NTPC Renewable Energy Ltd. (NTPC REL) has taken a significant step in collaboration with the Indian Army to implement Green Hydrogen Projects in Ladakh for Indian Army Establishments. The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the two entities is geared towards reducing the Indian Army’s reliance on fossil fuels, marking a transformative approach to modernization while aligning with the nation’s decarbonization objectives. This collaborative initiative is structured on a Build, Own, and Operate (BOO) model.
The project involves establishing a solar power facility that uses water hydrolysis to generate hydrogen. This hydrogen will then be utilized in fuel cells to generate power during periods without sunlight, such as nighttime. The project will be setup in remote areas that are not connected to national or state power grids.
The Indian Army will provide land on lease for 25 years and will purchase the generated power through a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA).
NTPC REL & Indian Army Towards a Carbon Neutral Ladakh with Green Hydrogen Plants
This pioneering agreement ushers in a new era of border security combined with energy security, reinforcing the nation’s defense infrastructure. Many locations within the Indian Army rely on diesel generator (DG) sets in off-grid areas. In line with the vision of the Hon’ble Prime Minister, which emphasizes “Panchamrit” (five-fold nectar) and a Carbon Neutral Ladakh, the Indian Army aims to decrease its dependence on fossil fuels and the logistical challenges associated with power generation and heating.
Ladakh is a Solar and Wind Power House- A potential Green Hydrogen Hub
One of Ladakh’s notable features is its abundant solar resources. It stands as a solar-rich area, boasting an impressive average Direct Normal Irradiance (DNI) of 5.43 kWh/m² per day. This exceptional solar potential makes Ladakh a prime location for harnessing solar thermal applications. In particular areas within Leh-Ladakh, the solar insolation reaches extraordinary levels, reaching as high as around 1,200 W/m². This abundant sunlight is a valuable resource that opens up opportunities for various solar energy initiatives.
The implementation of the 13 GW Renewable Energy Project in Leh
The 2023 Union Budget announced the implementation of a 13 GW Renewable Energy Project in Leh, Ladakh. This project includes the development of an Inter-state transmission system designed to evacuate and integrate 13 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy from the Ladakh region. The total investment for this ambitious project amounts to Rs 20,700 crore, with substantial central support of Rs 8,300 crore.
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Green hydrogen offers several key advantages for military operations
- Stealth and Security: Hydrogen fuel cells operate quietly, emitting minimal noise. This discretion is crucial for maintaining stealth and security during military operations, ensuring that sensitive missions remain undetected.
- Reduced Detection Risk: These fuel cells produce a low heat signature, making it more challenging for adversaries to pinpoint the outpost’s location. This feature enhances the safety and security of military installations.
- Rapid Deployment: This makes them an ideal choice for forward operating bases and temporary military installations, providing quick and flexible energy solutions.
- Logistical Efficiency: On-site green hydrogen production reduces the need to transport traditional fuels, mitigating the logistical challenges often associated with remote or hostile environments. This streamlined logistics operation simplifies the supply chain and enhances operational efficiency.
- Enhanced Reliability: Hydrogen fuel cells offer redundancy in power supply, bolstering the reliability of critical systems in military outposts.
About NTPC REL
NTPC REL, a wholly-owned subsidiary of NTPC Limited. NTPC REL boasts a substantial renewable energy portfolio under construction, totaling 3.6 GW of capacity. The broader NTPC Group has ambitious plans to achieve 60 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2032, with 3.2 GW of installed capacity currently in operation.
NTPC has advanced hydrogen technologies proactively, commissioning a Hydrogen blending with Piped Natural Gas project in Gujarat. Furthermore, they are actively executing hydrogen-based mobility projects in Ladakh and Delhi, along with a green methanol project in Madhya Pradesh. These initiatives exemplify NTPC’s commitment to sustainable and innovative energy solutions.
The collaboration between NTPC REL and the Indian Army reflects a strategic partnership dedicated to enhancing both national security and environmental sustainability, contributing to India’s broader goals of reducing carbon emissions and promoting clean energy solutions.