Karnataka pushes for hydrogen production to cement energy security | Bengaluru

In less than a month, Karnataka signed two major projects relating to hydrogen production, adding to the ongoing efforts to cement energy security through green initiatives, which also helped the southern state tide over the coal crisis in the country.

ACME Cleantech Solutions Private Limited and ReNew Power have each signed to invest 52,000 crores and 50,000 crore in the state over the last one month, which the officials from the industries department said would bolster Karnataka’s green energy solutions and security.

“What we are looking at getting is the hydrogen cluster in Mangaluru. The idea is that is the new fuel and can be converted into ammonia. (There are) lots of other countries that are also looking at energy security and they do not have a way of producing Hydrogen required,” Gunjan Krishna, commissioner for industrial development and director, department of industries & commerce, told HT.

She added that several of these companies setting up shop in Karnataka are looking at exports as well which would benefit all stakeholders.

There are at least two more companies likely to sign their interest to set up hydrogen-producing units in the state, Krishna added.

The statements come at a time when Karnataka has been steadily moving towards green energy solutions for future requirements, including mobility and electricity.

Technological advancements, increasing focus on capacity building and diversification of energy sources had helped Karnataka tide over the coal crisis in the country around April, where the state not just meets over half of its requirements through renewable energy but is also the country’s highest seller in the category, datashows.

According to data from the energy department, renewable energy accounts for 52% of the state’s power needs, followed by thermal, hydro and nuclear at 34%, 12% and 3% respectively.

Investment in renewable energy in India reached a record US$14.5 billion in 2021-22 fiscal, according to the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis.

Karnataka has also signed several other big-ticket projects in the electric vehicle (EV) sector as demand for clean mobility has seen a sharp uptick and presents an opportunity to capitalize on one of the least untapped sectors in the country.

Exide, the country’s largest automotive battery maker, announced in April to invest of 6,000 crore in setting up one of India’s largest Giga factories for advanced cell chemistry technology in Haralur near Bengaluru International Airport.

In December 2020, the state high-level clearance committee (SHLCC), headed by chief minister Basavaraj Bommai, said that it had approved investment interests of 22,419 crore in three different proposals involving EV and lithium-ion battery manufacturing that has the potential to create nearly 5,000 new jobs.

Two proposals of Elest Private Limited of 14,255 crore and 6,339 crores of Elest Pvt Ltd and a 1,825 crore project by Hyunet Private Limited were cleared by the chief minister-led SHLCC.

In July, former chief minister BS Yediyurappa unveiled the Karnataka Electric Bike Taxi Scheme-2021 in Bengaluru to help create employment, bring down pollution, and reducing dependence on private vehicles for first and last-mile commute in one of the biggest cities in India.

A senior industries department official said the new EV park is taking shape outside Bengaluru.

Karnataka will be conducting the Global Investor Summit (GIM) for the first time since 2016 this November to attract more investments into the state and help it emerge out of the sluggish economic conditions exacerbated by Covid-19 pandemic-induced lockdowns.

“Our focus is on everything (all sectors). It is moving towards this (green energy) as it is a happening sector, and we are seeing a lot of action,” Krishna added.

She said that Karnataka has huge potential to tap solar energy, which makes it ideal for hydrogen-production units, and green energy would make this more environmentally sustainable.

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