IL&FS Financial Services MD & CEO Ramesh Bawa.
IL&FS Financial Services MD & CEO Ramesh Bawa.

IL&FS joins hands with Ecamion to explore energy storage business

IL&FS and Ecamion will explore entering the energy storage business, with an eye on the electric vehicle opportunity in India, says IL&FS's Ramesh Bawa

Mumbai: Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services (IL&FS) Ltd has tied up with Canadian clean technology company Ecamion Inc. to explore entering the energy storage business, with an eye on the electric vehicle opportunity, said a senior executive.

Ecamion, incorporated in Ontario, Canada, is a turnkey solution provider for the community energy storage industry, specializing in integration of battery solutions with advanced grid control interfaces to the control room.

It provides state-of-the-art modular energy solutions to power applications such as electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

“We expect electric vehicles to be a big business opportunity in India and that is why we are tying up with Ecamion to explore various ways to tap this opportunity. One of the opportunities is to build charging stations for electric vehicles," IL&FS Financial Services managing director (MD) and chief executive Ramesh C. Bawa said.

The proposed entry into the energy storage business will be housed under the group’s energy business—IL&FS Energy Development Co. Ltd—which includes other businesses such as thermal and renewable power generation.

“We will start with a pre-feasibility study by December, which should take about 3-6 months to complete, post which we will look at running various pilot projects to test out various technologies and applications," Bawa said.

IL&FS’s plan to enter the energy storage business comes at a time when several large Indian business houses have expressed their intentions to enter the energy storage and electric vehicle businesses.

In January, Sajjan Jindal-led JSW Group, which has interests in steel and infrastructure, said it planned to enter the electric cars business by 2020. Mukesh Ambani-controlled Reliance Industries Ltd is planning to set up a factory to produce lithium-ion (Li-Ion) batteries of 25 gigawatt-hours (GWh) capacity, reported online portal Factor Daily on 19 September.

Mint reported in July that RIL is considering a plan to enter retailing of liquefied natural gas and setting up charging stations for electric vehicles at its petrol pumps.

In April, Suzuki Motor Corp., parent of India’s largest car maker Maruti Suzuki India Ltd, announced it would form a joint venture with two other Japanese firms, Denso Corp. and Toshiba Corp., to produce lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles in India.

In September, Mint reported that SoftBank Vision Fund, the $100 billion technology investment fund of Japan’s SoftBank Group, is in talks to invest as much as $100 million in Reva Electric founder Chetan Maini’s latest venture, Sun Mobility.

Sun Mobility is a joint venture between Chetan Maini’s Virya Mobility 5.0 and Khemka family’s Sun Group, which has investments across sectors such as energy, mining and real estate.

The tie-up with Ecamion is not IL&FS’s first relationship with a Canadian firm. With the assistance of Canadian export credit agency Export Development Canada (EDC), IL&FS plans to tie up with more Canadian firms in areas such as smart cities and affordable housing, said Bawa.

EDC, in November 2016, gave a rupee-denominated loan, or masala loan, of Rs340 crore to IL&FS for refinancing debt of infrastructure projects.

“Clean-tech is one of the priority areas for EDC. Last year, we facilitated transactions worth $1 billion in the clean-tech space. We are looking at opportunities such as energy storage, waste to energy and solar and wind energy generation," said EDC’s president and chief executive officer, Benoit Daignault. EDC’s total exposure to India stands at $4.5 billion, making it a priority market for the Canadian export credit agency.

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