India’s giga factory plan boosts clean energy target

Giga Factories intend to provide end-to-end handling of batteries, from raw material to components to finished products, and recycling old batteries.

August 14, 2019

India plans to set up 12 giga factories by 2030 to manufacture lithium-ion batteries to support electric vehicle (EVs) as well as renewable energy generation

Driven by manufacturing and innovation potential, India holds the capacity to become a net exporter of batteries to support burgeoning global demand

The targeted 1,000 megawatt hour of battery capacity will be able to power 10 lakh homes or about 30,000 electric cars for the same period of time

At present there are three giga factories in the world. Two in the US, Nevada and New York, and the third is coming up in Liangang industrial zone in China

The name Giga factory has been created from the word ‘Giga’, the unit of measurement representing “billions.” Simply put, Giga factories are large scale factories that can enable economies of scale and minimize costs through innovative manufacturing, reduction of logistics waste, optimization of co-located processes and reduced overheads. They intend to provide end-to-end handling of batteries, from raw material to components to finished products, and recycling old batteries. Batteries produced in these plants will cater to electric vehicles as well as consumer electronics industry and electricity grids too.

At present there are three giga factories in the world. The first in Nevada, the second in Buffalo, New York, and the third is coming up in Liangang industrial zone in China. There is talk of some coming up in Europe as well.

NITI Aayog – looking at domestic as well as export market 

National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog has proposed setting three to four Giga factories in India, for manufacturing lithium-ion batteries, in the next couple of years. The policy Think Tank of the Government of India announced that the Indian government is planning to invest around US$4 billion to set up the Tesla-style Giga factories. 

As the nation prepares to switch to electric vehicles to curb pollution and cut its dependence on imported oil, it will need at least six such gigawatt-scale facilities by 2025 and 12 by 2030 to manufacture batteries. Once India is ready to export these batteries, the numbers of such facilities are expected to double. 

Manufacture local, sell global

Manufacturing Lithium-ion batteries domestically presents an enormous economic opportunity for India. These constitute an electronic vehicle’s most expensive part. The large-scale electric battery manufacturing and storage plan aims to make storage systems competitive in India, so it becomes more feasible to switch over to electric vehicles. 

Not only can India support domestic electronic automakers’ to produce a smart fleet of clean vehicles at affordable prices, the Nation can become a net exporter of batteries, and also enable other countries’ transition to electric mobility and renewable energy. 

Abundant, inexpensive batteries which are ‘Made in India’ will also support the government’s goals for vehicle electrification, renewable energy integration, and job growth within India. Such batteries, when exported, will also play an important role in speeding up the world’s transition to a clean energy economy. 

Heavy demand expected

As the world’s third largest electricity producer at present, and with plans to add 175 GW renewable energy generation capacity by 2022 and shift 30 per cent fleet to electric vehicles by 2030, India’s demand for battery storage is expected to reach 300 GW. The government’s plan of setting up giga factories across different Indian states will go a long way in ensuring that supply is met.

Storage is necessitated because of the irregular output of sources like wind and solar energy. It will help regulate the flow of energy, providing states with much needed extra electricity in times of peak loads and storing it during periods of excess production. 

India presently has an installed renewable energy capacity of about 80 gigawatts (GW) and is running the world’s largest renewable energy programme, with plans to achieve 175 GW by 2022 and 500 GW by 2030, as part of its climate commitments.

Maiden giga factory in India

Recently, the LIBCOIN consortium with Magnis Energy Technologies Limited and BHEL finalised a deal with the Government of India, Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises, to build ‘India’s first Lithium-ion Battery Gigafactory’. India’s first gigafactory will start at 1GWh and will eventually increase to 30GWh. The project will be a part of the ‘Made By India, For India’ initiative.

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