On World MSME Day (June 27) the World Wild Fund (WWF) India, has said that only a few policies target the renewable energy startup ecosystem. In a report titled, ‘Clean energy policy landscape in the SME sector,’ it said, while almost 140 government interventions focus directly or indirectly on clean energy and startups, only 38 policies actually target them.
“Policy support can be an important catalyst in accelerating clean energy adoption and scale up. This report maps the clean energy policy landscape in the SME sector, and provides recommendations that not only benefit the innovators but also help the government in realising its larger vision for the upliftment of the SME sector in the country,” said TS Panwar, Director, Climate Change and Energy Programme, WWF India.
The report, in association with cKinetics, highlighted that new-age clean technology startups and SMEs are expected to lead the way for India to achieve its clean energy target of nearly 14,000 TWh by 2050.
The report has highlighted that the remaining 102 policies set by the government either focus on cleantech or on SME/startups. Therefore, there is a very narrow grow for cleantech SME and startups to work on. It also notes that several of these cleantech segments come under the state agencies’ domain, but the bulk of the policy targeting the clean energy interventions are established by the central government or are under programmes catalysed by the centre.
The report suggests 11 cross-cutting challenges and recommended short, medium and long term steps across six segments — solar rooftop, electric mobility, energy efficiency, smart energy, waste-to-energy and energy access.
“Even as energy use across these is expected to increase manifold in the coming decades, scaling up the interventions in these six segments could potentially reduce nearly 600 Mn tonnes of CO2 annually4 by 2032,” the report reads.
Some of the other recommendations are:
- Provision to procure at least 20% of capacity (MW procurement target) from SMEs under the DISCOM-led aggregation model in the solar-rooftop segment
- Ensuring passing on the benefits in the implementation of solar rooftops to the residential consumers in terms of 80C benefits
- Lowering the GST slab of energy-efficient appliances and setting targets to procure a percentage of energy-efficient goods from SMEs for entities such as EESL
- Set up of short-term targets for EV roll-out over a time span that helps in achieving the long-term targets
- Provisions to procure 10% of compressed biogas from startups, under Sustainable Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation (SATAT) initiative
The report has also attributed India’s slow transition to clean energy to limited policy support mechanisms for research and development (R&D) and innovation for clean energy segments. It noted that R&D support is primarily offered under five programmes or government departments — GITA, AIM, Department of Science and Technology (DST), Centre of Excellence (CoE) for IoT, and India Innovation Growth Programme.
Though several catalysts and incubators provide support to startups, only a few have provisions for R&D, developing proof of concept.