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How to become a green hydrogen superpower?

GS Paper 3

Syllabus: Infrastructure (Energy)/Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation

 

Source: TH

Context: The 2023 Union Budget has allocated ₹19,700 crore for the National Green Hydrogen Mission. This could help India establish itself as a green H2 superpower.

 

Importance of Green H2 for India:

  • India has committed to 50% electricity capacity from non-fossil sources by 2030.
  • An energy transition in the industry (most GHG emissions come from steel, cement, fertilizers, and petrochemicals) is needed at the same time.
  • Green H2 can serve as an energy source (heavy industry, mobility, and power storage) and an energy carrier (as green ammonia/blended with natural gas).
    • It holds the promise of fuelling industrial growth while simultaneously reducing industrial emissions.
  • With abundant sunshine and wind energy resources, India is geographically blessed to become one of the lowest-cost producers of green H2.

 

Priorities to convert the vision into reality: Government and industry must act in sync for –

  • Becoming a big player domestically – a necessity to be a major player in the international market.
    • The mission introduces a Strategic Interventions for Green Hydrogen Transition (SIGHT) fund (₹13,000 crores) to support heavy industries to increase demand, offering economies of scale, etc.
    • Blending mandates for refineries can be another demand trigger.
  • As the second-largest steel producer in the world, India can aspire to become the largest green steel producer.
    • Costs of green steel, made from green H2, could be reduced with economies of scale and changes in production technologies.
  • India can be an attractive destination for domestic and foreign investment.
    • A mission secretariat can ensure project clearance is streamlined and reduce financial risks.
  • Becoming more competitive (with targeted public funding) in manufacturing the most critical and high-value components of electrolysers in India.
    • The SIGHT fund offers ₹4,500 crores to support electrolyser manufacturing under the performance-linked incentive scheme.
    • The mission allocates ₹400 crores for R&D, which can be leveraged to crowd in private capital into technology co-development
  • Establishing bilateral partnerships to develop resilient supply chains.
    • Indian companies should consider joint projects in countries with good renewable energy resources and cheap finance to become export competitive.
  • India must coordinate with major economies to develop rules for a global green H2 economy.
    • India’s G20 presidency is an opportunity to craft rules, addressing operational threats, industrial competitiveness and strategic threats.
  • India should promote a global network of green hydrogen via which companies could collaborate.

 

Conclusion

Green hydrogen will be a critical industrial fuel of the 21st century. India is well-positioned to show leadership, which is in India’s and the planet’s collective interest.

 

Insta Links:

India’s green hydrogen challenge

 

Mains Links:

What are the key features of the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) initiated by the Government of India? (UPSC 2020)

 

Prelims Links: (UPSC 2016)

Which of the following best describes/ describes the aim of the ‘Green India Mission’ of the Government of India?

  1. Incorporating environmental benefits and costs into the Union and State Budgets thereby implementing the `green accounting’
  2. Launching the second green revolution to enhance agricultural output so as to ensure food security to one and all in the future
  3. Restoring and enhancing forest cover and responding to climate change by a combination of adaptation and mitigation measures

 

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 3 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3

 

Ans: 3