India’s Green Hydrogen Mission: A Closer Look at Sub-National Roles and Strategies

by Shalin Sheth, Founder & Managing Director, Advait Infratech Limited

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India’s aspiration to become a global leader in renewable energy is evident from its ambitious goals set forth in its climate commitments. The nation is not only the fastest growing market for renewable energy but also an attractive destination for renewable investments. Recognizing the critical role of Green Hydrogen, India has embarked on the National Green Hydrogen Mission aimed at achieving energy independence by 2047 and net-zero emissions by 2070. This initiative intends to catalyze a systemic shift towards a Green Hydrogen economy, leveraging India’s vast renewable resources to potentially become a global supplier of Green Hydrogen.

The Urgency of Energy Transition

India’s energy consumption has doubled over the past two decades and is expected to increase by at least 25% by 2030. Currently, India imports more than 40% of its primary energy needs, which significantly impacts its economic and environmental sustainability. The reliance on imported fossil fuels in major sectors like mobility and industrial production underscores the necessity of transitioning to renewable energy sources. Green Hydrogen emerges as a promising solution, offering a way to integrate abundant renewable energy resources across seasons and regions, ultimately reducing dependence on fossil fuels.

Strategic Importance of Green Hydrogen

The global consensus on climate goals has heightened the demand for Green Hydrogen and its derivatives such as green ammonia and methanol. The volatility of fossil fuel prices, exacerbated by geopolitical tensions and supply chain disruptions during events like the COVID-19 pandemic, has accelerated the shift towards greener alternatives. India, with its significant renewable energy potential and strategic geographic location, is poised to capitalize on this shift. However, the journey is fraught with challenges including high production costs, lack of standardized regulations, and the need for extensive infrastructure for storage and transportation of hydrogen.

Mission Objectives and Implementation

The overarching goal of India’s National Green Hydrogen Mission is to position the country as a global hub for the production, usage, and export of Green Hydrogen and its derivatives. This aligns with India’s broader aim of self-reliance and clean energy transition. The mission targets the production of 5 million metric tonnes of Green Hydrogen annually by 2030, scaling up based on export market growth. It encompasses a comprehensive approach involving multiple sectors like ammonia production for fertilizers, steel manufacturing, and energy sectors including mobility and shipping.

Sourcing and Infrastructure Development

Current hydrogen consumption in India, primarily for industrial processes, is largely sourced from fossil fuels. The mission plans to shift this baseline towards Green Hydrogen through initiatives like setting up pilot projects, enhancing electrolyser technology, and reducing renewable energy costs. Infrastructure development is crucial, requiring coordinated efforts to establish renewable power delivery systems, storage solutions, and transportation networks for hydrogen.

The mission is structured to be implemented in phases, starting with foundational activities to create demand and supply equilibrium and progressing towards more extensive integration of Green Hydrogen across the economy. The initial phase focuses on domestic electrolyser production and pilot projects in sectors already using hydrogen. Subsequent phases aim to expand applications and achieve cost parity with fossil fuels, significantly broadening the scope and scale of Green Hydrogen use.

The Role of Sub-National Entities in India’s Green Hydrogen Mission

The mission’s structure involves significant roles for state governments and local bodies, ensuring the development of Green Hydrogen hubs across the country. These hubs aim to leverage local renewable energy sources to produce Green Hydrogen, thus fostering regional economic growth and technological advancements. In response to the growing importance of sustainable energy, Indian states are implementing significant incentives to foster the development of Green Hydrogen. Gujarat is setting a pace by allocating ₹20 billion by 2030 to establish a 1 MMPTA Green Hydrogen capacity, with land allocation in Kutch specifically for existing companies in the sector.

Maharashtra offers robust support with a 100% electricity discount for renewable projects, including Green Hydrogen and electrolyzer manufacturing. Additionally, the first 20 Green Hydrogen refueling stations benefit from a 30% capital cost subsidy, up to ₹4.50 crore each.

Uttar Pradesh’s incentives include a complete exemption from land tax, land use conversion charges, and a 50% reduction in industrial water consumption charges for Green Hydrogen production. The state also offers 100% reimbursement of the State Goods and Services Tax (SGST) for Green Hydrogen/ammonia production.

Andhra Pradesh promotes the sector by waiving 100% of electricity duties for five years post-commissioning, along with a 25% reimbursement of intrastate transmission charges for the same period. Additionally, they provide SGST reimbursement on Green Hydrogen and ammonia sales for the initial five years after a project’s completion.

These strategic incentives across multiple states demonstrate India’s commitment to transitioning towards a more sustainable and green energy ecosystem, positioning the country as a leader in the global Green Hydrogen market.

Expected Outcomes by 2030

By the end of this decade, the mission aims to achieve a Green Hydrogen production capacity of at least 5 Million Metric Tonnes (MMT) per annum. This is expected to raise an investment of over ₹8 lakh crore and create more than 6 lakh jobs, substantially reducing India’s carbon footprint by curtailing nearly 50 MMT of annual greenhouse gas emissions​​.

The development of a robust certification framework for Green Hydrogen and its derivatives, as well as the establishment of an enabling policy framework, are additional measures to support the mission’s goals. These frameworks will facilitate the delivery of renewable energy for Green Hydrogen production and establish standards for equipment and production processes.

Conclusion

The National Green Hydrogen Mission represents a bold step towards transforming India’s energy landscape. By fostering a conducive ecosystem for Green Hydrogen production, the mission not only aims to reduce dependency on fossil fuel imports but also positions India at the forefront of the global clean energy transition. With coordinated governmental efforts and international collaborations, India is set to unlock a future where Green Hydrogen fuels not just industries but also contributes to sustainable development and environmental conservation.

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