India-UK open cleantech two-way street of investment, green opportunity
Asian giant needs capital to create essential energy storage systems while British firms offer infrastructure solutions
(AF) In the wake of Brexit, India and the UK are seeking closer ties in the energy and cleantech sector, with the hydrogen economy, energy storage and green financing coming to the fore as potential key growth areas for India-UK partnerships.
While Indian firms stand to benefit from London’s market positioning as a venue of choice for investors looking to buy green bonds, India offers a sizeable market for UK cleantech SMEs looking to scale. And with Prime Minister Narendra Modi aiming to put India on the map as the world’s third-largest economy by 2030, and the UK in search of key post-Brexit partnerships, the transition to a carbon-free economy presents a significant commercial opportunity for both parties.
Cloud of uncertainties dim India’s solar ambitions
In 2018, the two countries launched a $700m Green Growth Equity Fund, structured as a joint venture between the UK-based Lightsource and Indian private equity firm Everstone Capital. The fund has supported the growth of India’s renewable energy sector, through investments in Ayana Renewable Power, Radiance Renewables, GreenCell Mobility and EverEnviro. India now produces some of the cheapest solar energy in the world, and according to government estimates, it will require 27 GW of grid‐connected battery storage by 2030. However, only one sodium-ion battery energy storage power station exists in Asia, and that’s in China.
This is why Pratik Dattani, Economic Policy Group Managing Director and adviser to think tank Bridge India, says energy storage is “especially significant for India.”
Much of its installed energy capacity is expected to come from solar power, an energy source with a clear split in day-night output. To make the most of its soaring solar sector, India urgently needs to increase its renewable energy storage capacity to return energy to the grid to sustain peak demand levels and minimise power wastage.
British companies Faradion and AMTE Power are seeking to meet the vast demand by setting up a sodium-ion battery plant in India and one of Tesla’s main battery suppliers, CATL from China, announced it would start releasing sodium-ion batteries from July this year.
Green hydrogen is a new sector for both the UK and India; and while the UK’s hydrogen market is developing at a great pace, India’s hydrogen policy is yet to be announced later this year.
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