Electric vehicles in India may soon have the opportunity to go carbon-free in operations as the government endeavours to supply renewable energy to charging stations in a coal-driven economy, a first of its kind initiative in the world.
Though EVs have no tailpipe emissions, they draw criticism from various sections on the use of fossil fuel for generating the electricity used to charge them. Coal contributes to 76% of electricity generation in India, and renewables including hydro 19%.
A policy directive enabling any consumer above 100 kW hour load, including residential societies, commercial complexes or charging stations, to source green electricity from any source other than the local distribution supplier has been announced by the government. Sources in the government said the rules are at the stage of final legal vetting. The Draft Electricity (Promoting Renewable Energy Through Green Energy Open Access) Rules, 2021 were issued in August last year.
“Open access is for entities buying more than 1 MW of power. But none of the charging stations will have 1 MW at one location. The draft green open access rules lower the threshold to 100 kW for consumers. Though not intended only for EV, it is an excellent opportunity to make them completely green,” said Awadesh Jha, executive director (charge and drive) at Fortum and chairman of the national committee on future mobility at CII.
He said this is the first of its kind initiative in the world.
“This brings the EV ecosystem a step closer to Europe, where Fortum customers if they are charging from a particular location, are informed they are charging their vehicle from wind or solar,” he said.