Interview: Rajneesh Khattar

Rajneesh Khattar,
Group Director - India at Informa Markets
 

“Solar Power is Set for Explosive Growth in India”

The Indian electricity sector is on the cusp of a solar-powered revolution. Solar power is set for explosive growth in India, matching coal’s share in the Indian power generation mix within two decades or even sooner. This dramatic turnaround is driven by India’s policy ambitions, notably the target to reach 450 GW of renewable capacity by 2030, and the extraordinary cost-competitiveness of solar, which out-competes existing coal-fired power by 2030 even when paired with battery storage, believes Rajneesh Khattar, Group Director – India at Informa Markets, in an exclusive conversation with Manu Tayal, Associate Editor, Energetica India. Khattar also discussed how his company is planning to organize RenewX this year, show highlights, industry outlook for 2021 etc.

“What will be the main highlights of RenewX this year for the industry?”

The biggest highlight this edition is our “Return to Physical Format” after witnessing the most challenging year of our lives so far. This has been a phenomenal whirlwind of a year throwing off-course plans of all stakeholders and causing unimaginable disruption by further weakening the supply chains’ ecosystem.
In addition, RenewX 2021 has gone HYBRID in its’ modus operandi i.e. combining the best of both the Physical & Virtual worlds to ensure continuity of businesses even for those who can’t join the event in wake of travel restrictions. Also, the EV sector will be at its’ best showcasing the comprehensive value chain on the exhibit floor reflecting the State of Telangana’s ambitious plans to be the “Most electrified state” in India.
RenewX 2021 will also showcase Informa India – GWEC collaborative endeavor with an aim to boost India’s wind portfolio to stratospheric levels in years to come.

“Which other sectors will get the limelight in this year’s show?”

Electric Vehicle (EV) sector will be a special feature of this year besides wind regaining its’ focus wherein Bio energy and Solar will continue stealing the limelight. It’d be pleasure to witness a healthy intra-sector competition with each domain trying to grab a share for itself.

“What precautions have been planned for organizing the event amidst the Covid-19 scenario?”

Very pleased to confirm that being an Exhibition and Conferences organizer of global repute, we have already formalized our in-house H&S document called Informa AllSecure. This is far more stringent in compliance than the H&S guidelines issued by the Federal Govt of India on 15 Oct and provides multiple additional rings of safety to all the participants alike. To begin with, RenewX2021 will observe 100% Contactless Registration that’s QR Code based, thus, ensuring there are no long serpentine-like queues as in past, no congregations at the time of registrations. Besides we have also adopted staggered registrations in order to check visitors density inside each hall strictly in line with Govt guidelines of 3.25 sqm/person. We are permitting, by all means, prefabricated booth structures only for raw scheme stalls. Plans are afoot to provide Disinfectant kit to each exhibitor, Thermal checks, Sanitiser installations at multiple checkpoints, App-based food ordering systems thereby encouraging digital payments practice, keeping provision of isolation room for those who report unwell at the time of entry, etc to name a few.
All attendees and Exhibitors are anyway advised to maintain social distancing within the booth & switch to other contactless modes of greetings. Meeting tables to have sneeze guard between the participants besides Informa Floor Ambassadors will be present to ensure compliance in totality.

“What will be your renewable energy industry outlook for the year 2021?”

My outlook for the Yr 2021 is extremely optimistic as India is fairly galloping towards its’ ambitious goals of 175 GW by 2022. There’s a pent-up demand that’s going to take India’s RE sector forward and even open access solar installations stand increased by 56 per cent in 2020 despite challenges. The booster dose of “Self-Reliant Bharat” is destined to give a push to indigenous companies by effectively working relentlessly on the demand side of the sector. The robust pipeline of tenders is good enough to determine the intentions set forth by the Govt and reflects clearly the silver lining at the end of dark COVID 19 - induced tunnel.
The Indian electricity sector is on the cusp of a solar-powered revolution. Solar power is set for explosive growth in India, matching coal’s share in the Indian power generation mix within two decades or even sooner. This dramatic turnaround is driven by India’s policy ambitions, notably the target to reach 450 GW of renewable capacity by 2030, and the extraordinary cost-competitiveness of solar, which out-competes existing coal-fired power by 2030 even when paired with battery storage.
So is the focus on the Off-Shore wind sector and Compressed Bio Gas (CBG) that are destined to carve out a newer face of India’s RE sector in times to come.

“The government proposed an import duty hike on solar lanterns and solar inverters in the Budget recently. What is your take on this?”

While in the first look this sounds a tough measure, but, looks motivating when seen from the lens of India’s domestic players who are counting on Govt’ measures to provide them a level playing field. This is also Govt’s moral duty to ensure the “Vocal for Local” slogan sees its’ pragmatic face and helps open a large untapped home market that’s captured by foreign players. Now it’s up to Indian domestic companies to maximize the opportunity and leverage it to the maximum. This also opens doors for foreign players to set up their shops in India whilst they crave to get their pie of the cake. Hence it’s a win-win situation for all while ensuring quality is not compromised and research gets further fillip towards innovations.

Interview 07/04/2021 by Manu Tayal
 
 
 
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