'Boost clean energy, power infrastructure in Budget'

Boost power infrastructure in Budget 2021: Hitachi ABB Power Grids

By N Venu

We see Budget 2021-22 as a great opportunity to advance efforts in clean energy and power infrastructure augmentation as we aim to build back better. Given the impetus for Make-in-India, greater emphasis on power can lay the foundation for long-term growth opportunities, create jobs and attract foreign investments.

 Better infrastructure for smart mobility to flourish 

Depot is one of the most critical pieces of infrastructure for State Transport Authorities as legal regulations, and state support measures encourage local fleet operators and State Transport Corporations (STU) to deploy electric vehicles on a large scale. Focus is shifting from refuelling to recharging. However, as of today, public fleet-level charging infrastructure is largely amiss even though it is crucial for the country to cut carbon emissions and embed smart mobility. 

Battery electric vehicles require increased planning compared to conventional vehicles. So, STUs shall embrace IT-supported depot management system (DC-Fleet) which supports the operators intelligently planning and controlling the complex processes. Furthermore, the increased power and energy demand for charging the electric vehicles may result in the need to increase the power connection. Charging management systems can prevent such an oversized grid connection. 

Given the disruption caused by the pandemic, we hope to see more generous support from the Government in the form of incentives and tax rebates to encourage smart technology adoption by fleet operators and spread a nationwide network of public transport charging.

 Fiscal incentives and GST rate reduction

 The Government of India has set an ambitious target of achieving 175 GW of solar power installed capacity by 2022; hence, the existing financial incentive from direct tax perspective should be continued. Granting additional depreciation @ 35% instead of the current 20% for setting up an enterprise for manufacturing electrical equipment will help achieve the target of renewable energy addition in the energy mix. Electric mobility is the future, and reduction or rationalization of the existing duty structure on urban transport-related goods will go a long way in the adoption of such means of transport. Thank you.

We are hopeful that the Government will bring about a reduction or parity in GST rates to boost consumption and growth, specifically in the renewable sector. To further promote “Make in India” in the power sector, it is crucial to be more accommodative towards new manufacturing locations being set up by reputed companies.

(The author is Managing Director at India, Hitachi ABB Power Grids)