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2019-09-05 / Regulatory & Industry Trends

The Future Of Electrical Protection System

The ongoing adoption of clean energy sources is evident across the world. Every country aspires to be powered with renewable energy as soon as possible and as such, establishment of renewable energy parks, investment in the sector, incentives on offer – everything is gaining face. But transitioning completely to a renewable society would take more than just creating the necessary infrastructure. What’s also necessary is to adapt the current infrastructure according to this change – even minute aspects like Electrical Protection System.

The current protection system works on the principle of sensing the ‘state of change’. It involves devising a mechanism which senses a “UNIQUE BEHAVIOUR” whenever there is an occurrence of fault (typically P-P or P-E). Our existing electrical energy sources rely on such protection system. These are the generators driven by steam, gas, nuclear or hydro turbines. Being prime movers with very high inertia, these turbines generate power directly into AC (Alternating Current).

These sources keep feeding the current into the grid even in case of a fault – and the fault current can be up to 300 to 400% of their steady current rate, along with a dip in the voltage. The ‘unique behaviour’ sensed by the Electric Protection System is this state of high current. The maximum electrical protection is based on the over-current such as IDMT (Inverse Definite Minimum Time), DMT (Definite Minimum Time), Instantaneous over-current and earth-fault protection. The figure is attached for reference for pictorial understanding.

While this holds for the conventional energy sources, renewable energy (RE) electrical sources such as Solar PV or Wind are slightly different because these are connected to grid either through a converter-inverter combo or just the inverters. These are purely power electronics based devices. Further, the generators in these sources – solar PV modules for solar energy and Wind Turbine Generators for wind energy – have nil or negligible inertia (nil in solar PV due to static nature and negligible in WTG due to small size).

Additionally, as an inherent property, the Solar Cell Short circuit current (Isc) is only 25% more than the Max Power current (Imp). For their own safety, the power electronic devices almost immediately limit the current and do not allow them to overshoot their rated current. Therefore, the fault current contribution from renewable sources is negligible whenever there is a fault in the grid or distribution system. Consequently, over-current based protection need to rely only on the reverse fault current from conventional sources. The figure is attached for reference for pictorial understanding.

Now, as renewables continue to increase their presence, this is bound to change. Because for a grid powered by renewable energy, it is possible that the current doesn’t shoot up even when the voltage dips in case of a fault. As a result, there will not be any ‘unique behaviour’ for the system to detect, making troubleshooting & fault location the major issue.

To tackle this, a new regime of protection devices/system will be required. This will be a “Unit” type protection such as “special current differential protection” and will need to be sensitive enough to acknowledge the current reversal and operate. Even, “sensitive impedance protection” will be required all over.

These new protection devices will be required everywhere and with over-lapping zones (line current differential with Back-up impedance protection) even in the Medium Voltage and Low Voltage system. This will be a much costlier system than conventional over-current based protection, and even a smart grid with AI might be required to diagnose a fault.

The high cost is due to the fact that while conventional electrical energy sources are a source of power as well as fault, renewable energy-based electrical energy sources are the only source of power and not of fault. Detection of a fault is thus more difficult in a grid powered by renewables.

A clean energy infrastructure, if unable to support our needs, isn’t any good either. While the transition is a must, it needs to be perfect as well. Therefore, focusing on an effective electrical protection system is essential and must be taken up shortly. Because using renewables to power grids susceptible to faults can result in an inconvenient, lengthy breakdown. We need to be better safe than sorry – be prepared than just be aware.

Author: Sudhir Pathak, Head – Engineering (Solar Grid, Rooftop & International), HFE

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2019-07-06 / Regulatory & Industry Trends

The Sooner Our Solar Sector Stands On Its Own Feet, The Better

The signing of the Paris Accord was a monumental step in our planet’s fight against climate change. 175 countries coming together to make collective commitments and efforts towards a brighter future. The challenge is huge, it has become even bigger since, but thankfully, India has well-defined targets to aim for. Our commitments under the Paris Agreement include reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emission intensity of GDP by 33-35%, 40% of total power generation capacity from renewable energy sources and increasing tree cover.

While tree cover is a separate story, the link between the energy sector and GHG emissions is well established. As per the ‘Biennial Update Report’ submitted by India to the UN in 2018, the energy sector accounts for 73% of our country’s total emissions. The need for increased capacity and usage of renewable energy is critical and to its credit, India has been active on that front. The target of 175 GW solar and wind energy by 2022 is well within reach and recently, the government announced its intention of taking it up to 500 GW by 2030.

Our population is growing at the fastest rate globally. Against earlier forecasts of our population doubling in the next 80 years, we are now expected to reach there in half the time. As India develops, our energy demand is only going to increase. As incomes rise, more people will adopt a better lifestyle with products like air conditioners. As per the World Economic Forum, the total stock of room ACs will reach over 1 billion by 2050 – a 40-fold growth from 2016. To run these, approximately 600 GW of new power generation capacity would be required. Naturally, the environment will bear the brunt of it, if renewables have a lower contribution to this power consumption. And this is just one such example!

Such a rapid increase in demand for resources also makes transitioning to a circular economy of paramount importance. India is estimated to generate 78 million tonnes of solar e-waste by 2050. Circular economy policies address waste, design, procurement, secondary use, plastics, ocean debris, recycling, waste management among others which is the need of the hour.

Electric vehicles are going to be one of the pivotal factors in meeting our targets for COP21. One of the drawbacks often raised regarding them is that although EVs themselves are environmentally friendly, they rely on power from the grid which in a country like India is predominantly thermal based thereby contributing to GHG emissions. India, thus, needs to not only ensure increasing EV penetration but also increase the share of renewable energy in powering EVs.

While both the intention and steps being taken by the government are increasing the momentum in this sector, but a long-term sustainable view of our development should be the driving factor in the promotion of renewables. 

India is the lowest cost producer of solar power globally. However, there are some drawbacks that need to be addressed, such as the sector being heavily reliant on government subsidies, investments into land availability and evacuation infrastructure for setting up solar plants are also quite large. As a result, the industry requires financial assistance. Rather than subsidies, this assistance needs to come in the form of budgetary allocations – which can be recovered as these then become self-sustainable projects.

Plenty of other steps can also be taken to strengthen the solar industry and making it self-sustainable. For instance, long-term visibility on GST for renewable energy projects – such as a blanket rate of 5% on all renewable energy products – will help reduce the uncertainty in the industry. Further, subsidizing domestic solar panel manufacturers and promoting technological developments to increase their competitiveness globally can propel the sector. The increased demand will necessitate R&D, which will lower the prices and thus overcome the need for subsidies.

The revenues generated through the clean energy cess under the National Clean Energy Fund need to be directed for their intended purpose and support renewable energy, EVs and Make in India for renewables. Strengthening the industry with such measures is essential because this is just the start for us. We carry a strong vision and achieving it will require comprehensive efforts, be it in implementation or regulations. Not just because we want to achieve our Paris Agreement commitments but because our future depends on it.

Contributed by: Mr. Sunil Jain, CEO, Hero Future Energies.

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2019-05-31 / Life @ HFE/ HR

Chairman's Top 20 Challenge - The Road To Oval

If cricket is India’s biggest religion then the World Cup definitely its biggest festival. And at a time when people will be glued to their TV screens, 20 of our employees will be experiencing it in a different manner. The crunch battle between India and Australia will take place on 9th June and these employees will be bleeding blue right at the battleground – the Oval.

It all started with the Chairman’s Top 20 Challenge – an initiative to reward the hard work and dedication of our employees. Based on the achievement of KRAs and performance over and above it through innovative ideas, 20 winners were selected after a thorough process. The process included form submission from employees and multiple assessments and reviews within the company. In the end, 20 tickets were booked for those who delivered their best.

Our 20 winners who will be watching the World Cup match at Oval, London

Needless to say, the challenge has proved its point. Gratification is the best form of motivation and such a great victory has encouraged our employees to keep giving their best. In words of Ms. Alpna Srivastava, Assistant Manager, CDE (Grid) “It’s a rare opportunity that any company actually gives to their employees which becomes a reason to work with a whole lot of enthusiasm & energy.”

The moment the results were announced, our winners had their favourite cricketing moments in mind. “The last over of the 2007 T20 World Cup when Mahi gave the ball to Joginder Sharma and won us the title.” Manish Arora, Contracts and Payments, CPC, recalled his most memorable cricket moment, hoping for a repeat of such exciting action against Australia. For Ms. Sheetu Garg, Manager, HR, it was another world cup winning moment, “I still remember MSD’s six to win it against Sri Lanka.”

Watching their favourite sports person, give his all against a side like Australia, at a grand venue like Oval – their hard work couldn’t have yielded better results. And it’s not just the match our winners are looking forward to. “London is full of iconic locations – a ride on the London Eye, walking down the London Bridge, perfect picture with Big Ben; I am excited for all of it.” Arpit Modi, Manager, Design (Solar), CDE (Grid), expressed his excitement.

But this by no means discounts the hard work all our other employees put in day after day. The Chairman’s Top 20 Challenge was the first in a long line of employee-centric initiatives Mr. Rahul Munjal intends to introduce. His words on the day of the result were, “I congratulate the winners and look forward to seeing them at the Oval, watching India live in action. But for those who didn’t make the final cut, I appreciate them just as well and sooner rather than later, they will be in a winners’ list as well.”

So keep your hopes up and heads held high. While the Oval will be a remarkable memory for the winners, we are sure your presence will still be missed. So let’s give our best to our work and make the world a better place because our lives certainly will get better with the challenges planned next up.

2019-05-30 / Regulatory & Industry Trends

Exploring Renewable Consumption Obligation

The world has its limit. The countries have their targets. And the companies have their concerns. We are moving towards a cleaner future at an impressive speed indeed but given our situation, it’s still not fast enough. To speed this up even further, several governments across the world have introduced Carbon Tax. The results have not been particularly impressive, as the tax comes with both pros and cons. And thanks to its infancy in India, we have the option to consider other alternatives as well.

India is the world’s fastest-growing economy and this growth poses some challenges unique to our nation. For instance, the population curve is only going to go up and as lifestyles improve, so will the demand for power consuming devices. According to the World Economic Forum, the demand for air conditioners in India will grow 40-fold between 2016 and 2050. Coupled with the rise in EVs and power consumption, higher carbon emissions per capita are inevitable. A solution to that can be Renewable Consumption Obligation (RCO).

The carbon tax is a per-ton tax on a company’s carbon dioxide emissions that is levied by the government. The more pollution they create, the higher they pay. This acts as a huge incentive for companies to adopt renewables and save not only on power bills but on carbon tax as well. However, for MSEs, it can be a roadblock to growth as well. Shifting to renewables is often a large one-time investment – an investment small businesses may not have the resources to make. Caught between a high carbon tax and lack of resources, they might struggle.

A way around this problem is to impose a carbon tax as well as an RCO. Renewables supplying a certain percentage of power will lower the tax burden on MSEs. To aid them even further, we can follow the example of Sweden. One of the countries where Carbon Tax has aided the economy and lowered emissions, Sweden uses the revenue collected to lower other taxes – a model which can help our MSEs. Moreover, the country also had different tax slabs for different industries. These learnings can be vital for a nation like India, which is trying to be a startup hub.

While imposing a carbon tax is a challenge, so is adopting renewables. As we learn from RE100 companies, the lack of proper renewable infrastructure is a big challenge for companies trying to switch to clean energy. Secondly, flexible policy support is required so that both small and big industry players can adopt renewables. But there are starting points for companies willing to make the change. For instance, setting fact-based public targets and reporting on progress is necessary. One should also be prepared to innovate and collaborate with other companies.

The government has already taken some steps for promotions of EVs in India. Incentives like no road tax and registration cost under the second phase of FAME are commendable and similar incentives can be introduced for renewable adoption as well. These will act as an encouragement for companies to stand by their RCO and even aim for beyond. The added expense of the Carbon Tax will add another layer of motivation to shift to clean energy.

Our situation today demands all possible measures to be deployed and something as effective as Renewable Consumption Obligation needs to be weighed properly. If opted against, other incentives to encourage the shift to renewable energy need to be promoted even more heavily. If opted for, it needs to be accompanied by other valuable initiatives like the carbon tax, subsidies, and exemption from certain other taxes. The goal is to achieve our targets – if RCO is the way to go, let’s get started with it; if not, let’s find a better fit right away.

Contributed by Sunil Jain, CEO, Hero Future Energies

 

 

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2018-12-21 / Life @ HFE/ O&M

Best O&M Practices at HFE’s Solar Energy Sites

The world is showing no signs of slowing down in its shift to renewables. More and more businesses are adopting renewable energy, wind and solar farms are being set up, and the future indeed looks a lot greener. Although it is important to look towards the future, analyzing the present is just as important. That’s because while the quantity of renewable energy will be higher in the future, quality is something that can be maintained at high standards even today.

Hero Future Energies understands that maintaining quality is necessary to generate power efficiently and as such, employs certain practices at its solar sites. These practices help the company generate power efficiently, safely, and with minimal collateral damage to the environment.

The key practices include:

  • Water conservation with robot cleaning

Just imagine the time and effort (and water) required to manually clean the countless PV modules in a solar farm. And any delay that lets dust remain on the modules for long takes a toll on their efficiency. Robot cleaning brings automation into the picture, reducing both operational time and cost. Apart from water conservation, the method also ensures high day-to-day performance and increases the ROI from the solar assets.

  • Minimizing temperature effect with grass below the modules

Grass may well be the only vegetation with a role to play in solar ‘farms’. The efficiency of solar panels decreases if the panels get too hot. Under the PV modules, it helps in cooling the system by controlling the reflected heat from the ground, thus keeping the underside of solar panels cool and increasing the long-term efficiency.

  • Rainwater harvesting

Hero Future Energies’ understands that its commitment towards sustainability shouldn’t cause any collateral damage to the environment. Rainwater harvesting helps the company meet its water requirements to some extent and reduces its dependence on ground water. A rainwater harvesting system is much cheaper compared to other pumping and purifying means, is easy to maintain, and reduces water bills as well.

  • PV analyzer tool

Currently under implementation, the PV analyzer tool will help Hero Future Energies check the module health and degradation in-house. This will help us regulate our maintenance work better and realize the full potential of modules on our sites.

Along with these practices, some of the initiatives we plan to implement in the near future include:

  • Nano coating on solar modules

The hydrophobic and dust repellant qualities of nano coating on glass have long been known. These qualities play an even important in solar panels, protecting them during heavy rainfall, dust, and pollution. The coating’s self-cleaning effect stops dust, pollen and other such particles which can hinder the panel’s ability to absorb sunlight from sticking to the module, reducing the O&M cost and increasing the efficiency.

  • Thermography camera-equipped drones for inspection

Thermal imaging cameras used on drones will help detect hot spots in the solar panels even from a distance. This makes finding defects in the modules and taking corrective measures in a timely manner easier, preventing any breakdowns.

The role played by renewables in this day and age will only get more prominent with each passing day. As such, we don’t need to just increase their quantity but focus just as much on the quality. The more efficient they are, the brighter our future is. These measures, Hero Future Energies believe, will help us achieve the goal of a sustainable future smoothly.

Contributed by 

Atul Raaizada
President-Projects and O&M,
Wind & Solar farms and New Technologies

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2018-09-10 / Rooftop Solar

Going Solar Is Easy

Hero Future Energies, one of the leading Independent Power Producers, is poised to integrate renewable energy in the energy mix of the country by identifying the best solutions and install renewable energy systems benchmarked against the best-in-class engineering standards.

Our experience can be your gain. Here are our six ways on how you can go solar.

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2018-08-31 / Life @ HFE/ CSR

The Gift of Knowledge – Delivered by Solar

“Education is the most powerful weapon, which you can use to change the world.” – Nelson Mandela

“Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.” – Malcom X

“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” – Benjamin Franklin

“Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family.” – Kofi Anan

I wanted to set the tone for this short post with these profound and insightful quotes by some of the greatest leaders the world has seen. Few can stress better on the importance of knowledge and its ability to transform lives.

Now, with the dawn of the digital era, modes may have evolved, but the meanings remain the same. Knowledge, though acquired differently, is still power.

Hero Future Energies was approached by the 17,000ft Foundation – a not-for-profit organization with an aim to improve lives of people living in remote areas that lie isolated due to difficulties posed by tough terrain. We teamed up with the Raman Kant Munjal Foundation (RKMF), a Hero Group initiative that actively works for women empowerment, rural upliftment and education. Given that this was a first-of-its-kind initiative for us, we decided to pair two brilliant things – renewable energy and education – to help enhance modes of learning for schoolchildren in Leh and Kargil.

Schools so high up in the mountains face a number of infrastructural issues, owing to the terrain and the harsh climate. For one, people can only reach these schools by walking. Besides this, the lack of a constant supply of electricity also hinders their progress. While it is true that they have learnt to live within the constraints around them, there’s no doubt it greatly limits the opportunities for them to grow. To help overcome these barriers and enable the development of these children, we needed an educational solution that was intuitive, more current and helped them learn better.

Together with the 17,000ft Foundation, I had the honour of inaugurating ‘Digi Labs’ at Nimoo Village – wherein we distributed 80 tablets throughout 10 schools in Kargil and Leh. Once the children began using the machines, it was amazing to see how quickly they learned to use them. The wild-eyed fascination in their eyes was encouraging to behold.

The tablets are pre-programmed with educational applications, are easy to understand and intuitive to use. To ensure that the tablets can be recharged regularly, the HFE team has set up solar panels in these schools. We have set up a solar-storage solution that empowers both the children and teachers in the long run.

It brings me great happiness to know that these children are being empowered with knowledge and that too through renewable energy. I hope that they come to understand and appreciate the benefits of solar power – and renewable energy in general – and learn to inculcate this sustainable lifestyle within themselves. I am personally a great believer in the potential that knowledge can unlock in children. I think there are few things more exciting than the possibilities of what these children might accomplish in the future.

The development of the young minds of our nation is not a one-time fix. It is important for us to take necessary steps regularly to bring everyone on an even platform, and try to afford the same opportunities to everyone as much as possible. This small step from Hero Future Energies is just the beginning in a long journey towards a better, brighter tomorrow.

 

Contributed by Mr. Rahul Munjal, Chairman and Managing Director, Hero Future Energies

 

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2018-08-31 / Life @ HFE/ HR

Exploring The Beautiful City Of Bangkok As A Team

When we think about employee experience and employee engagement, the typical focus is to fall within the confines of the office. Some more known and relatable ones being – When is the next happy hour? How do we create more facetime with leaders? What are our communication best practices?

Our recent offsite trip to Bangkok was organized so that we could move away from these. Away from our desks and work to a place where we can really experience the power of a team at work.

This time, the entire Hero Future Energies team flew to Thailand’s capital city for our annual office retreat. Some participants were excited about spending time together; others were worried they would be forced to do trust falls; and one was terrified that the trip would be a bust. Spoiler alert: We had a blast! And throughout the trip, we learned quite a bit about one another and a lot about what it takes to contribute to the growth of a colleague. When we take employees outside the office walls, employees get the chance to connect on a more personal basis with one another, and this is exactly what we hoped for.

Bangkok holds such a special place among tourists worldwide. A hospitable environment and captivating locations weren’t the only strengths of the city – its culture stood in a league of its own. And the best way to explore this culture was to become a part of it. HFE family was divided into teams and moved about the city to experience the city’s offering – its art and craft of the place, cuisine, culture; everything held a unique charm which everyone was glad to have experienced.       

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 This fun was accompanied by a feeling of pride as well. Having made considerable progress as a family in the last 5 years, it was a moment to reflect on the work we had done and appreciate ourselves for it.

Such a memorable trip would have been incomplete without one final party in Bangkok. And the HFE family knows how to have splendid parties. The night was full of fun, conversations, laughter, and https://www.herofutureenergies.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/DSC_0632.jpgmost importantly, memories.    

         

After the games were played, the drinks had, and the party put out, every employee felt refreshed and rejuvenated to get to work and change the world. We now feel closer as co-workers, have a stronger connection to the team, and more comfortable approaching our leadership.

With such happy faces among us, who are no short of talent when it comes to working either, this memorable trip is bound to be the first of many more to come. Here is to the success we have achieved and the fun we’ve had!

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2018-07-18 / Regulatory & Industry Trends

Circular Economy for a Low Carbon Future

       

Global demand for energy is increasing rapidly, because of population and economic growth, especially in emerging market economies. The energy market itself has witnessed a shift more towards renewable energy sources, with the growing concern surrounding global warming and climate change leading to a drive towards a lower carbon future, changes in consumer behavior and technological innovation. Globally usage of renewable energy in 2017 was 12 percent, which is a percent more than its average in 2016, according to a report by Frankfurt School of Finance and Management and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). This amounts to 1.8 gigatonnes less carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere!

Over the last 40 years, as the population grew and more consumers entered the middle class, total demand for resources is expected to reach 130 billion tons by 2050, up from 50 billion in 2014. That’s an overuse of the Earth’s total capacity by more than 400%. The global energy demand for air conditioners is expected to triple by 2050. The global stock of air conditioners in buildings will grow to 5.6 billion by 2050, up from 1.6 billion today – which amounts to 10 new ACs sold every second for the next 30 years, according to IEA report. The biggest increase is happening in hot countries like India – where the share of AC in peak electricity load could reach 45 per cent in 2050, up from 10 per cent today without action.

As the demand for power is on the upward trend, annual extraction of materials has more than tripled. In mining industry, energy cost accounts for 10-11% of production cost, thus it is central for low carbon future. The contribution of diesel and electricity in cumulative energy cost is quite significant. Annual electricity consumption in open mines in India would be 54 lakh units, and the annual diesel consumption is 8364 kL/year. Renewable energy offers an attractive alternative for remote mines not connected to the electricity grid.

A fair share of developing countries which have the privilege of abundant natural resources like solar energy or wind energy or hydro energy, find renewables to be a cheaper investment option, shielded by price fluctuations. Countries like India, China and Brazil aim to use only renewable resources in their operations in the coming years. While countries are tapping the unconventional and natural resources, not all that looks sustainable stays that way at the end of its life cycle. While solar technologies enable us to generate enormous amounts of green energy, the components used for generating electricity are themselves not biodegradable. Hence, proper handling of components, after their useful life is over, becomes imperative. The environmental imperative to reduce CO2 emissions in the energy sector, should make it obligatory for government to earmark a new investment cycle.

  • While policy makers are focusing on ramping up solar power generation, how and when would we address the prospect of used panels inundating landfills and leaking toxic waste into the environment?
  • In the process of reducing carbon emissions through output efficiency e.g renewables, other optimal measures and usage new technology, what is the real energy offset?
  • Are we trying to make this earth hollow through mining, with an objective to reduce carbon footprints?

Resources are not infinite, now is the time to address the elephant in the room. There is only one planet to live, we need an ecosystem that offers long-term flexibility, generates business and economic opportunities, and provides environmental and societal benefits. We should aim at transitioning to a circular economy where economic activities build and rebuild overall system health across scales – for large and small businesses, for organisations and individuals, globally and locally.

The circular economy concept has deep-rooted origins, however its practical applications across economic scenario and industrial processes have gained momentum in recent past, led by thought-leaders and businesses. Circular economy policies are complex; covering issues such as waste, design, procurement, secondary use, plastics, ocean debris, recycling, waste management among others. The need of the hour is a unifying, multi-sector, international business voice to provide constructive guidance to the public sector on policy-setting to accelerate the circular economy.

As large-scale solar PV deployment has taken place only recently in India, major end-of-life PV waste volumes may not be expected until after 2030, after which significant amount of waste is expected to be generated. A 2016 report published by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) projects India as the producer of over 78 million tonnes of solar e-waste by 2050. India is talking of 100 GW of solar by 2022, which equates to 303030303.030303 panels!

India’s existing rules document—E-Waste Management Rules, 2016—clarifies on the roles and responsibilities of the key stakeholders involved in the e-waste value chain. This is the set of rules referred to in most of the solar power tenders for solar projects in India. However, it does not specifically mention about the issue of management of used components of solar power systems—it only addresses household electronics and not PV panels. The challenges faced by advanced nations like Japan or the US is similar to that of India, with no specific regulation for the solar waste generated in these countries, as PV panels are still not identified by the law for specific recycling and regulation. However, in the UK and Germany, its collection, treatment and recycling have been defined in Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive. Germany has also established a collective producer responsibility system for end-of-life management of business-to-consumer PV panels.

As the global installations of wind turbines increase, issues related to the decommissioning of wind turbines becomes increasingly important both for policy makers and industry. Industrial-scale wind turbines are largely recyclable and contain primarily steel and copper. These materials are widely recyclable but decommissioning wind farms might be more costly than the construction phase.

The recyclable components of the wind turbine, includes its foundation, tower, and components of the gearbox and generator. But the turbine blades which have been designed to be lighter, longer and more aerodynamic for better performance, are not well designed for durability and recyclability. Some of the blades of the largest new wind turbines are 288 feet long, creating a large-scale waste reduction issue. Unfortunately, blades made from reinforced composite glass or carbon material are difficult to recycle. Unlike other wind turbine components, they do not have good scrap value. Cables also play an important part in recycling plans for offshore wind farms. Site-appropriate solutions is likely to provide cost-competitive energy.

If renewable energy is to be a genuine environmental benefit to us, then we cannot let the waste to pile up. Recycling industry can create employment opportunities and apart from generating green energy, panels can be recycled for a different purpose. At the global level potential material influx can produce 2 billion new panels by 2050. In addition to creating direct economic benefits for businesses and households, following a circular economy development path would reduce negative externalities. For example, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions could be 23% lower in 2030 and 44% lower in 2050 compared with the current development scenario, helping India deliver on its targets announced at the Paris agreement. Other externalities like congestion and pollution would fall significantly, providing health and economic benefits to Indian citizens.

For Indians reusing, re-purposing and recycling has been our second nature traditionally. In a world that is increasingly running out of natural resources, this thinking is an asset that must be leveraged by businesses, policymakers and citizens in an organized manner. Increasing circularity in the Indian economy, by optimizing utilization of materials, energy and innovative ideas ranging from India’s traditional knowledge to latest technologies will be very important to realize India’s sustainability goals over the next decades.

Having access to conventional, more expensive means of energy gives the developed countries an edge over the third world nations. With renewable energy coming into the picture, developing countries are becoming less dependent on the big economies. Choices made today will determine India’s mid- to long-term development, and India could help meet the needs of its growing population while avoiding getting locked into resource-ineffective infrastructure. As Indians, we believe in life after death, as stated by the law of Karma– what goes around comes back to us. Here we are talking of lifecycle of products. If we do not act now, karmas of this generation will haunt our future generation.

Contributed by Sunil Jain, CEO, Hero Future Energies, renewable arm of the Hero group.

 

 

 
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2018-07-03 / Life @ HFE/ HR

Welcome aboard!

Hero Future Energies recently became home to several new faces. We are glad to have them on board and look forward to achieving greater milestones with them. At HFE, our goal is to make the world a better place with renewable energy and we wish them a tremendous professional success as we, together, work towards this goal.

ANKIT KUMAR

MANAGEMENT TRAINEE
INVESTMENT TEAM

Ankit Kumar has joined the Investment team of HFE. On the lookout for a company which met both his interests and needs, Ankit considered HFE to be an ideal answer. This was based on a thorough online research on HFE’s presence in different sectors of renewable energy. Once satisfied, he became a part of the company by excelling in the campus placements.

In his short time here, Ankit has already come to appreciate the easy work environment of HFE. The company employees, he says, are presented with a friendly and cooperative culture. And cooperation is a necessary part of Ankit’s work, since investment team is responsible for checking the financial viability of a project. He, alongside other members of the team, designs models to determine the value of a new project and also evaluates the existing projects.

ASHISH VERMA

MANAGEMENT TRAINEE
DESIGN

Ashish Verma has joined our Design team recently. A renewable energy enthusiast, he was a part of many seminars and expos during his M.Tech. It was during his second year that he visited REI for the first time and came across HFE – and it was love at first sight. A productive interaction with the HFE employees and an attractive concept was all it took to get him interested. So when HFE came for placements to his college later on, it wasn’t really a tough decision to make.

From an informative induction session to an interactive and cooperative environment, everything has affirmed Ashish’s faith in his decision. Even the copper water bottles have not escaped his renewable energy-loving senses. Ashish now pursues his passion as a part of Design department, working on solar grids under Mr. Rajesh Tiwari.

RITWIK MONDAL

MANAGEMENT TRAINEE
WIND BD DEPARTMENT

Ritwik Mondal is the latest addition to our Wind BD Department. The name HFE impressed upon him during his college years – thanks to the positive vibes created around it by his seniors as well as his college faculty. But being a fresher, the fears of a corporate life couldn’t be allayed until personal experience put them to rest. And HFE – with its welcome environment, friendly spirit, and helpful nature – couldn’t have performed the task any better. Relatively new, Ritwik is already an integral member of the HFE family.

His responsibilities towards HFE’s Wind-Business Development department include liaison with government offices, submission of applications, and document handling.

We would also like to give a shout to the rest who have joined the HFE Family,

  • Rajeswar Banerjee, Management Trainee, Solar BD Departement
  • Ankit Modi, Management Trainee, Investment, Strategy and Project Finance
  • Maharshi S. Vyas, Management Trainee, Solar rooftop design
  • Saif Jahangir, Management Trainee, Projects and O&M
  • Ankur Agarwal, Management Trainee, Projects and O&M
  • Utkarsh Gautam, Management Trainee
 

 

 

2018-05-23 / Life @ HFE/ HR

Recipes of 'Happy Work Life' brought to you by HFE

A job at Hero Future Energies isn’t just a job. In many ways, it defines what we stand for and who we are. But life at Hero Future Energies isn’t just all work, we play too!

But does ‘play’ mean at work? Coming up with a definition is difficult because every human being has an intuitive understanding of it. But to broadly put it, a play is a mind-set: it has more to do with motivation and attitude than a specific activity. One can be playful while doing anything, from getting a document printed to make a meeting more interesting. A playful mind-set is one that is relaxed, creative, imaginative and in the flow. Just like this, we have some recipes for achieving success in the workplace that can all be tried and tested in our entertainment zone.

Entertainment zone is the latest addition apart from our annual trips to awesome place. Learn more about them here and here.

So what all does this zone have? Well, quite a few actually.

To begin, this space serves warm food that has been specially made to energize our employees throughout the day. A library, a playroom, and a fitness room – all there to keep our employees fresh and spark their creativity! The purpose of this area is to provide a space for employees where they can unwind and have a little fun, which in turn helps them perform better when working.

Recipe for healthy living: Think positive thoughts. Now that’s a thought that we encourage at work all day, every day. We also advocate that our employees (everyone) eat a well-balanced meal. Get a dose of daily exercise. Additionally, try to have a positive attitude and pair it with good physical habits.

Recipe for intrinsic motivation: Everybody has days when one feels. Some days we are not motivated enough to perform. But the charm lies in being able to overcome it. Interact and engage with colleagues. In this space, people from different departments to keep the day interesting on a daily basis.

Recipe for mental peace: Being healthy is important, but nothing like keeping our mind healthy! One way to do is to be in a state of peace. But it’s not easy. From time to time, at HFE we try out best to practice ideas to bring out the best of us in the office. Such state helps our employees move forward and spread good vibes.

Recipe for synergy at the workplace: A good work environment is a key ingredient to achieving success. At home or at the office, this is essential – co-exist and cultivate relationships. How? Be a good team player and carry some positive vibes, always.

Recipe for time management: This one is a toughie! But crucial. We all have our days, hours and minutes where we try to make the best use of our time but somehow we miss our target. Fret not, because once figured, the thin line between doing a job and doing a job well is quite rewarding. Just a little bit of planning, persistence, and compliance will go a long way in effectively making time for work.

Last but not the least, it’s not a recipe but an equally professional touch that we encourage our employees to do is follow the amazing Japanese concept of Ikigai. Its literal translation is, ‘a reason for being’ and according to Japanese, everyone has an Ikigai.

What does it mean? Primarily, Ikigai is seen as the convergence of four primary elements:

  • What you love (your passion)
  • What the world needs (your mission)
  • What you are good at (your vocation)
  • What you can get paid for (your profession)

One’s Ikigai lies at the centre of those interconnecting circles. If one is lacking in one area, there’s a missing out on one’s life potential.

At HFE, we are coming together with a collective sense of belief and purpose and take action on this – to practice the will to live longer and be in better health. All without a single doctor’s appointment or pill!

Here’s a glance of the entertainment zone at HFE.

 https://www.herofutureenergies.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/healthy-living-1024x768.jpg           https://www.herofutureenergies.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/intrinsic-motivation-1024x768.jpg         https://www.herofutureenergies.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/mental-peace-1024x768.jpg       https://www.herofutureenergies.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/synergy-e1527061878120-768x1024.jpg         https://www.herofutureenergies.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/time-management-1024x768.jpg       https://www.herofutureenergies.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/IMG_4079-e1527061969862-768x1024.jpg      https://www.herofutureenergies.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/IMG_7194-e1527061998490-768x1024.jpg    https://www.herofutureenergies.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/IMG_7194-e1527061998490-768x1024.jpg    https://www.herofutureenergies.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/IMG_8387-1024x768.jpg      https://www.herofutureenergies.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/IMG_9214-e1527062024247-768x1024.jpg       https://www.herofutureenergies.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/IMG_9435-e1527062049872-768x1024.jpg     Link to our previous blog: Planting a new seed of change: HFE commissions India’s First Wind-Solar Hybrid Power Plant   
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2018-04-25 / RETelling

#RETelling Volume 2.0: The Adventure Continues

With a rich culture, ancient heritage buildings and majestic sceneries, India is one of the world’s most enchanting destinations. From bustling towns to historic sites to people from vibrant cultural backgrounds, it was time once again to embark on our next #REtelling journey to discover new stories. This time, we called upon two passionate story-tellers, Samar Singh Virdi and George Koruth, to undertake the unique and exciting #REtelling journey.

We Are But Stories Waiting To Be Told
Discoveries do not only belong in the fields of science but also in the daily observations that we see and feel. When the two are combined we get a great combination that can be best explained through the popular phrase, ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’. With this journey, our end goal was to explore and discover stories in renewable energy sites and tell them as they are – raw and without a filter. Literally! Here are a few stories of what we mean. You may agree or disagree to agree but some of the images captured by our story-tellers speak volumes about the importance of renewable energies in our lives. Have a look!

 

 

To Make Do With What We Have

The world is constantly changing and with that, our planet is facing one of the greatest threats today – climate change! To make a difference, it is important that we utilize the available resources available efficiently and make the most of them. Especially to ensure that our future generations can enjoy a wonderful and habitable life at the one place that is home to us all – the Earth.
One frame at a time, our storytellers were able to capture some special moments as they explored our renewable energy sites and its surrounding vicinity in Karnataka.

Round the clock
Most of the time, barring sunny afternoons, our eyes fix onto the warm colors of the rising or setting sun and we’re transported to an enchanted world. But with that also comes the intriguing process and the basis through which energy converts to power for solar energy.
Another popular source of renewable energy are wind turbines. Immune to time, wind turbines constantly rotate to produce green power.

Stories To Make The World A Better Place
Our storytellers did a wonderful job in capturing moments and most of all the people around the sites. There are a lot of things to be considered when working at a solar or wind energy site that one might conveniently forget. Safety being the most important aspect to be considered, all of the workers need to take the correct precautions and be responsible as they carry out their tasks.

The Best Is Yet To Come
Hopefully, these stories help in paving the way for more people making the switch towards a greener way of living!
But that not where our story-telling journey ends. We are excited to announce that this year, the stories are limited to the ones presented here but also to yours. If you’re reading this and is inspired to share your story on sustainable living.

For more green stories, watch this space: www.hferetelling.com

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2018-03-23 / Life @ HFE/ HR

Green Jobs For A Green India

Increased greenhouse gas emissions, global warming, smog, ozone depletion, a decrease in the green belt across the globe and many other factors have necessitated the world to think of clean energy. With the rise of this awareness, green sector companies have seen growth across the globe. Once thought of as the primary answer to the globe’s renewable energy requirements, nuclear energy is now viewed unfavourably in comparison to solar and wind alternatives. An ideal example is that of Solar Chernobyl building a massive solar farm at the site of Ukraine’s 1986 nuclear disaster to provide renewable energy for those living nearby.

While the green push worldwide is evident, the need for the entire global community to come together to combat climate change remains just as prominent. The recently held Global RE-Invest also highlighted the importance of political commitment in driving the green energy revolution.

All this has led to larger manpower joining the green movement. Solar photovoltaic (PV) and wind industries are on a rising curve of being the largest employer today with India among the top six nations in terms of green energy job generation. As per the European Union, India has demonstrated a strong political engagement in climate change negotiations for the Paris Agreement. The EU is expected to further engage with India on energy security, efficiency, renewable energy sources (including solar and offshore wind, smart grids and off-grid systems), as well as on policies to develop an electricity system which can reliably integrate large shares of renewable energy.

India targets to add 175 GW of renewable energy by 2022 (100 GW from solar power, 60 GW from wind power, 10 GW from biomass power and 5 GW from small hydropower). A big credit of the strong progress it has made till date goes to the ever-expanding green workforce in India. Employment in solar PV increased by 36% in 2017 to reach 1,64,400 jobs. IRENA estimates put the total employment in the wind energy sector at 60,500. The job additions in the whole sector in 2016-17 alone stood at 4,32,000. The figures are a clear indicator of the employment potential of the sector. And given that renewable deployment is only going to increase, the sector will add a large quantity manpower in the near future. The next challenge, therefore, is to ensure that this need is answered qualitatively as well, in the form of skilled professionals.

Government is making efforts to cater to this requirement through Green Skill job council and is also pushing universities and institutes to design programs focusing on renewables. The government can inform about the need for renewables through school textbooks, universities can introduce many more short and long-term courses and the green sector companies can invest in both R&D and international collaboration. Plenty is being done to meet this world’s energy needs sustainably but plenty more can be done. Once this unexplored potential is tapped into, India will boast of a competent green workforce capable of leading us into a sustainable future smoothly and surely.

 

Contributed by Bhawna Kirpal Mital, GM – HR, Hero Future Energies

2017-12-06 / Life @ HFE/ HSE

Health, Safety and Environment Initiatives at HFE

      

Hero Future Energies is one of the leading independent power producers in the renewable energy sector. This corporate entity has a long-standing commitment towards the health and safety of the employees, customers and stakeholders as well as to the protection of the environment in the communities in which it is involved. A responsible attitude towards the three elements is what leads the company in striving towards futuristic and clean energy. On this journey of achieving the safest health, safety and best environment performance, there exists no room for negligence at HFE.

Health

Together, we are creating a healthy future.

At Hero Future Energies, the company extensively covers all the occupational diseases and illnesses such as high noise impact, which may directly affect most employees, the communities in which they operate, and the business. HFE has formally launched the process of noise monitoring at their point of operation and a shadow flicker assessment for difficulties related to vision. In conjunction to that, HFE has increased the awareness levels and offers on ground training sessions to help employees battle illnesses and diseases.

Safety

Safety is in the detail.

The company considers itself responsible for creating, maintaining and promoting an environment that is conducive to optimal health conditions among the employees. It regulates large amounts of resources to combat workplace hazards and adherence to a safe working environment. Special programs have been initiated with the objective of encouraging worker and contractor safety on the ground in all places of operation.

One serious effort from our end is investing in maintenance. As Hero Future Energies’ Vice President, Operations and Projects Maintenance, Atul Raaziada emphasizes, “maintenance is essentially a relative function of time and cost and holds its own importance in the lifecycle of machinery.” Learn about it here.

The team at HFE is committed towards zero accidents and injuries and in order to avert an emergency, a well-defined Emergency Response Plan (ERP) is implemented.

Environment

“Sustainable development is the pathway to the future we want for all.”

By adopting a proactive approach and implementing corporate policies like the ‘Green Code’, Hero Future Energies focusses on achieving a sustainable development of the environment. Through the execution of advanced practices, it strives to create improved conditions in the environment in the locations where it operates.

The primary goal at Hero Future Energies will always be to ensure innovative and optimum solutions to the consumers while simultaneously employing verified approaches towards protecting the health, safety and the environment.

 

Contributed by Satish Chaturvedi, Manager & Head Corporate HSE, Hero Future Energies

You can read our previous blog on ‘Health Safety Environment Initiatives – Emergency Response Plan’ here: http://www.herofutureenergies.com/health-safety-environment-initiatives-emergency-response-plan/

 

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2017-09-28 / Energy Storage Solution

Understanding the Role of Energy Storage in Smart Grid

For a long term transition to a renewable energy adoption, storage will essential to stable voltage as sun and wind-dependent generation flows into or subsides from the grid at unpredictable rates, and much more.

Let’s take a closer look at the role of energy storage in smart grid –

2017-07-26 / Regulatory & Industry Trends

Develop Sustainable Power Infrastructure Through Energy Diversification

      

Why Renewables:

With India’s rising population and climate changes, resource availability is becoming a prime concern to achieve food, energy and water security.

Given that India is a net importer of oil & gas and 65 per cent of India’s total power production capacity is thermal power. In fact, 50 per cent of industrial water used in India is for energy production. Oil & gas is widely used in modern life. Be it fueling the transportation, running factories, producing electricity/ fuel for cooking or as a by-product for fertilizers in agriculture.

By 2050, India is expected to be the world’s most populous country with 1.7 billion people, and the world’s second largest economy with a GDP of $42 trillion (in PPP terms). It is estimated that India would require to increase its annual food production by 30 per cent, to 333 million tonnes. In addition, more than 880 GW of new power generation capacity would be required by 2040.

Thus a paradigm shift is needed to manage our natural resources better. Addressing the food, energy and water nexus is being considered increasingly important without compromising sustainability. 

India has ambitious plans for renewables, unfortunately it constitutes on a smaller chunk of the energy security pie, at present. To achieve 175 GW, Government is pushing for sustainable energy for all. The point is, when there is not enough energy for all, sustainable energy is a long shot. Access to clean power, green power is likely to open up newer avenues for sustainable economic growth.

Indian Economy Deconstructed:

It is apparent that the traditional approach of managing either food, energy or water components independently is not viable. A holistic approach would increase overall resource-use efficiency, and improve productivity.

Indian rural economy accounts for about 70% of employment and 50% of GDP with agriculture being the main driver. The main workforce is dependent on a single crop round the year resulting in their low incomes. This single crop phenomenon causes distress into the system in case it fails.

Adding to their irrigational woes, is vagaries of monsoon. While a good monsoon brings cheers to farmers, it is not the case always. A sustainable solution so that farmer has income for three crops in year will result in doubling income of farmers. Today’s biggest bottleneck of not having three crops / year is lack of adequate electricity, water and other employment opportunities for their extended family. To improve productivity in irrigation, affordable power is crucial. To run pump sets using diesel is an expensive proposition. The recent scheme of loan waivers by state is not contributing to a sustainable solution, it is becoming more of a political upmanship.

Given the unique sectoral challenges, FEW security must be deconstructed to find effective solution. Governance challenges are at the heart of this issue in every region.

Complex Governance Challenges:

The waiver of farmer loans in majority of the states, dramatic protests by Tamil Nadu farmers in Delhi and a warning from the RBI Governor against loan waivers — have once again questioned the outcome farm loan write-offs.

Will farm loan waivers impact rural credit culture? Are these used by politicians as bait to win elections? Will it affect the national balance sheet?

A 2014 World Bank study on the farm loan waiver announced in 2008 by the United Progressive Alliance government found that the scheme had no significant effect on productivity and investment in agriculture, and, in fact, worsened loan allocation in districts with greater exposure to the debt waiver.

Unless farmers are given the right incentives to shift to more sustainable farming options, Indian agriculture will not be able to overcome its current crisis.

The (Source: State Bank of India) report states that the total cost of farm loan waivers to states that have announced them adds up to INR 1.31 lakh crore. Of this, the largest (INR 36,359) is by Uttar Pradesh followed by Maharashtra (INR 30,500). Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Punjab are the remaining three states.

A report by Kotak bank estimates that around INR 1.6 lakh crore of farm loans (0.9% of GDP) could come up for waiver. Consequently, slippages to consolidated fiscal in FY2018 is likely to be around 0.2-0.4% of GDP. The report says that the loan waivers could increase to INR 2.2 lakh crore if other prominent agricultural states Bihar, Haryana and West Bengal also opt for it.

On the other hand, intent of government with UDAY scheme was ‘carrot and stick’ way of cleaning up the books of electricity distribution companies. The power ministry is anchoring this reform, which will not only resolve the debt issues of these companies, but will also improve their efficiency in services and bill collection.

The state power distribution companies have started reporting handsome savings and improvements in operational efficiency after local authorities refinanced utility debt with over INR 1.6 trillion worth of state bonds under the debt restructuring-cum-turnaround scheme, the Ujjwal Discom Assurance Yojana (UDAY), rolled out more than a year back, according to a review by the Union power ministry.

Out of the INR 48,800 crore DISCOM debt, about INR 23,900 crore was repaid till the third quarter of FY17 under UDAY and another INR 9,000 crore was repaid by Tamil Nadu recently, resulting in 65% of DISCOM debt being repaid, the analysts wrote in the report (Source: Edelweiss Securities). Farm loan waivers will amount to 2 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) ($40 billion, or Rs 2,57,000 crore ) by the 2019 polls, as other states are also likely to follow the BJP’s Maharashtra and UP governments, according to a Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BofA-ML) report.

Although according to finance ministry, states have to fund their own farm loan waivers that is scarcely possible. Even after waiver in states, their balance sheet is stretched. States want to support irrigation by offering affordable power. While savings in interest cost from the debt restructuring is evident, consolidating the turnaround will hinge on how utilities make sharp cuts in losses from transmission and theft and close the gap between their cost of supplying power and the revenue realised. The revenue gap of DISCOM will persist, as real cash on the table is not available. With thermal operating at 55% PLF, and more and more renewables being added to the grid, DISCOM need to pay the developers. Unfortunately states have not been paying wind projects for 4 – 6 months and solar projects for 2 months – 1 year.

The disaster of combination of farm loan waivers and UDAY scheme will virtually shut off capital for any other social schemes and sustainable development of human index in states. Often there are huge trade-offs between the short-term wins of individual stakeholders and long-term holistic solutions. At each level, governance affects the choice of policies and outcomes for addressing these formidable challenges.

Are we falling back into the trap where state agriculture waiver will undo the good work of UDAY? Will productivity factor in delay in payments in bidding? Will loan waiver directly or indirectly affect power sector in the country? What is the solution to a sustainable way forward in resolving water, agriculture and power cycle?

As We Move Forward:

Is oil & gas the answer or are there any other sustainable solutions? India has more than 19 million installed water pumps – 7 million are run by diesel generators while the rest are grid-connected. As a result, more than 4 billion litre of diesel and 85 million tons of coal are consumed per annum to support water pumping for irrigation. India’s geographical advantage makes solar-powered water pumps an excellent alternative to diesel powered pumps in particular. Studies estimate India’s potential for solar PV water pumps for irrigation to be 9 million to 70 million pump sets. As many as 62,000 solar water pumps have been installed so far in the country. Hence there is a huge potential of solar pump installation in the country.

If partially subsidized ‘Use and pay’ model is introduced by state government authorities at local level for solar powered water pumps, very soon agriculture loan waiver will be a thing of past.

Any free power, free water is never a solution. The Government may provide Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) to eligible households who use electricity for irrigation purpose. The power subsidy may be directly transferred to eligible households.  As the household alleviates from the set criterion, subsidy can be waived off.

Government should rope in Private players who would work towards offering affordable power to rural population. Affordable power is sustainable only with storage.

Decentralized solar solutions like micro grids can be deployed to address the last mile access challenge in areas with population over a lakh.  Studies convey that an average Indian rural household (monthly net income of INR 4000 – 5000) is willing to spend INR 150 per month on electricity, provided he can avail it. With reducing costs and increasing efficiency of solar technologies, Solar based Mini and Micro grids are being perceived as a durable solution. Since there are no variable costs in these projects, it will go a long way. The economic power of farmers to double and it is likely to offer them diversification of income. Micro grids would not only in help in reduction of health hazards but also help in overall sustainable development of the nation as a whole. At the next level, solar powered water ATMs if installed, will result in providing clean water for villagers, contributing to a significant lifestyle improvement.

The new energy security is in electric vehicles. Done right, there can be synergy between EVs and the grid. EVs are efficient with regenerative braking capturing energy otherwise wasted. The cleaner vehicles can be compensated through reduced registration charges, or we can even aim for mandating EVs for taxis and selected (urban) public transport vehicles. Using conventional sources for charging EV is not desirable and have to be replaced by solar, wind, hydro and hybrid technologies. Innovation is already happening in these areas.

Other considerations are India’s crude oil import bill was USD 80.3 billion this fiscal, we have also imported 28.3 million tonnes of petroleum products worth USD 10 billion in FY16. The transport sector in India consumes about 16.9% (36.5 mtoe: million tonnes of oil equivalent) of total energy (217 mtoe in 2005-06). The resultant of rising population is increased consumption of electricity, as we are at the bottom of per capita consumption. With usage of sustainable sources of energy, the import bills are likely to crash by 20%.

While renewables is the key driver of energy and economics in India, one question still remains unanswered is how will the pressure of land requirement for energy sources vis a vis land requirement for food security be handled by the government.

Contributed by Sunil Jain, CEO, Hero Future Energies

 

 

 

 

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2017-06-30 / Rooftop Solar

A Smart Future – Kochi Metro goes solar in partnership with Hero Future Energies

Being futuristic was definitely on the mind of Kochi Metro Rail Corporation (KMRL). The pride of travelling in an energy efficient ride is not an ordinary one especially when HFE’s state-of-the-art solar engineering is part of a project. We want to thank our amazing Rooftop Solar Team for executing this project with full force through their expertise to create a clean & green future, not only for Kochi Metro but more importantly for India!

Sunil Jain, CEO of Hero Future Energies said, “We are happy to partner in this green initiative by Kochi Metro Rail Corporation (KMRL). This project has been one of our key milestones in rooftop solar vertical and has become a reality because of cooperation from every one.  The 4 MW solar plant is on a RESCO model, where we will be billing KMRL for their electricity consumption across all their earmarked stations. Our contribution to environment is in the tune of 5000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions annually from this project. The stringent safety precautions required at such critical project have been followed thoroughly by our team. Hero Future Energies (HFE) has been actively participating in green initiatives of railways authorities with 4 MW project of Western Railways in the execution stage.”

Elias George, KMRL’s MD states, “The reason why Kochi Metro went solar is that we have as self sufficient energy as possible, eco-friendly as possible and less reliant on carbon consumables. So we started this whole process of inducting solar into the whole system and we went through a process to select a partner and HFE came into process run by us and so far the experience has been very good.”

Here’s an overview of its efficient solarized features –

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2017-06-06 / RETelling

5 photos of Madhya Pradesh that’ll take your breath away!

We have heard this old saying that “grass is always greener on the other side”. Well, no, it isn’t. As obvious as it sounds, it is greener where we water it. While we look for peace and a rare connection with nature in popular travel destinations, Madhya Pradesh is a place that has already found a route to pure serenity, and its beauty lies undiscovered!

Hero Future Energies collaborated with 2 photography enthusiasts, Samar Singh Virdi & Prashanth Vishwanathan who traveled to Dhar and Alote in Madhya Pradesh to witness the great green outdoors that people of Madhya Pradesh are blessed to access.

See it for yourselves!

A start of day with such a view will have you hanging on this moment for days to come.
Why escape the ordinary? Such a view is guaranteed to slow you down and enjoy your life even if it’s just for a few minutes.
Two Towers, with many more in between!
To be one with nature is what it’s all about.
A sunset like this will definitely make you write an ode to nature! 
Adornments of a modern world, necessary for our environment.

Who knew that renewable sources could offer such a connection with nature that it makes it look so good?

You can check out the #REtelling gallery here: http://www.herofutureenergies.com/retelling-green-journey/

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2017-05-02 / Regulatory & Industry Trends

Epitomizing 'Brighter Future' with Solar Energy

Today, solar energy can provide a ray of the sunshine for the world to shift towards a sustainable and clean power source. Imagine the impact of an education institute following a sustainable lifestyle.

Firstly, not only as a user of clean energy but also as a platform where students get direct exposure to learning of its importance. Academics recommend undertaking renewable energy under the academic curriculum. Students get to experience direct impact of being a contributor in the green change but more importantly, they get to support such a necessary change.

Here’s a look at what makes solar energy in India a very viable source of energy, especially in a school setting!

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2017-04-28 / Life @ HFE/ O&M

GST Preparedness by HFE

 

 

The renewable energy sector presents a unique opportunity to meet climate goals while fueling economic growth, and hence, the need for scaling up renewables is now undisputed. But, with the implementation of a unified Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime, the power producers will be plagued by the policy change and regulatory bottlenecks. Within days of the Parliament passing the Constitution Amendment Bill for rolling out GST in India, HFE has started preparing for the impact.

The sector currently enjoys various fiscal incentives that will come to an end in the new GST regime. The indirect tax reform through GST could, therefore, hike renewable energy costs and pricing.

Main taxes to be subsumed for the Renewable Energy Sector

With India gearing up to introduce a comprehensive Indirect tax regime under GST, all existing Indirect taxes, barring a select few, would be subsumed into the new GST, especially for renewables.

  • Excise Duty
  • Service Tax
  • VAT/CST of all states
  • Additional custom duty and special additional custom duty
  • Entry tax
  • Purchase tax
  • Octroi

Taxes on sale of electricity have been proposed to be kept outside GST. In such case, the electricity generated by renewable sources would continue to be outside the GST regime.

Making Electricity Taxable as the Solution

Electricity is, at present, exempt from Excise duty and VAT. Only electricity duty is levied on its consumption by the States. Looking at the present scenario, keeping electricity out of the GST Law will increase the cost of generation and distribution of power, as credit for taxes paid on inputs used in these processes will be disallowed.

Thus, various taxes that are levied on goods and services procurement, on both Operation & Maintenance charges and Capital procurements, get rooted in the cost of the end product. Moreover, the advantage presently available to HFE, which is purchase of goods for the generation and distribution of power from other States at a concessional rate of tax (CST) of 2% shall no longer be available under the GST regime.

If electricity is taxable under GST, full credit would be available for the taxes paid on the inputs, which will significantly reduce the cost of power projects and consequently the cost of power generation and distribution. Thus, the lower costs will also benefit the downstream industries.

The Road Ahead For Power Producers

The Government has always strived to promote the renewable energy sector and accordingly, various exemptions have been provided to the sector. A few of these include:

Renewable Energy

  • Customs duty exemptions/concessions on import of goods
  • Excise duty exemptions/concessional rates procurement of goods to be used in production of renewable energy
  • Exemption/ concessional rate under various State VAT legislations on sale of goods to be used for generation of renewable energy

Solar

  • Exemption from BCD on solar panels, cells and modules. ACD and SAD provided to all items of machinery, transmission equipment, etc. used for setting up of solar power plant.
  • Excise duty exemption provided to all items of machinery, transmission equipment, auxiliary equipment etc. used for setting up of solar power plant.
  • Various states charge concessional rate of VAT @ 5% on renewable energy devices and spare parts/components. Certain states like Rajasthan provides exemption to solar energy equipment and plant and Machinery including parts thereof, used in generation of Electricity from Solar Energy or Wind Power Lower rate of VAT has been provided on inputs for bio-fuel sector in few States.

Wind

  • Concessional rate of BCD of 5% and exemption from ACD and SAD provided on import of various components used by a wind power plant like wind operated power plant
  • Excise duty exemption provided to specified goods/parts used for manufacture on products which may be used in a wind operated power plant

Solar power equipment enjoys zero customs duty, while a 5% duty is levied on importing wind energy equipment. Being on ‘zero’ custom status other duties like countervailing duty or special additional duty are also ‘zero’. And the renewable sector is also exempt from VAT and excise duty. But all this will change with the GST and tariffs will go up by at least 10%.

Preparedness for GST

HFE has made presentations before the government to work out a possible scenario of these impacts and keep renewable sector outside GST, and this matter will be looked into.

If the council considers renewable power as a “deemed export” or merely assign a “zero” GST rate on clean energy, it will allow HFE, including other power producers, to get a refund of all taxes previously paid on the raw materials and services. There is no excise duty on solar panels, but states levy 0-5% concessional VAT on them and there is a 2% central sales tax in case of inter-state supply.

In the longer run, GST would result in reduced costs of operations making the renewable energy sector more competitive. This anticipated simplification and ease of trade is also expected to bring in faster economic growth for the country. All said, the ground level reality is that India’s sustained economic growth continues to drive demand for power, being as one of the significant contributors to the country’s GDP, and with the Government’s focus on “Power for all”, the need to prepare, participate and contribute to its success, is the only way forward.

Contributed by Debnath Mukhopadhyay, Head Finance & Accounts, Hero Future Energies

 

 

2017-03-31 / Regulatory & Industry Trends

Investors' Paradox - Life after bids

      

In February 2017, the Indian renewable energy sector witnessed a tectonic shift.  Historic 750 MW Rewa solar auction in Madhya Pradesh and first ever wind bidding by state-run Solar Energy Corp. of India (SECI) for 1000 MW changed the sector’s landscape completely. Though, the jury is still out whether the bids would attract or dissuade investors in the market.

  • How much aggression is sustainable- Is there light at the end of tunnel or we are in blind alley?
  • Renewable energy sector matures, on its track of being more acceptable to the stakeholders
  • Value discovery across sectoral to begin; inefficiencies to be weeded out

On one side, some market participants consider the bids were too aggressive, even going to the extent of calling it irrationally exuberant. Fears that it might deter investors, as the doubts of profitability or returns or sustainability in the long run, remain unaddressed.

On the other hand, contrary to the aforementioned, these bids have demonstrated renewable energy to be increasingly competitive, supplemented by green benefits additionality. The outcome of the bids have cleared all doubts about grid parity across levels, whether at generation or distribution level as well as commercial or  residential level. Keeping these in mind, concerns about the dispatch-ability or the Discom’s willingness to buy renewable energy should be over.

 I intend to agree with the latter as this augers so well for the sector.

 In spite of the aggressive assumptions of the bids, these bids have without a doubt taken the renewable sector up to a new level of maturity which has been long awaited. This development was needed to bring in some more serious and credible players to lead the sector. Marred by multiple layers of intermediation and price-linked or return- linked costing, sector was witnessing lot of inefficiencies which needed this kind of jolt to come out from it.

 Though the risk of some projects not seeing the light of the day cannot be undermined, overall sector participants are likely to be forced to rethink about the business.  Factor which would become increasingly critical are:

  • Cost efficiencies & value engineering
    • RE is likely to adopt the ‘EPC’ mode or the ‘auto’ mode. Developers would be needed to go deep-down the value chain, assess costing of each component on one hand and the cost of high quality sites on the other hand.
  • Optimization of resources including land
    • Minimizing the land area used per unit of output (Larger size modules etc.)
  • Deployment oflatest technology/engineering
    • Deployment of new age WTGs, more efficient modules, yield enhancement software/hardware – viz. trackers
  • Asset maintenance & extraction of better yields
    • Optimization of Uptime with improved equipment life with predictive & preventive maintenance practices, more use of analytics.
  • Economies of scale
    • Identify big scale projects at a single location
  • Incremental Innovations
    • Bring together contributions from each functional area & weed out inefficiencies to make better business models/structures

 Last but not the least is the fact that we just hope that not many market participants have taken speculative calls on equipment costing, forex, interest rates, as the same could not only result into creation of bad assets but earn a bad name for the sector in the country.

Contributed by Naveen Khandelwal, Head – Investment & Strategy, Hero Future Energies

 

 

 

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2017-02-28 / Regulatory & Industry Trends

Drama Unfolds in Wind

Last Thursday 3 pm onwards, every player of the Indian wind industry geared up for real action which continued till wee hours of Friday. The first ever wind bidding by state-run Solar Energy Corp. of India (SECI) for 1000 MW. In the SECI tender for 1 GW wind power, bidders were allowed to locate projects in the state of their choice and most have opted for Tamil Nadu and Gujarat. We congratulate the winners and are sure that comparatively they possess all right rationale and better knowhow / cost economics sense on desired returns to equity investors. While I believe every tariff is viable when you invest in a project. But the term ‘viability’ in renewables has assumed a new definition recently. It is time to come to a consensus what should be the viable IRR for renewable projects in India?

What is baffling me today is how the nightlong action packed thriller resulting in tariffs as low as INR 3.46 can be considered as ‘investor friendly’ or ‘Discom friendly’ tariff? Or is it that the wind industry which was missing in action for long, suddenly got inspired by the Bollywood blockbuster “DANGAL” and decided to be the protagonists of Indian renewable industry scene and entertain the audience with never seen before kind of performance.

Surprisingly, only a few months back majority of wind developers were fighting to improve the tariff of INR 4.19 with regulators in Gujarat, which was ‘then’ considered quite low, not to mention that 50 paisa GBI was available over and above this tariff. At the above tariffs did the projects actually look unviable then, even when Gujarat DISCOM is ‘A’ rated or will the recently bid wind projects be viable now? The power offtake is guaranteed in both cases. But I am sure people who have won this bid have figured a smarter way out as developers will not put up projects to lose money.

Another interesting twist in this drama is that some turbine manufacturers themselves have also bid for quite low tariffs.  My immediate thoughts are: Has the turbine prices crashed by 15 – 20% in those 24 hours? What is the logical justification of their past project costs based on IRRs viz a vis new pricing to clients based on tariffs. Have they embraced the changing realities?

However, ‘The End’ of this thriller is on a positive note where wind has competed with solar on ‘paisa’ to ‘paisa’ basis and is likely to give thermal a run for money. Let us wait for this blockbuster to perform at the box office.

In my opinion the winners are A- Renewables B- Government C- Environment

 

Contributed by Sunil Jain, CEO, Hero Future Energies, President WIPPA

2017-01-31 / Life @ HFE/ HSE

Health Safety & Environment Prospective in the Financial Inclusion of Business

             

Human intelligence and efforts alone cannot be credited for our accomplishments. For a long term success it is crucial to have clarity of thought. At times failure comes our way and one has to pay a heavy price for it. At Hero Future Energies, we have started planning for the future with Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) aspects in our projects regardless of our past mistakes.

Since the Industrial Revolution, today, we can say that there has been drastic improvements with respect to labour compliance, safety & health concerns, and more importantly about the environment. Factories and industries began to implement HSEMS in their day to day work. With such initiations the concept of sustainable developments began to emerge gradually. To put it simply, sustainable development is a combination of three Ps, namely – Planet, People & Profit. In the sustainable model, the three main aspects that any business should operate while taking care of the need of our future generation are – to be environmentally friendly, socially acceptable, and economically viable.

Hero Future Energies has executed more than 1 million safe hours in the fiscal year 2016-17. It is considered as safe hour, when all constructions & operational working hours which HFE has executed during this period was without any LTI (Loss time injury) reports. LTI is any injury which requires medical treatment with more than 48 hours leave from work. This is applicable to all employees, contractors, their sub-contractors including labourers. It is a grand feat where we have been able to achieve such record number of safe hours. To break it down, for wind projects it was 12,059,11 hours and for solar projects it was 1,345,76 hours.

Company’s stringent implementation of HSE policies coupled with regular awareness session helped immensely in achieving such numbers.  The ‘Mandatory HSE induction’, ‘Job Specific Safety’ training for all and expert monitoring by HSE professionals with dedicated site in-charges across all HFE projects contributed to this success story. The terms and conditions in our works contract makes it obligatory for contractors to implement HSEMS on site. Our contract conditions includes all HSE regulations of the land with IFC Performance Standards as well as ISO 14001/ OHSAS 18001 guidelines on which we work! After the successful implementation of HSEMS and ESMS in coordination with the local government authorities, now we can claim that even profit making institutions contribute towards sustainable development.

Earlier, financial institutions would only fund those organisations who worked on the principle of sustainability. But now, financial decision makers have decided to follow these processes for the finalisation of the projects on the basis of ESMS / HSEMS –

  1. Screening of the project
  2. Review of HSEMS process
  3. GAP analysis with respect to ESMS
  4. Preparation of Environment Social Action Plan
  5. Review of the implementation of ESAP
  6. Audit & periodic inspection of the ESAP
  7. Continual improvement

Satish Chaturvedi is leading HSE department in Hero Future Energies. He is an environment professional who has been in this field for almost 11 years. He has been involved in the implementation process of ESMS and EHSMS across power sector namely hydro, thermal and now renewable energy primarily for solar and wind projects.

2017-01-17 / Life @ HFE/ HR

Green resolutions – The way to progress

      

Resolutions have become an integral part of our lives and especially during the new years’, we are given an opportunity to make amends and move forward. 2016 was an important year for HFE’s growth and it will be going down in history as a remarkable year. But our fight for a greater progress is still on. So, let’s all come together to make 2017 an even better and greener world – for you and me.

The renewable sector which was a nascent sector even two years back, has grown in leaps and bounds. For India, 2016 has been an exceptional year and 2017 looks even more promising for this sector. Our government’s vision of adding 175 GW capacity is no doubt an affirmation of this and the stakeholders are gearing up for it. Capacity installation target is huge so as an IPP we need to ask ourselves ‘Are we prepared to share the Government’s vision of adding this capacity’ as part of our ‘New Year Resolution’?

According to IRENA’s latest annual Renewable Energy job review, it estimates that the global employment in this sector has increased by 5% in 2015 with a total reach of 8.1 million. Specifically in India, it stands at an estimation of 416,000 employment. Human capital has to keep pace with this growing and ever evolving sector and in for that HR has a significant role in enabling this evolution.

HR needs to assume a strategic role w.r.t – ethics, employee engagement, performance parameters and organisational culture. We need to partner with the Management and Business Heads to shape up the organization. We are no longer only the eyes and ears of management but crucial enablers in the overall organisational growth. We need to keep pace with technological advancement, become business savvy, understand economy, environment, be aware of ground realities of the sector. Unless and until HR develops strategic business acumen, it can’t partner in organizational growth. It’s important for HR to be visionary and adapt to growing needs of employees and organisation.

‘You can have the best strategy and the best building in the world, but if you don’t have the hearts and minds of the people who work with you, none of it comes to life.’

We are gearing up for this sector’s growth with unwavering vigor and we are excited to extend these opportunities to those who share the same vision of a better and greener world –

HR blog vacancies

Contributed by Bhawna Kirpal Mital, AGM – HR at Hero Future Energies Pvt. Ltd.

 

 

 

 

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2016-12-30 / Life @ HFE/ HR

The Green Journey - 2016

    

Have you heard of ‘Here comes the sun‘ track from the famous 60s rock band, The Beatles? As its lyrics lusciously links the way our life is measured with the sun. Just like the sun graces the earth with its ever so bright light, making a way for the future – the ‘renewable’ way. India just crossed its 10 GW mark this year with an exceptional increase of 101% over 2015 in 2016. The government of India also upped its cumulative renewable energy (RE) target to 175 GW by 2022. It is not only India’s commitment but the world’s, together, to make the ultimate green change. So, its achievement is every one’s responsibility to make it happen.

Hero Future Energies in the recent years have been actively furthering the renewable cause. It is with great joy, we present to you these few token of appreciation that we have been able to accomplish in the recent few years, and even more so in 2016 for solar energy –

2014

  • Rahul Munjal has been awarded the ‘GLOBAL EXCELLENCE AWARD – 2014’ in Renewable Energy by Energy and Environment Foundation (EEF). He has also been awarded the ‘National awards for excellence’ as Renewable Energy Leader & Entrepreneur of the Year 2015 by World CSR Congress

2015

  • HFE won the ‘National awards for excellence’ in the Renewable Energy category for Conventional Rooftop Installation of the year 2015 & Best Wind Farm of the Year 2015 by World CSR Congress

2016

  • Roadmap for Innovation in Solar Energy (RISE 2016) from Mission Energy Foundation for most innovative rooftop solar project which is supported by Ministry of New Renewable Energy (MNRE), India for National Institute of Solar Energy and Powergrid Corporation by Hero Future Energies
  • HFE won the ‘National awards for excellence’ in the Renewable Energy category for one of the Best EPC player- rooftop solar & Best Wind Farm (for Devgarh) of the Year 2016 by ASAPP media
  • HFE won the Best Wind farm project in 2016 of the year by IWEF for our Dhar project

 

The O&M Landscape

  • Commissioned 100 MW wind farm at Badnawar within the project timelines
  • Conducted technical project feasibility study for HFE’s first Wind-Solar Hybrid Project in 2016
  • Attained cumulative (weighted) average WTG Availability of @97% for 164 WTGs amounting to 316.3 MW
  • Attained cumulative (weighted) average Plant Availability of @99 % 40 MW solar plant
    • Forecasting & Scheduling updates
      • Team @HFE has been conducting generation forecasting and scheduling for all the commissioned RE generation site in compliance with CERC guidelines as well respective state guidelines.
      • Maximum average accuracy achieved for solar sites are 94.62% and for wind it is 91.73% for FY16-17 in terms of energy. In terms of time blocks, the maximum average accuracy stands at 85.33% for wind and 82.30% for solar. These are good figures considering the industrial standards.
      • The company is in process of developing a Centralized Monitoring System for better monitoring of operational assets there by increasing the operational efficiency.

 

Within the Law 

  • The team incorporated an SPV in record time of 2 hours!
  • HFE being on its growth trajectory, in the year 2015-16 itself 10 SPVs were incorporated, now the final count of SPVs stands at 28!!
  • HFE has geared up to conduct business in international markets

 

 Economics of investments and financial growth at HFE

  • HFE & its wind holding entity has successfully raised second round of funding through certified climate bonds during 2016 for expansion of its wind and solar portfolio.
  • Early February we had raised India’s first certified climate bond for expansion of the company’s wind portfolio.
  • Secured funding of INR 300 crore during each transaction through issuance of rated and secured non-convertible debentures.
  • The Climate Bonds Initiative, which is an international, investor-focused not-for-profit organisation, issues this certification under robust framework for monitoring, reporting and assurance of conformance with the relevant Climate Bonds Initiative standards. The certificate for conformance with Climate Bonds standard has been issued following an independent third party assurance.

 

Accounting made easy

The In-house SAP project, AARUSH which means “first rays of sun” went live. SAP HANA S4 live is the latest version available. We have also implemented AP Fiori (mobile apps) and simple finance (reporting tool). Through this system our system controls has become one of its kind.

 

Renewable industry in the making 

  • Filed petition in Rajasthan Electricity Regulatory Commission (RERC) for load curtailment issues in Gunga and Dangri and brought it down considerably.
  • Filed petition before Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission to resolve the Open Access issue for HFE’s upcoming Solar power project in Punjab, which has been acknowledged.
  • Streamlined payments for our Ratlam & Rajasthan wind projects.
  • Team has been submitting comments/suggestions before MNRE, CERC, SERCs etc. on various draft policy notifications.

 

The shine of Rooftop Solar Gold

The year 2016 offered diverse opportunities to showcase our capabilities in delivering best in class project engineering to install rooftop solar projects this year.  Ranging from educational institutes (Benaras Hindu University – 200 KW, 4 Technical colleges under DU – 1 MW), public facilities (Kochi Metro Rail Limited – 4000 kW, Jaipur Metro Rail Corporation – 986 kW, JNPT, Mumbai – 411 KW), religious institutions (Dera Sacha Sauda- 300 KW) and others apart from our regular industrial & commercial projects. HFE’s in-house team has designed, installed, commissioned the systems, and will be maintaining them for 25 years.

The marquee projects won & commissioned in 2016 goes like this:

Benaras Hindu University – 200 kW

  • Kochi Metro Rail Limited – 4 MW
  • Jaipur Metro Rail Corporation – 986 kW
  • JNPT, Mumbai – 411 KW
  • Dera Sacha Sauda- 300 KW
  • National Textiles Corporation – 780 kW
  • Hero Moto Corp Halol – 1903 kW
  • 2440 kW project under CREST, Chandigarh
  • Subsidy allocation of 15.3 MW under SECI tender of 500 MW
  • Subsidy allocation of 2.5 MW under IPGCL tender of 5 MW

 

We believe and hope that we are heading into a brighter future! Let’s make 2017 a greater and greener world for all of us.

 

 

 

 

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2016-11-29 / RETelling

#REtelling: The Green Journey

#REtelling was a green journey undertaken by two chosen storytellers to capture the beauty of renewable sites in Madhya Pradesh. Prashanth Vishwanathan and Samar Singh Virdi took on the enterprise with much excitement to travel across the countryside to visit Hero Future Energies’ solar and wind energy site at Alote and Dhar in Madhya Pradesh, respectively.

Telling a story is personal and our penchant to add our very own perspective, more than anything, is an effort to make things fresh and different. #REtelling is an effort to bring an important subject to the light at this day and age i.e. to understand the consequences of a very serious change – climate change and its various effects. So the #REtelling story-tellers went on an expedition to discover what it meant to embrace nature by exploring the power of renewable sources in our life.

Here are some of the beautiful stories narrated with beautiful moments they seized through their lenses:

Chapter 1 – The Introduction

Prashanth and Samar were enthralled by the size of the renewable sites and quickly they were absorbed to learn. They interacted with the specialists around the sites to find out how a solar panel functioned or why a wind turbine needed to be constantly monitored! And more importantly, to learn how a solar panel or windmill was built and how it harnesses the power of the sun and air, respectively, to generate electricity.

 

As the sun sets for the day then arises the beauty of the solar site at Alote, Madhya Pradesh

Area: 200 acres and solar panels spread across in 153 acres

Number of Panels: 1,11,784

Titbit: 1400 solar panels were cleaned daily!

Wind site at Dhar, Madhya Pradesh

Area: 50 Kms

 

Number of wind turbines: 53

 

Titbit: One wind turbine was about 120 meter tall which is as many as 55 Great Khalis standing on top of each other!

Chapter 2 – The Stories

India has many hidden beauties. Madhya Pradesh is one such state that will leave you gasping with great people and alluring sceneries. But as the saying goes, ‘beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder’, we were extremely fortunate to have these talented storytellers who did exactly that to capture amazing life around the renewable sites.

 

2016-11-23 / Life @ HFE/ HR

Life at HFE: A family in the making

   

Hero Future Energies’ goal of a greener future is everyone’s wish. But in order to achieve it, each one of us have to put in our bit of contribution and adopt sustainable lifestyle. And it starts at HFE, and our principle to drive India’s development by leading a change in generating energy using renewable resources.

Team HFE had a retreat recently to Goa, the land of wonderful beaches, with a purpose to have our commitment of a better tomorrow rejuvenated. The trip was filled with amazing moments where we had the opportunity to catch up and know one another better. But more importantly, we engaged in productive activities and team building games! We got to witness nature’s beauty first-hand with our colleagues who shared HFE’s vision.

Here are some of the highlights of the vacation:

hfe-31-1

Pass-the-water: An old school fun game from the childhood days. It still remains relevant in making us realize that we need to work together in achieving a holistic goal!

1

The Team Olympics Challenge: We have seen it before, volleyball on a beach right? But this time we got to do it. Each one of us got our high energy competitive-mode on to do some sports. It was a lot of fun with a lot of smashing moments!

2

The Drum Circle Challenge: Mr. Rahul Munjal, HFE’s CMD and Mr. Sunil Jain, HFE’s CEO had a great time at the ‘Drum Circle challenge’. A team building activity in which participants play various musical instruments for a join effort in music creation. We SYNCED quite harmoniously!

3

All reservations were let loose when it came to dancing! Team HFE had a blast grooving to the beat. Go Team HFE!

5

The Beach Challenge: The HFE team engaged in a series of fun activities. They were all up for the challenges. Here is one of their brilliantly building-castles-in-the-sand monument they made as a team!

6

When at a beach it’s not the end unless we experience the run-off into the sunset because it’s only the beginning and we are here together, hands held to take the leap of better change.

7

Nothing beats the beach view with everyone in it. Goa is a perfect holiday destination but we wanted something more out of it. Team HFE can heartily agree that we went back home with not only great moments but also with our spirits lifted high to change the world by working together as one!

 

2016-10-28 / Life @ HFE/ HSE

Health Safety Environment Initiatives - Emergency Response Plan

Calamities seldom come with a warning and often cause irreparable damage to human life and property. It is therefore important to have a crisis management plan in place so that the damage can be minimized when disaster strikes.

At HFE, we are deeply concerned about the safety and security of each of one of our fellow workers and have a well-defined Emergency Response Plan (ERP) to overcome any emergency. There are three root causes; natural calamities such as earthquake, floods, storm etc; accidents such as fire, building collapse, electrocution, power failure, machine failure or other engineering failures in the system; and finally, any manmade disaster which can’t be ignored in view of the current global scenario vis-a-vis bomb threats and terrorist attacks. At times, our natural surroundings could also create emergency situations, like snake or scorpion bite.

ERP aims to: 

  • Safeguard employees in case of an outbreak of fire / any other incident requiring an evacuation from the building
  • Respond to any emergency immediately
  • Save lives
  • Minimize damages and loss of property
  • Meet social and legal responsibilities

We have developed the following procedural framework onsite as well as at our offices to deal with emergencies:

  • Emergency Response Team (ERT): Each of our offices as well as sites have an ERT with team members trained to deal with emergencies including fire-fighting and awareness training on earthquakes. Their name along with contact details are displayed on notice boards across all locations.
  • Resource availability: We have the following resources to deal with emergencies:
    • Firefighting installations
    • Security Arrangements
    • Emergency alarm system
    • Safe assembly point
    • First aid boxes
  • Mock drills: We conduct mock drills at regular intervals to check our emergency preparedness. This includes mock drills in firefighting, road accidents and snake/scorpion bites.

In any emergency situation, the initial response is critical. Prompt warning to employees to evacuate, shelter or lockdown can save lives. Action by employees with knowledge of building and process systems can help control a leak and minimize damage to the facility and the environment. While the systems are in place, it is important that we act responsibly in times of a calamity and handle the situation with composure.

Keep calm and contact Satish. Chaturvedi@herofutureenergies.com. He heads Heath, Safety & Environment (HSE) department at HFE.

 

 

2016-10-05 / Life @ HFE/ O&M

Re-Viewing Solar Cells

Solar basics
With each passing day, solar energy is flexing its muscle in the energy mix and empowering the world. This natural source of energy is lauded as an inexhaustible fuel source. A report from International Energy Agency (IEA) echoes that by the mid of this century, solar will be the largest source of energy globally. Wondering what is transpiring the success of this clean source? It’s the technology – the solar panel components or Photovoltaic (PV) cells, which convert radiance into electricity. Today, PV cells are recognized as a promising renewable energy development source and have gradually evolved from their use in small applications to large power generation source.

Deeper look into solar cells

Whenever we think of electricity generation, the most common visual that comes to our minds is that of large rotating parts. However, since past few decades, battery fundamentals have captured a pivotal position on this subject.

I am specifically indicating at solar cells. Earlier batteries were used for the purpose of energy storage. Silently these solar cells are replacing those fundamentals in terms of generation. PV solar cells are thin silicon slices which are utilized to convert sunlight into electricity. Solar cells combined into a group of arrays are called solar panels, which are utilized to set-up large solar plants for potential electricity generation.

Batteries are generally utilized as a secluded electricity source, which after consuming their entire charge become empty or powerless. To regain further supply of power (charge) it requires recharging through any charged carrying source.

Now think about a scenario, where a battery gets constantly and continuously charged through some kind of limitless natural source, then it is likely to become an endless electric supply source for mankind. The secret lies in the innovation of solar cells. During the decade of 1950, Bell Laboratories constructed the first solar cell which converted sunlight into electricity. Since then a lot of modifications and improvements in quality and efficiency have been done. Although the process of solar cell construction remains same.

Thanks to Scottish Scientist James Clerk who first in 1874, realized that Selenium was sensitive and had good conductivity in sunlight. This finding led him to investigate the reason behind this conductivity, whether it was heat or light. He placed the Selenium bar in a capillary glass tube filled with water, in a manner that heat gets absorbed by the water. He detected equal effects on conductivity when the Selenium bar was kept under the sun. He had conducted the initial tests which helped in comprehending the dynamics of electricity generation through sunlight. This was later ably corroborated by Albert Einstein in his study of ‘photovoltaic effects’. Einstein in his discovery of Photon clarifies that light comes with packets of energy i.e. bundles of electrons carrying huge amounts of energy, which can be absorbed and retained by metals like Selenium. As a result, charged Selenium rod if surrounded and infused with wires, produces electricity. This experiment became popular as a phenomenon of the Photovoltaic Effect. Post which, serious exercise started to capture sunlight as a useful natural source of electricity.

Next progress was made when few years’ later scientists at Bell Laboratories accidentally searched conductivity in silicon after infusing it with some impurities in the form of electrons, which was either in excess or deficient quantity. That phenomenon of the introduction of impurities transformed silicon from a poor to the preeminent conductor of electricity.

As part of the research, a piece of silicon rod containing a small concentration of gallium made silicons positively charged. When this rod was dipped into a hot lithium bath, the portion of silicon immersed became negatively charged. A permanent electrical field was developed, called p-n junction, where positive and negative silicones met. This p-n junction formed the heart of the transistor and solar cell, where all electronic activity occurs. This transformed the designing of Integrated Circuits (ICs). The solar cells work exactly in reverse order of p-n junction diode, when exposed to sunlight, it acts like a battery. But that was completely a different inner world, where the power fed externally and circuitry controls internally, was derived as per the design. Post successful progress, a different world was exposed in a reverse manner, with the thought that power produced from inside controls the external circuitry. Thus solar cells came into existence. Solar cells work exactly in a reverse manner of p-n junction diode when exposed to the sunlight. This acts like a battery.

For a continuous and reliable source of an electricity generator, this battery needs to carry firm amounts of power in fixed or linear variation in the open variable atmosphere. Secondly, it must be constantly charged for endless production. For this successful conversion of sunlight into electricity, the three basic requirements have been defined as: 1. Constant absorption of high energy Photons; 2. The process of separation of Electron/ Hole pairs; 3. Raise the Electrons to energy level for conduction.

What lies beneath the inscrutable glass surface?
The PV cell directly converts the energy in sunlight into electrical energy through the photovoltaic effect. The functioning of the technology and its parts are graphically described below:

image-1 image-2

  • The glass is tempered and has a transparent layer, which protects the electronics and PV cell from environmental damage and facilitates passage of sunlight. The generation efficiency is highly influenced by the quality of glass, as it can prevent transmittance (reflection & refraction) and surface ionization.
  • The EVA is a transparent silicon rubber lining on both sides of PV cell, providing cushion and bonding to them with glass and a back sheet. The basic aim is to prevent the cell from direct atmospheric contact, by acting as a lamination on cells.
  • PV cell is the core electronic instrument where photovoltaic phenomenon occurs.
  • Front bus and back ribbons are the metal contacts which collect the charges in conduction region from n & p sides of the cells.
  • Back sheet finds similar utility as the glass. This peculiarity protects it from moist weather and allows a better dissipation of heat from the panel.

The process to extract more from each new iteration of the solar panels to improve efficiency is continuing. But are technological innovations, only solution to reduce solar costs and make it available at granular levels? Or will it take something more for a macro level of implementation?

Maintaining Efficiency: For the constructed plants the only way to maintain efficiency is the ‘CLEANING’. The continuous and qualitative cleaning is the most efficient way to generate more and designed power from solar farms. Generally, it was seen that carelessness in cutting vegetation or inefficient cleaning led to generation loss. As per my experience, recently I have observed that due to manual cleaning the Anti-reflective coating got damaged and affects its efficiency by 2-3%. Now we are seriously thinking about cleaning the panels through microfibers so that the anti-reflective coating can be protected for a lifetime. This problem is serious as the ARC cannot be done again in-situ. So lost generation cannot be regained for the future.

Design Efficiency: The present solar market is highly under pressure to develop low-cost solar panels with high efficiency. Some more efficient technologies are required to produce high-end solar cells. Another concern is ‘solar system with tracker’. The presently available technologies of trackers are massive and is inclusive of high cost of steel. Also, it was noticed that present tracker technologies are unable to handle the undulation largely if the panels are placed in a group. So light weight trackers with the ability to handle high undulated area is need of the industry.

Land Challenges: Other big challenge for solar projects is land. The significant cost of any solar project is land, the availability of large stretch is also a challenge for big MW size projects. Some kind of reflection technologies needs to come up, so that land requirement for construction of solar farms gets drastically reduced.

Although solar presently is facing constraints, largely because it’s in on expansion phase, but it is also evident that solar is the way forward to meet the electricity needs worldwide. With proper storage solution, the day is not far when solar will be considered the most prudent and dependable technology for fulfilling energy needs. A long way to go…

atul-raaizada

Contributed by Atul Raaizada, Vice President, Operation & Maintenance, Hero Future Energies

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2016-09-12 / Rooftop Solar

Fundamentals of Rooftop Solar

Solar energy supports all life on Earth. It is what makes plants grow, what drives the winds and basically what warms us. It is therefore a natural, renewable, and a perpetual source of energy to power our homes.

But what would you have to do, to power your house with solar energy? Although it’s not as simple as the process of sun rays hitting the surface of the solar panels and generating electricity.

Solar energy is the most popular one and Hero Future Energies is thrilled to present an important know-how on understanding the fundamentals of how a rooftop solar works.

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2016-09-06 / Rooftop Solar

Rooftop Solar Project Systematization

With very few people using renewable energy, the challenge begins with less exposure to clean energy technology.

Hero Future Energies would like to take you through with a breakdown of its state-of-the-art rooftop solar engineering to help you understand the impact you can make rooftop solar.

 

 

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2016-08-22 / Regulatory & Industry Trends

Reinvigorating Discoms to Build Efficiencies

Surplus hydel capacity

Favorable monsoons have had a positive impact on the power sector; augmenting the hydel power generation capacity by almost 25000 MW. This influx of cheap hydro-power has resulted in a decline of INR 2 per unit of power on power exchanges. It can also be attributed to the fact that cheap power from alternative sources is directly procured from the exchange by the distribution company (discom) in order to improve supply and thus demand is more or less met. Thanks to this, the peak demand deficit has come down to 1000 MW, from 5000 -10000 MW range. Leveraging on this opportunity, discoms are increasingly replacing expensive power with cheaper alternatives.
Predictably, the summer season had witnessed a surge in the demand for power. Delhi offers a classic example in this context. During summer, the peak power demand for Delhi rose to 6,188 MW, breaking all the previous records. However, industry veterans suggest that the power infrastructure is fractured and not prepared to meet the rising demand. It is argued that discoms need to aggressively build their capacities to meet the peak demand conditions.

Solar tariffs & discoms

For instance, the lowest solar power tariff of INR 4.34 per kWh, has made it possible for the sector to come at par with thermal rates. This phenomenon is finding a favor with discom, who were earlier reluctant to purchase renewable power due to its higher prices. The declining solar equipment costs also corroborates to the decline in tariffs. It is understood that demand is a function of the discom’s ability to buy power. A study by Central Electric Authority suggests that the country is likely to have excess electricity of 3.1% during peak hours and 1.1% during non-peak hours. Despite that, it does not translate into consistent electricity supply across the nation. One of the primary reasons for this inconsistency is that discoms from supply-deficit regions are unwilling to buy power in order to cut down on their losses. It is important to improve the financial and operating efficiencies of discoms that operate with an accumulated debt of INR 4.37 lakh crore.

Improving discoms through UDAY

One such initiative is the Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana (UDAY) that aims to create a paradigm shift in the pattern of distribution of power in India. UDAY bonds have been floated to provide funds and revive debt stricken discoms. This has attracted the insurance sector’s attention due to its low credit risk, attractive spreads and guarantee from the state government. UDAY bonds worth INR 1 lakh crore were issued last year. Bonds worth another INR 1.5-1.75 lakh crore are expected to be introduced in the current financial year.

Installations of smart meters, as an integral part, are critical for the success of the success of this scheme. A typical smart meter allows utilities to monitor load and consumption patterns and makes the consumers understand the impact of their electricity usage. A rollout of 35 million smart meters are being targeted by the end of 2019. Among other things, the deployment of smart meters include the overarching infrastructure and technology, as its most critical components.

GST impact

Now that the GST has been proposed, its implementation could hike the renewable costs and tariffs. The cost of manufacturing equipment are expected to rise and various fiscal incentives like tax holidays and concessional excise and customs would be removed. The impact on tariffs is significant of the order of Rs 0.5-0.6/unit. The Ministry of Renewable Energy in consultation with Finance ministry, has to introduce measures to mitigate this impact.

The government seems to be focused on making concentrated efforts to provide electricity to each and every citizen of the nation, but there are a host of challenges like pricing the power right for every citizen and making the last mile connectivity effective that it will have to deal with to make this a sustainable solution. Will the revival of discoms play an instrumental role in addressing these challenges is something that we need to ask ourselves?

Contributed by Sunil Jain, CEO & ED, Hero Future Energies

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2016-07-29 / Regulatory & Industry Trends

New initiative for the wind industry to heighten competition

      

India’s power sector is one of the most diversified and it is currently undergoing significant change. Occupying the fourth position in wind power installed capacity globally, India has envisaged a target of 175 GW of power generation through renewables by 2022. Of this, 60 GW is dedicated to wind power. In order to expedite the process, the government has announced a scheme of setting up 1000 MW of Central Transmission Utility (CTU) connected wind power projects through the bidding route.The framework allows non-windy states to fulfill their non-solar RPO obligations. Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) would serve as the nodal agency, responsible for organizing, implementation and monitoring the performance of the directives.

At Hero Future Energies, we welcome this step by the government and look forward to work in sync with the proposed guidelines. In the meanwhile, the Ministry is also inviting discussions on the draft guidelines for implementation of the scheme.

Selection of bidder narrowly defined

Among other things, one of the clause on selection, which suggests that under any circumstances, the bidder will not be allowed to quote more than the feed-in tariff for the wind power declared by the respective SERC of the state in which the bidder proposes to install the project. We believe that this clause could be eliminated as the procurer has the last right to accept or reject the prices in a tender. Moreover, in certain states like Madhya Pradesh wind power producers have legally challenged feed-in tariffs, while in others the feed-in tariffs are too low to draw interest from investors. The central bidding programs in case of wind should also be done against CERC declared tariffs, as followed in solar.

Bidding criterion should not only be restricted to tariffs, but evacuation infrastructure, land availability at specific geographies. Some state regulators have been keeping the wind tariff artificially low, those are likely to lag behind under the current draft guidelines.

Drawing parallels with solar bidding process, we felt that there is no need to reinvent the wheel, similar guidelines can be followed in wind.  The benchmark on turnover should be done away with, as SECI solar tenders does not consider this as a criterion, hence it is discriminatory to implement it for wind generators. Many new entrants, with international wind/solar portfolio do not have a three years operation period to bring forth turnover statistics. In my views, turnover of a company is not a true indicator of its financial strength. In place of turnover, considering the net worth is much more appropriate and the same can be considered as an indicator of financial strength. Similar indicator is also used in the solar bids in India and in the solar tenders conducted by NTPC.

Technical & operational knowhow of trader is critical

For the sale of power generated, trading company (TC) which is selected on the basis of expression of interest or bids, will sign a power purchase agreement (PPA) with the bidder. It is proposed under the directives that the TC will be entitled to charge a trading margin as mutually agreed between the parties or as decided by the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC). The selection of the trader ought to be on predefined financial and technical criterion that takes care of payment risk and operational strength to handle multiple generators and manage open access.

Leeway in open access required

In case, a wind project developer is required to use the transmission system of State Transmission Utility (STU) to bring wind power at CTU point, he may do so as per regulations prescribed by the respective State Electricity Regulatory Commission in this regard. SECI should specify the open access charges in each state where the CTU has identified substations for evacuating wind power. Any change in open access charges, should be allowed as pass through under the PPA. This is because open access charges vary from state to state. An annexure illustrating the same in the RFS document will help the generators to exactly calculate the open access charges.

Deviation settlement mechanism

Further, the clause specifies that wind power developers (WPDs) are responsible for scheduling and deviation settlement mechanism (DSM) charges as per CERC/SERC regulations as applicable and all liabilities related to LTA and connectivity. We feel that in case the wind power plant is connected to STU and wheeling power to CTU sub station, the deviation settlement charges should be calculated based on methodology specified by the respective state commission. In the absence of such methodology or in case no inputs are provided in this direction, the methodology specified by CERC shall be considered for both intra state and interstate sale. Forecasting and scheduling is followed by deviation settlement. Many state commissions are yet to notify regulations and even existing regulations lack clarity in deviation settlement for simultaneous inter and intra state sale. There needs to be more clarity on this clause.

Financial closure and commissioning of projects

The existing guidelines also require the project developer to report the financial closure of the project within six months from the date of signing the PPA. Submission of the transmission / connectivity agreement with the STU/ CTU before commissioning of the project would be a judicious choice by the developer. Also, the commissioning of the projects within 15 months from the date of execution of PPA, rather than letter of award is a prudent alternative.

The Ministry needs to carefully evaluate all the recommendations to expedite the proposed scheme and come with solutions that will helps us leapfrog towards the concerted goal of achieving the asserted targets.

Contributed by Sunil Jain, CEO  & ED, Hero Future Energies

 

 

 

2016-06-08 / Regulatory & Industry Trends

E-commerce and solar reflect parallel growth stories

The e-commerce trajectory

Until few years ago, the online marketplace was an unchartered territory for Indian consumers. When the journey began, the e-commerce sector was restrained by low internet penetration levels, lack of awareness and lack of development and confidence in the payment systems.

Today, that no longer holds true. Increasing internet and mobile penetration, growing acceptability of online payments and favorable demographics have provided the e-commerce sector in India a unique opportunity to fundamentally alter the way companies connect with their customers. Fuelled by the smartphone boom and expanding data connectivity, India is among the top Internet markets globally in terms of users. A study by Google points out that out of 350 million internet users in India, 152 million access internet through their handheld devices. India will be home to 500 million internet users by 2017, with 80% being mobile users. The battle for India’s e-commerce market therefore, goes way beyond retailing.

Solar on the same path

Let us now look at the growth of the solar market in India. Industry experts are drawing parallels between the rise of e-commerce and solar market in India, across the business lifecycle. In a way, they reflect similar attributes. When e-commerce entered the arena about 15 years ago, the sector was perceived as a bubble that would soon burst and investors were hesitant to invest in it. Consumer, too, feared buying from online retailers. In 2010, funds started pouring and that is when the industry gained momentum and over a period of time started scaling up. The growth was supported by consistent investments as well as reforms. Today, the sector is attracting more attention from indigenous participants. The battle is fierce with firms competing for higher gross merchandise value (GMV). With the government allowing 100% FDI in the marketplace model, international giants like Amazon have had the confidence to invest in India and we now see a definite and a capable ecosystem falling into place.

Similarly, the solar sector has practically taken of from scratch about a decade ago and is today driven by the decline in the cost of technology and a wider acceptance to tap the free resource before the fossil fuels are exhausted. From 2007 to 2009, the industry failed to attract significant investments. From 2010, there was a change and capital started to flow in. According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance study, in 2015 investments in solar reached $5.6 billion — the highest ever – primarily driven by large scale projects. The falling solar tariff, (lowest being 4.34 per unit) is a resultant effect of drop in capital costs. The price of solar modules have gone down by 15 – 20 % in the last year.  The increased spends by private players globally in R&D at the cell and panel level, is partly the reason of driving the tariff below INR 5. India too witnessed a growth of 9% and 7% in corporate and government R&D investments respectively from 2014 to 2015.

As the industry matures, we expect technology to drive the market, ensuring project profitability and to thrive and prosper in a favorable milieu. The initial target of 22 GW of installed solar power capacity is now revised to 100 GW by 2022 and we can envisage solar to drive the energy security issue at granular levels. This is probably the best time for the industry to focus on developing and nurturing this sector by creating a favorable environment for all the stakeholders.

The way we see it now, the solar market is treading the same path as the ecommerce sector when it took off. It is highly likely that, similar to the online model, solar will transpire to be an indispensable part of the daily life of the masses. Will it be able to sustain and scale new heights? Time will tell.

Contributed by Sunil Jain, CEO & ED, Hero Future Energies

 

 

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2016-05-16 / Regulatory & Industry Trends

Investment in a sustainable lifestyle is the best investment for our future

Sustainability is at the core of modern living. A rising number of people are making a conscious effort to work towards a lifestyle that promotes a sustainable living architecture through various applications across all aspects – energy, housing, transportation, work etc. In the coming years, this approach is likely to strengthen with more green principles being applied to day-to-day living.

A few big cities have already set the ball rolling with the use of natural materials in the construction of buildings. High-rises contribute to about 30-40% of energy consumption in many Indian cities and about a fifth of the country’s annual greenhouse gas emissions.

Homes, like humans, need three basic elements of nature — wind, water and sun — to thrive. It is the method of harnessing them that separates a sustainable structure from an energy guzzling monster. Energy, water and waste management solutions are now a must in the new constructions.

Solar radiation is a critical and eminent green source of generating energy and it has gained considerable traction due to its aggressive promotion by the government. Among all clean technologies, focus on generating energy from solar is an important step to diversify the supply base to reach every household even in the remotest location and in the process reducing the dependency on coal-based units. India gets twice as much sunshine as many European countries making the use of solar power possible, but clean energy forms less than 1% to India’s energy mix. Declining costs of technology, storage devices and proactive encouragement from the government in the form of suitable policies are encouraging the growth of solar enegy usage. The micro-grid system, for instance, connects directly to smaller units of households, hamlets or villages and thus eliminates the need for a megawatt scale grid connectivity. The micro grid system involves almost no recurring cost after installation. The maintenance costs of rooftop solar systems are almost negligible when compared to conventional sources of energy. However, a harder push is needed from the government to achieve the target of 40 GW of rooftop installations by 2022.

Water — another natural resource – is paramount to survival. Right from from healthcare to socio-economic development, there is no substitute to water. India’s ground water supply water is rapidly dwindling; mismanagement of water resources, over-pumping and pollution are significant contributors. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), India’s per capita water storage capacity is 200 cubic metres, well below the world average of 900 cubic metres per capita. The irony is that India receives highest rainfall among comparable countries, yet continues to face drought conditions at an alarming rate. According to Ministry of Water Resources, 65% rainwater drains into the sea. We need to harnessing this through rainwater harvesting — a concept that is steadily gaining popularity in cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Jaipur. Bangalore has modified its building by-laws to make rainwater harvesting compulsory for buildings beyond a certain plinth area and on certain large plot.

Electric vehicles or hybrids are another medium that can contribute to energy conservation while also reducing pollution. Still at a nascent stage, the government is actively promoting their development and the manufacturing ecosystem. Switching to green vehicles will reduce the carbon footprint significantly, by cutting down dependence on oil and fossil fuels.

Sustainable living will only be successful when it is adopted right up to the grassroots level. It calls for a collaborative approach from all stakeholders – the government, administration, corporations, civil society and individuals. It’s time we realize that development is not all about consumption and investments but taking responsibility of our natural resources as well.

Taking sustainable living responsibly, we at Hero Future Energies did our bit to contribute towards clean energy. For World Environment Day, we did a plantation drive across 10 of our wind & solar sites. 2000 saplings were planted in total!

Addition to this, we leveraged our social media platforms by asking people to share a reason for why Hero Future Energies should plant a sapling on their behalf & in their name. All entries for this activity received an image that had a placard next to the sapling planted in their name.

We call it a little effort done on the sustainable grounds, while our dedicated contribution towards clean energy continues.

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2016-05-05 / Life @ HFE/ HR

HFE Insiders: The Journey till now!

     

Hero Future Energies had a formidable start in 2012 with the sole focus of constructing a road to a clean and green India. The primary objective of HFE is to generate clean energy and regulate the global carbon footprint by installing the best- in- class renewable energy systems.

Just like how water is important for a tree to grow, similarly every department in an organisation has an equally important role in delivering work and supporting the standards that have been established. Without each departments’ hard work, none of the success and infrastructural expansion would have been possible.

With this, we have 5 of our teams sharing their experience on how their quest to deliver the best quality work on a platform provided by Hero Future Energies has supported them to construct the bridge to a greener environment with a sustainable future.

“As one of the initial key members who joined HFE, I had the benefit to setup the business and the process right from scratch and build it up brick by brick ensuring that the culture, values adopted and practices were of best in class. For me, professionally, it has been a very satisfying experience till now. What I particularly like about the organisation is the freedom given and trust to carry out one’s responsibilities and tasks independently that truly gives me a great sense of ownership in all that I do.“

Rajesh Puri, Sr. VP-Finance

“HFE is an outstanding renewable energy company. What I like most about the company is that from the very beginning, they have heavily valued ideas, suggestions, creativity and innovation. With the exponential growth trajectory that we’re on, there is an endless amount of opportunity within the company to take on new roles and responsibilities. The people are excellent and the culture is respectful and accepting. We have a great work-life balance. Today, in a fast-moving and exciting space we’re in the catbird seat. It just doesn’t get more fun and exciting than that.”

Jyoti Agarwal, AGM- Projects & BD, Wind

“Working at HFE has been an intraprenuerial experience, from taking tasks, owning them and seeing their implementation. What I appreciate most is the flat structure, which speeds up the implementation process. Open door and friendly culture allows us to connect better with the organisation. And our enthusiastic management and team members bring the required energy and passion.“

Bhawna Kirpal Mital, Head- HR

“It is an honor to call myself as one of the first employees at Hero Future Energies which has been a wonderful learning experience till now. I support the family like work environment where one can share ideas, opinions and give suggestions to make the work process quick and easy.“

MD Siddiqui, Admin head

“I appreciate the stable HR policies and passion of senior management in the business. Being one of the initial employees at HFE, together as a force, we have been constantly working towards evolving systems and processes to identify the skill level of teams and provide the required training leading to a fruitful outcome. As a company, we have grown double year-over-year, in terms of capacity addition. And, none the less, I feel proud to be called an HFE-ian!“

Atul Raaizada, Sr. VP- O&M, Projects

All these experiences are a testimony to the excellent working environment we have successfully created at HFE, a space where every employee has full support from the organization to maximize their individual potential and at the same time work hand in hand with the ultimate goal of Planet, Positive & Power to a cleaner and greener future.

 

 

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2016-04-28 / Regulatory & Industry Trends

Wind vs solar energy – making the right choice

       

The choice between wind turbines or solar modules is never a choice of selecting a better technology at face value. Both come with their own strengths and weaknesses and both can be incredibly valuable. But choosing one, is a common question of contention among various stakeholders.

However, industry experts point out that currently, wind power generation is a step behind as developments in solar override developments in wind. Among other reasons, the delay in signing power purchase agreement and the new draft policy of re-powering the turbines below 1MW capacity, is keeping wind power developers in a dilemma. Close to 550 MW of wind generation capacity is lying idle in Maharashtra as the state has refused to sign power purchase agreement with the producers. Furthermore, the reduction of levelized tariff from 5.92 kwH to 4.78 kwH in the state of Madhya Pradesh for all the wind power projects commissioned this financial year, have made these projects unviable.

Adding to the industry woes, the new draft wind re-powering policy expects wind turbines below 1 MW of capacity to be replaced. However, the incentives offered on it are insufficient and the overall cost of re-powering is likely to be greater than the cost of setting up a green-field facility, including the cost of power substations.

Among the various schemes and incentives to promote the use of renewables in India, the government recently affirmed sanctioning of 30% capital subsidy for rooftop solar installations to residential, government, social and institutional segments. Commercial and industrial entities are excluded from this scheme, ensuring that the funds are made available to those who are genuine need of funds. The doubling of coal cess in the Union Budget 2016-17 is likely to amass INR 18000-20000 crore annually. Out of these, approximately INR 5000-8000 crore will be diverted to renewable sector, primarily solar, to fund the solar rooftop subsidies, depriving wind energy altogether.

A study by Bloomberg New Energy Finance echoed that the pace of investments of renewables in India soared to $10.9 billion in 2015 from an annual average of $8 billion over the preceding three years. Solar, leading the front, outperformed wind for the very first time in attracting capital.

Particulars Wind Solar
Total installed capacity (GW) March 2016 26.7 6.7
Target by 2022 (in GW) 60 100
Investments till 2015 (in $ billions) 4.1 5.6

*Source:-Ministry of New and Renewable Energy & Bloomberg Energy Finance

It’s time for us to refocus our efforts towards wind energy. A long term policy horizon across different states is the way forward. India already has an advantage in wind power and accounts for over 60% of the renewable energy capacity in the country. Cutting edge technology such as high capacity turbines and efficient windmill blades are all manufactured and developed indigenously. Extension of incentives like Generation Based Incentives and accelerated depreciation benefits beyond March 2017 would be a welcome step to add capacities in the wind energy sector.

Technologies such as wind and solar energy are heavily reliant on specific weather conditions. In such a situation, ‘hybrid’ offers a reasonable solution. A hybrid, in normal parlance, is a system paired with a smart grid, which effectively connects two or more forms of renewables together for a greater balance in energy supply. Countries such as Spain, Morocco, China and US have successfully implemented this notion.

In a hybrid set up, storage is vital as solar and wind energy balance each other. As renewable installed capacity grows, the grid may not be able to absorb all the power produced instantly and the need for storing the generated energy will become increasingly imperative. Storage could also be used as a spinning reserve to stabilize grid from the intermittent renewable energy. One concern for policy makers is that storage costs are high. At this moment, storage is at an inflection point seeking investments in research and development. The government must channelize its efforts under the storage mission in development rather than deployment. Furthermore, in a hybrid combination, transmission costs are optimized; a 1 MW of installed solar and wind power each at the same location can result in a third of savings.

There is a clear indication that hybrid could be one of key factor for future deployment. Remember, energy consumption can be reduced significantly through energy conservation and energy efficiency techniques, thereby having a direct bearing on emission reduction at lower cost. All of this is reason enough for us to collectively  work towards conservation.

Contributed by Sunil Jain, CEO & ED, Hero Future Energies

 

 

 

2016-03-09 / Life @ HFE/ O&M

Investing in maintenance is critical to safety

      

A stable and reliable electrical generating source serves as the backbone of operations across any facility or manufacturing plant. Similarly, a well-designed, professionally installed and effectively bonded earthing system is seminal for any plant location, to ensure that no one is exposed to the dangers of an electric shock. Though earthing occupies a very important position in the safety clause while awarding a contract, it seldom receives the attention it deserves. Earthing is often neglected, as there is no direct and immediate impact of earthing into electric systems. The impact is felt at a later stage when the system earth points get corroded due to prolonged use and no longer have the capacity to take the imbalance in the load.

Nature’s most precious gift to mankind is earth, which, by its inherent nature easily absorbs the electrons and improves the durability of the plant and machinery, in case of machine failures or contingencies. In technical terms, earth is a Natural Potential Zero – a point where electric charge becomes neutralized or sunk. It is therefore critical that during the design stage, adequate attention is given to earthing in order to safeguard the machinery and systems.

There are different types of earthing and that is dependent on the functionality of the equipment. During the construction phase, two surfaces that are not perfectly matched or welded as per the requirements can result in faulty earthing. This can have an adverse impact on the operational efficiency of the plant at a later stage. The solution is simple. Joints at the contact surface and moisture content are two major thrust factors responsible for providing appropriate earthing point. Perfect contact between two overlapping surfaces using a combination of joints, bolts and clamps can help solve 80 per cent of the problem arising during the construction phase, with proper laying of cables, strips, pits, base plate and electrode joints solving the remaining. Charging of the earth pit with water and salt is an effective solution during the maintenance phase. Both these techniques are inexpensive and are effective enough to improve the plant life.

A very popular non-conventional source of maintenance is the use of customized mineral salts in the bore along with electrode tube. Though this addresses the earthing needs by maintaining moisture content for a long time, the chemical reaction can lead to corrosion in electrodes, which needs to be replaced periodically.

Maintenance is essentially a relative function of time and cost and holds its own importance in the lifecycle of machinery. While there is enough awareness about the importance of maintenance, all of us in the business need to ask ourselves are we investing enough in this direction?

Also Published in ETEnergyworld.com.

Contributed by Mr. Atul Raaziada, Vice President, Operations and Maintenance, and Projects, Hero Future Energies

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2016-02-02 / Regulatory & Industry Trends

Renewable energy – time to move from commitment to action

Economic growth and development are hugely dependent on the power sector, especially so for developing nations. The Indian power sector is transforming rapidly and is therefore altering the industry outlook, however, as a country we still have a long way to go to provide energy security to all our citizens. Renewable energy is non-negotiable for India and the government’s commitment to accelerate the growth of this sector is evident. But it will need to be a fine balancing act – as we need to develop enough to provide affordable energy to all our citizens.

In the backdrop of the Paris agreement, this commitment also brings with it a responsibility towards balancing growth and its implications on climate change as India now assumes a significant leadership role in managing international climate treaties. If the Paris Agreement brings forth ‘innovation’ and ‘commitments’, the time is now ripe to focus rigorously on the ‘deployment’ aspect in order to address the transition towards a low carbon future. It is also important that industry and corporate sector does their bit to enhance usage of renewables in their energy portfolio.

Government policies support growth

Deployment is primarily execution and implementation where government policies play an important role. This time around, the government is proactively taking steps to promote the judicious use of clean capacities at the ground level across spectrum of people. The recent approval of INR 50 billion to fund 30% capital subsidy for rooftop solar installations is a clear indication of the government’s intentions. The disbursement mechanism through Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI), schemes run by state governments and subsidy disbursements through financial institutions will ensure that the benefits reaches the right target audience. Keeping commercial and industrial establishments out of the framework is particularly beneficial to the retail category.

Revival of distribution companies is imperative as the long term prospects of renewables are heavily dependent on their financial health. Traditionally discoms have been burdened with huge annual debt and the cumulative losses have impacted the offtake of power as cash strapped Discoms prefer “Power cuts to providing power”. The Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojna or UDAY attempts to address this issue to a great extent to ease the financial crunch faced by power distribution companies. Under this scheme, the state has the flexibility to take over the discom debt through loan, equity or grant on state balance sheets and thereby making states answerable and committed towards monitoring the health and performance of discoms in future to avoid another debt trap.

Need to augment T&D system

The Indian power sector in last 10 years has largely focused on augmenting generation capacities resulting in under investments in Transmission and Distribution (T&D). A major challenge is to move renewable power from generation sites to consumption sites, largely attributable to inadequacy of grids. The amount of electricity lost during transmission is still relatively high and needs concrete measures to arrest that. In order to improve the country’s power supply conditions, an investment of INR 3 lakh crore is expected over the next four years. This will helps strengthen the grid infrastructure at various time horizons and enlarge its outreach. Studies have proven that a 5 per cent saving in transmission losses translates into an additional 15,000 MW of power without any fresh investment.

India is progressing well along its ambitious renewable energy transmission network program” The Green Corridor”. Power Grid Corporation of India has operationalized the second phase of the green corridor program, and has allocated a transmission project in Andhra Pradesh, while completing the tendering process for projects in Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka.

Minigrids matter

Due to insufficient last mile connectivity a huge chunk of population has been left away from the grid so far. Mini-grid has been an innovative solution for these areas.
Encouraging minigrids / microgrids with solar integration could result in a remarkable shift in the mechanism to deliver uninterrupted access to unelectrified households in rural areas.

Clearly, there are several visible improvements on the regulatory side spawning positive development for the sector as a whole. A more collaborative approach of private players and regulators could provide further impetus to achieve the committed targets in a sustainable manner.

Contributed by Sunil Jain, CEO & ED, Hero Future Energies

This article was originally published at ETEnergyworld.com.

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