One of the components of the National Green Hydrogen Mission Document is strategic interventions for green hydrogen transition, where ₹17,490 crore is to be allocated for domestic producers of electrolysers and green hydrogen. While this is laudable, the modalities and eligibility criteria for getting financing, etc., remain unclear. Given the urgency in the energy transition, more details need to be provided to relevant stakeholders.
The mission envisages development of green hydrogen hubs based on regions having proximity to refineries/fertiliser plants. However, it will be prudent to finalise these locations taking into account ready availability of water, which in itself is a challenging proposition.
While there are factors favouring the usage of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, there are challenges in adoption of green hydrogen as a fuel of choice. In case the government is bullish about introducing hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, the forthcoming MNRE guidelines need to provide a more detailed roadmap on incentives to OEMs for production of hydrogen-based vehicles and development of refuelling infrastructure.
The roadmap for transition to hydrogen-based vehicles should be finalised after taking on board the learnings gained from EV transition. A major role will be played by the regulatory bodies as the sector cannot develop without a robust regulatory architecture, safety codes and standards.
Storage of green hydrogen will also have to be scaled up and availability of funding should be ensured to enable newer and innovative modes of storage.
In the medium term, there will be a need for transportation of bulk green hydrogen. While the mission document has promised support to build pipelines for transportation of green hydrogen, it does not clarify whether new, dedicated pipelines will be developed or whether existing natural gas pipelines will be retrofitted for transporting green hydrogen. Either of the above will require crossing of various regulatory hurdles, legislative amendments to the statutes, new regulatory bodies, etc., which will be time consuming and may derail the mission targets.
While India has started off on the right foot, there are still significant challenges which need to be addressed for achieving its decarbonisation targets. Given that there is little detailing on incentives, regulations or visibility on government’s plan to scale up associated infrastructure, the mission is falling short of a firm commitment.
Suman is Partner, and Sinha is Associate, J Sagar Associates