India: Govt. Muses Electricity Act Revision To Boost EV Stations

India: Govt. Muses Electricity Act Revision To Boost EV Stations

The country would need to seek ways to speed up development in vehicle charging stations

Looking at ways to expedite growth in vehicle charging stations, the country’s power ministry is considering ending the lock on electricity sales by distributors.

Amending the nation’s Electricity Act would entail this approach which presently, only allows distributors to sell power, including for electric-vehicle charging stations. The policy issues and technical specifications of the options under consideration will be examined by two committees which have been set up for the purpose.

Other alternatives include companies, known as discoms, to sell electricity directly to charging-station operators or create their own charging-station franchises.

Lack of charging stations could hamper Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitions to ensure chiefly electric vehicles on the roads by 2030. There are only about 350 public EV chargers in India, in comparison to around 57,000 fuel stations. On the other hand, China had around 215,000 charging points installed at the end of 2016.

India’s Forum of Regulators, which comprise the heads of the central and state electricity regulatory boards, suggest that discoms should look upon EVs as a new source of revenue.

State-backed Energy Efficiency Services Ltd. Managing Director Saurabh Kumar said that the restriction on the sale of power is a “big challenge” because charging stations can’t currently be built in parking lots or fuel stations. An initial tender to procure 10,000 EVs to replace government vehicles operating in and around New Delhi was issued by EESL and also awarded bids to set up charging stations.

An EESL bid to supply 125 chargers was won by Exicom Tele-Systems Ltd. Norwegian utility Fortum OYJ and India’s Tata Power Co. also have plans to set up charging infrastructure in India.

Anish De, head of infrastructure strategy and operations at KPMG in India felt that charging stations, especially quick-charge facilities, may overburden parts of the electricity network. He said, “This will become a serious challenge as the EV stock increases and the networks may require a substantial revamp, especially in congested urban areas. This may pose challenges and slow down the propagation of charging stations.” Source: Bloomberg PWKD17012018

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