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PLI Scheme For National Programme on Advanced Chemistry Cell Battery Storage: EQ’s Webinar

PLI Scheme For National Programme on Advanced Chemistry Cell Battery Storage: EQ’s Webinar


EQ presented a webinar on ‘PLI Scheme for National Programme on Advanced Chemistry Cell Battery Storage’ on June 22, 2021 at IST 04:00.

Anil Srivastava Former Principal Adviser and Director General, NITI Aayog participated as keynote speaker in the webinar. Dr. Rashi Gupta, Director of Vision Mechatronics, moderated the session.

The other speakers in the webinar included Aman Hans, Ex- Programme Lead ACC Battery Storage, NITI Aayog; Rajiv Ganju, Sr Vice President Global Supply Chain-Luminous Power Technologies; Yashodhan Pramod Gokhale,Vice President, Business development-Octillion Power Systems India; Kaustubh Kulkarni, Deputy General Manager Sales, Climate Change-EnKing International; Abhishek Shah, Director, Strategy & Transformation- IGH-KPMG; Rajneesh Sharma, Director-Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India LLP; Tarun Kumar Choithani, Technical Supply Chain and Operations-Uber Technologies; Ajay Mishra, General Manager Marketing, Waaree Energies Ltd, and Neeraj Kumar Singal, Director- Semco Group.

PLI Scheme for Advanced Chemistry Cell

Introducing the topic, Rashi Gupta said, “PLI scheme is a very good initiative by the government to bring more domestic manufacturing to the country which is really the need of the day.

Advanced batteries, solar cells are all very important aspects that we need to cover because renewable energies is the most important way forward for energy that the entire country is looking forward.

Speaking on PLI Scheme, Anil Srivastava, Former Principal Adviser and Director General, NITI Aayog. PLA scheme for advanced cell chemistry is a wonderful in scheme and the beautifully designed scheme. The big challenges is how do we get the entire amount which is the promise by the government for this PLI scheme.

“At the outset, it is a wonderfully designing scheme. I would like to dwell upon three perspectives. One the government’s perspective, what is the stakeholders and other persons’ perspective and then the perspective of the bidders or the person who is going into the manufacturing.”

Broadly, he mentioned about the industry or the company which are planning to get into this manufacturing of the Advanced Chemistry Cell Battery in India.

“Government has designed it as it wants that there should be domestic manufacturing of the advanced chemistry cell battery. In this perspective, the industry has to look beyond 50 GWh. It has to look beyond PLI in order to succeed.

The perspective of other stakeholders- OEM and the consumer. OEM is not really impacted whether it is domestically manufactured or important from some other country.

The issue is that is their convenience, revenue and profit. Similarly, customer is also unaffected as to what is manufactured in India.”

Coming to the Industry’s perspective, he said, “Industry has to decide up to how much to invest and to what extent to make use of the PLI Scheme.” Highlighting the challenges of the industry, he said, “The government and the PLI scheme should take care of the challenging factors.”

Talking about the Indian and foreign universities, he said, “they are established companies which are already manufacturing Advanced Chemistry Cell in other countries. Now, if they supply the cells to the Indian company or OEM, than it will be more convenient rather than an Indian industry to set it up.”

“The PLI scheme has to look into those factors that how do they encourage domestic manufacturing and domestic companies to come forward. Indian industry cannot ignore the fact that they have to be globally competitive. Technology is not there in the country but they have to get it.

One cannot look only into the Indian demand. Looking into global demand is needed. People or companies planning to be into the manufacturing of of Advanced Chemistry Cell are required to have strong technology ideas that are suitable to India. ”

Speaking on PLI Scheme benefits for the industry and its shortfalls, Aman Hans, Ex- Programme Lead ACC Battery Storage, NITI Aayog,“Talking about the aim and objective of the scheme and how the government thinks we can move forward.

He discussed how PLI Scheme can be taken forward for the development of the nation. Sharing a brief on the scheme, he explained some parameters including customs duty, tenure, subsidy and more in detail.

He said, “There is a slight difference between what we proposed to the government and what has actually come out. Initially we were talking about a subsidy outlay which was close to almost 4-5 Billion and the government has actually cut down on that from somewhere around 30,000 crore to 18,000 crores. That has been one significant change.”

“As of now, what has come out is extremely robust and helpful for the industry, it is now the matter of implementing.”

Supply Chain and Manufacturing

Rajiv Ganju, Sr Vice President Global Supply Chain-Luminous Power Technologies shared his views on how supply chain would be taken care of in manufacturing of this in PLI Scheme.

Speaking on how the PLI Scheme is going to affect the industry and how would it be taken forward, he said, “The government has taken a great initiative in the PLI Scheme.

One of the key component in any EV domain or special storage is Lithium ion cells. At this stage, we are dependent on our neighboring countries for raw material, supply chain and all other factors that are important in developing the cells.

Until now, we don’t have the current technology in place which is manufactural. In the PLI Scheme, I believe, we still need to consider the raw material.

We don’t have the resources like Nickel, Cobalt and Manganese and that has to be take care of in the PLI Scheme. We have to look at these aspects and commodity also which can help to grow the overall energy storage or electric vehicle domain in India.

Hopefully, in two to three years, we can say that we are Aatmanirbhar, we have our own cells for vehicles. I am looking forward for own Indian made cells.”

Supply Chain and Climate Change

Kaustubh Kulkarni, Deputy General Manager Sales, Climate Change, EnKing International shared his views on manufacturing, logistics, supply chain and the climate change.

He informed how climate change will be impacted and how are we going to be impacted based on the PLI Scheme. “Being from climate change forte, we are very aggressively and positively looking toward the other development happening in the industry.

Talking specifically on climate change, he said, “Climate change consist of lot many things like the other activities that are done on the basis of community. From the climate change perspective, altogether, the transport system and the RE systems will be helped by the PLI scheme. We absolutely look towards new projects.

As far as the, additional revenue stream is concerned for these projects, we are there always.We are helping to make project more stable financially. Whatsoever kind of projects the entities or manufacturers are doing or any energy efficiency is being done, we are also providing incentives to them.”

Transformation in Industry

Abhishek Shah, Director, Strategy & Transformation- IGH-KPMG shared his insights on how the PLI Scheme is going to be transformational for the industry. “One thing is that the government has made the PLI scheme for a number of sectors.

The objective needs to be clear. Another thing is that the government needs to make a policy needs for five years. These kind of industries are dynamic in nature. By five to six years, the whole industry will have transformed. We are living in an age where things move very rapidly.

So, the government need to be very flexible in their approach. May be, this plan has to be changed every year. The other countries are much more dynamic than us. They have great resources so we have to be very smart on how we approach this whole area. It is a good initiative. It needs to be done holistically.

Global Playground

Rajneesh Sharma, Director-Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India LLP spoke on how PLI Scheme would be taking India to the global playground. “This PLI Scheme for battery manufacturing is an enabler. We have got the right incentive scheme at the right moment so that we can push start the manufacturing.

We need to see the role of the government that is of an enabler. This is a matter of overall integrated ecosystem. Ensuring the demand part will be very crucial. As a country, we should be open to pay slightly higher at times so as to encourage the local manufacturers.

With a lot demand coming from EV it should be possible to ensure the demand because the automobile in general, we are locally assembling everything. But, going into the cell manufacturing for battery would be crucial and that needs to be ensured. We need to look into the complete value chain.

First, we have to see what resources available in India are. And, are we efficiently promoting those models which enhance the utilization of these resources. Second is obviously strategic investment and third is recycling.” He further spoke on technology, testing, standardization, Make in India and Design in India.

Rashi Gupta said, “If we start Design in India, then definitely we become a more export oriented house. When we create something nice, useful and a powerful product, we definitely become a very good powerhouse for all other countries.”

Manufacturing in India

Neeraj Kumar Singal, Director- Semco Group, shared his views on equipment and manufacturing. He informed on what is required in terms of machinery to have manufacturing in India and how that impacts the PLI Scheme.

“Regarding the equipment, we are still not manufacturing the batteries. There is no doubt that we will be having an even manufacturing of machines here in India.

Machinery stuff is mostly manufactured in India. The second thing in all the plant requirement is the automation which plays an important role. Automation also have a lot of cost implications on any plant for manufacturing. We have a lot of automation companies here in India that can manufacture cells themselves.

The demand will pick up only when lot of foreign machine manufactures may come to India and try to collaborate with different Indian machine manufacturers, and do the R&D and innovation on that front.

Once, these companies will start setting up of plants, lot of things will be automatically done in India in collaboration with the foreign partners. Slowly, we will catch up with these machines.”

Electric Vehicles and Demand

Tarun Kumar Choithani, Technical Supply Chain and Operations-Uber Technologies, spoke on transportation, EVs on road and how the industry and customers would benefit through sourcing from India.

It is a good initiative for demand generation. Solar industry, especially the EV mobility industry, EV chargers, and EV battery pack assemblers in India would be all benefiting. There are still some areas for improvement for especially for the MSMEs.

The government would certainly be looking at it proactively. The government is kind of expected to look at it for further revisions every couple of years on change based feedback. That’s how businesses become successful.

This would help not only in the small scale industry but also to enable manufacturing on a scale and large integrated ecosystem across the country.”

Since the topic is focused on demand, he shared his insights saying, Demand could come in the future from railways in big numbers because it’s one of the largest consumers of energy.

All the telecom tower companies could be befitting if Indian manufacturers come because service is a major requirement. The procurement of assets from the companies overseas is not a big issue for India now. But servicing on a continuous basis is an important point.

So, tower companies and those companies which relied heavily on service definitely prefer to go to companies that have a PAN India network of services.

The telecom industry could become a major beneficiary of this PLI scheme of this benefit indirectly passing through the battery cell manufacturers in assemblers to telecom operators and telecom tower infrastructure companies.

Coming to Automobiles, he said, “So, we see that every major two-wheelers brand has launched an electric vehicle. The delivery industries really picked up across the country, especially during the pandemic time.

This demand is here to stay. Also, last-mile connectivity is primarily shifted from petroleum products to battery and storage products for demand. So, this is a major driver for demand.

Major four-Wheeler automotive company in India is now launched in EV. Further talking about the fleet operator, he said, “Integrated industry would come up primarily focusing on EV and automotive put together.

Other fleet operators are majorly committing to set up across India. So as an end consumer a time will come in the next two-three years where we would be focusing on getting an option whether we want to commute through EV or normal petrol/ diesel driven vehicle.

Especially, abroad, there is a lot of research going on long-distance EV. The deterrence regarding short distances would be eliminated. Customers, especially the new generation is aware of the need to use the fleet operators to eliminate CapEx and keep the environment friendly.

EVs would definitely be one of the major demand drivers. The major thing is that now India needs to find the source for allowing advanced chemistry to be researched. Quite a few industries and research institutions are working on it. In the next three to five years, India should be in a better position, with respect to, not only in production and assembly but also core development of these technologies.

PLI Scheme and Demand

Ajay Mishra, General Manager Marketing, Waaree Energies Ltd, said, “In Solar, we had the demand but not the local supplies over here. Now the best part is that when we are able to see the demand for the advanced technologies for energy storage, the government has introduced PLI scheme and other initiatives which will help the manufacturing of complete and end to end ecosystem in India.”

He said that after the market of EVs starts rising there would be a lot of demand for the battery storage system. “The entire scheme is very good at this point.

If there could be have been more things for small manufactures, it would have been great. I appreciate the effort taken by the government.” The session concluded with an interactive question and answer round.

Anand Gupta Editor - EQ Int'l Media Network