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New Delhi: In what will buttress India’s green energy credentials, the government is looking for giving a mandate to industries such as fertilizer, steel, and petrochemicals among others for green hydrogen usage. The plan is part of the proposed National Hydrogen Energy Mission.

“The draft Mission document has already gone through consultation process and is expected to be finalized in February 2021. Thereafter, it will go through inter-ministerial consultation and Cabinet approval process," the ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE) said in a statement on Tuesday.

Also, as part of government’ strategy of boosting gigawatt (GW) scale solar PV domestic manufacturing, MNRE will take the production linked incentive (PLI) scheme for the union cabinet’ approval.

This comes in the backdrop of the government articulating its plans to impose a basic customs duty of 40% on modules and 25% on solar cells imports from 1 April 2022. The government also plans to build three large manufacturing zones for power and renewable energy equipment by offering incentives to the manufacturers, as stated in the union budget documents.

“The EFC (expenditure finance committee) meeting for formulating a scheme in this regard has already been held. It will now be taken to the Cabinet for final approval," the MNRE statement said.

Wafers and ingots—building blocks for manufacturing solar cells and modules—are key to India’s ambitious clean energy plans. India plans to encourage self-reliance and reduce dependence on Chinese equipment. India has a domestic manufacturing capacity of 2GW for solar cells and 10GW for modules.

“Under the PLI Scheme 10,000 MW capacity of integrated solar PV manufacturing plants (from manufacturing of wafer-ingot to high efficiency modules) will be set up by Q4 of 2022-23 with the direct investment for around Rs. 14,000 crore," the statement added.

India plans to build green hydrogen plants that will run on electricity produced by green energy sources and help reduce dependence on fossil fuels for mobility. They will provide grid-scale storage solutions and provide feedstock for ammonia production.

“The aim is to develop India into a global hub for manufacturing of hydrogen and fuel cells technologies across the value chain. Toward this end, a framework to support manufacturing via suitable incentives and facilitation aligned with ‘Make in India’ and ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ will be developed," the statement added.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in November announced plans to launch a National Hydrogen Energy Mission, buttressing India’s green energy credentials with the carbon emission-free next-generation fuel.

Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her budget speech said, “It is now proposed to launch a Hydrogen Energy Mission in 2021-22 for generating hydrogen from green power sources."

There has been a growing traction for the new age fuel, with firms such as state-owned Indian Oil Corporation, Greenko and Adani Group planning green hydrogen foray.

“The Government of India will facilitate demand creation in identified segments," the MNRE statement said.

“Major activities envisaged under the Mission include creating volumes and infrastructure; demonstrations in niche applications (including for transport, industry); goal-oriented Research & Development; facilitative policy support; and putting in place a robust framework for standards and regulations for hydrogen technologies," the statement added.

The government plans to invite bids for setting up green ammonia projects within six months to reduce import dependence, with state run Solar Energy Corp. of India Ltd calling bids for it, power and new and renewable energy minister Raj Kumar Singh told Mint in an earlier interview.

“Hopefully, we will be one of the earliest nations to transition to green hydrogen and green ammonia and set up a pathway and roadmap for transition," Singh had said.

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