in overall emissions due to development, India's per capita emissions stand at one-third of the global average, underscoring the historical responsibility of developed nations.


However, there are noteworthy challenges on the horizon. Coal remains a dominant force, constituting nearly 70% of India's electricity generation. The imperative shift away from coal is indispensable for realizing the Net Zero target. The transition to clean energy demands substantial investments, estimated at over $1 trillion annually, necessitating secure funding from both domestic and international sources. Striking a balance between climate action and developmental needs while ensuring energy access for vulnerable populations remains a formidable challenge. Some expert’s express concerns about the lack of specific pathways and details in India's Net Zero target, impeding a comprehensive assessment of progress and effectiveness. Drawing conclusions about India's success at this juncture is premature; it is an enduring endeavour requiring sustained commitment and continual adjustments. While the nation has taken commendable steps, the path forward is arduous. Emphasis on expanding renewable energy, diversifying the energy mix, securing adequate financing, and ensuring inclusive development are pivotal for India's Net Zero aspiration to materialize.

What are the hurdles faced by stakeholders like you in the sector? Any suggestive measures to tackle the same
EPC (Engineering, Procurement, and Construction) projects, spanning a duration of 12 to 24 months, are characterized by a dynamic environment where several factors can influence the project's success. One major challenge is the inconsistency in policies that can change during the project timeline, requiring adaptability and strategic adjustments. Furthermore, the fluctuation in commodity and raw material costs poses a continuous challenge. Sudden increases or decreases in these costs can affect project budgets and timelines, necessitating a proactive approach to mitigate potential financial risks. Additionally, market volatility introduces an element of uncertainty, impacting supply chains, subcontractor agreements, and overall project dynamics. Navigating these complexities becomes crucial for project managers and stakeholders to safeguard the profitability of the endeavor. Proactive risk management, regular reassessment of budgets, and strategic planning are vital components to counteract the potential adverse effects of these challenges. Adopting a flexible and adaptive mindset throughout the project's lifecycle enables stakeholders to respond effectively to evolving circumstances, ensuring the project's success despite the inherent inconsistencies in policies, commodity costs, and market fluctuations.

What makes your products/services get an upper hand from your counterparts in the segment?
Our competitive edge lies in our deep understanding of the Indian market. We tailor our products and services to local needs, like extreme weather conditions and space constraints. We continuously invest in R&D for advanced battery technologies like lithium-ion and sodium-ion, suitable for renewable energy storage. We offer a comprehensive package, including batteries, chargers, and energy management systems, simplifying adoption for customers. Our local production facilities ensure quality, affordability, and timely delivery.

Today even big ticket infra projects like ports, airports, urban planning, etc, have embraced renewable power resources. How do you rate the opportunities from such big ticket infra projects?
India has tremendous opportunities in big-ticket infrastructure projects like ports, airports, and urban planning, these projects require reliable and sustainable power, making renewable energy with battery storage a perfect fit. Experiencing a surge in demand, our energy storage solutions, particularly batteries, are poised to play a pivotal role in major infrastructure projects prioritizing renewables. Picture, supplying clean energy to vast port operations or lighting up entire airport terminals – our products are tailored for such needs. Engaging in these intricate projects drives our commitment to innovation, pushing us to develop state-of-the-art battery technologies. From high-capacity solutions for large-scale grid integration to customized systems for decentralized renewable energy sources, our offerings are adaptable to specific requirements. 
As a stakeholder is the availability of components still an operational glitch? As an organization what is your approach on the same?
As the renewable energy sector in India experiences significant growth, concerns arise about the availability of essential components for stakeholders. A nuanced examination reveals potential challenges, Indications of persisting issues include disruptions in the supply chain, exposed during the pandemic. This has affected the production and delivery of crucial components such as solar panels, wind turbines, and inverters. Ongoing geopolitical tensions, notably the conflict in Ukraine and strained relations with China, further contribute to disruptions in the flow of raw materials and finished products essential for renewable energy projects. Despite efforts to bolster domestic manufacturing capacity, India's dependence on imports remains a noteworthy concern, leaving projects susceptible to external shocks. In tackling operational challenges related to component availability, our approach involves strategic sourcing through established partnerships with reliable global suppliers. Actively engaging in the localization of battery component manufacturing is a key initiative to reduce dependence on imports and enhance supply chain security. Additionally, robust inventory management practices play a pivotal role in minimizing disruptions caused by shortages of essential components. Amara Raja Group's proactive approach, focus on innovation, and commitment to collaboration position it well to weather the current component availability challenges. By continuously adapting and leveraging its strengths, the group can not only ensure its own success but also play a pivotal role in shaping a sustainable future for India's RE sector.
Going ahead, where do you see India's RE sector? What will be your growth strategy?
Recent developments and trends in the renewable energy sector in India showcase significant progress and potential for the future. Despite facing challenges, the country experienced a noteworthy surge in renewable energy investments, reaching $14.5 billion in the fiscal year 2021-22, marking a substantial 125% increase. This positive momentum extended into 2023, with continued growth in capacity additions. As part of its commitments at COP26, India has set an ambitious target of achieving 500 GW of non-fossil fuel energy by 2030, emphasizing a commitment to advancing clean energy initiatives. Globally, India holds the fourth position in installed renewable energy capacity, with wind and solar leading the way. Solar capacity has seen a remarkable 30-fold increase over the past nine years, reaching 72.31 GW as of November 2023. However, challenges persist, including issues related to land acquisition, transmission infrastructure, grid integration, and dependence on imports for solar modules and equipment. In future the renewable energy sector is expected to continue its strong growth trajectory, driven by favourable government policies, decreasing technology costs, and a growing commitment to corporate sustainability. Technological advancements in battery storage, green hydrogen, and other clean technologies are anticipated to create new opportunities and enhance grid stability. Additionally, there is an expectation of a more diverse renewable energy mix, with biomass, small hydro, and waste-to-energy gaining traction alongside solar and wind.



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