Green Hydrogen Smart City Project: Sikkim – A Pilot project

Author: Santosh Singh, Partner & Ansuman Mishra, Associate at ZEUS Law

Published in https://www.asiancommunityne

Green hydrogen, put simply, is hydrogen fuel derived from renewable sources like electrolysis. In order to promote the production of green hydrogen and green ammonia, the Indian Government introduced the Green Hydrogen Policy dated 17th February, 2022 which defines green hydrogen and green ammonia, and provides several incentives with respect to the manufacturing and distribution of green hydrogen and green ammonia, including setting up of a single portal for all statutory approvals and permissions required for manufacturing, transportation, storage and distribution of green hydrogen and green ammonia in a time bound manner.

Recently, in a significant step towards sustainable urban development, a pivotal one-day Korea-India Infrastructure and Urban Development Forum took place in Delhi on 11th September, 2023 and focused on the theme of “Hydrogen Smart City”. The forum, jointly organized by the Korea Research Institute of Human Settlement (KRIHS), Korea Institute of International Economic Policy (KIEP), and Construction Industry Development Council (CIDC), saw esteemed attendees including His Excellency Chang Jae-bok, the Ambassador of the Republic of Korea in India, and key representatives from the Indian government.

The central agenda revolved around the exploration of establishing Hydrogen Smart Cities in India. Korea, a leader in hydrogen technology, has successfully established Hydrogen Smart Cities in Ulsan, Ansan, and Jeonju-Wanju in Korea. India, aiming to follow suit, is contemplating establishing Hydrogen Smart Cities across the nation. Notably, Sikkim, represented by Karma R Bonpo, Secretary of Commerce and Industries, passionately advocated for the establishment of a ‘Green Hydrogen Smart City’ in Gangtok. Greater Gangtok City has been identified as a potential pilot city for establishing a smart city using renewable energy including green hydrogen. In this regard, Sikkim has the advantage, as its modest population and ecosystem offer the opportunity to develop effective green hydrogen solutions which can potentially serve as a model for other regions. If this pilot project is a success, it could pave the way for sustainable solutions to other cities.

The focus of the initiative is to harness Sikkim’s abundant hydro and solar energy resources for the production of green hydrogen, a cleaner fuel alternative. Plans include the introduction of hydrogen charging stations, hydrogen buses for public transportation, and innovative waste management using bio-gas-based hydrogen charging stations in Gangtok. The vision includes transitioning urban transportation to be fueled by green hydrogen in the coming years.

With the backing of the State Government of Sikkim, led by Hon’ble Chief Minister Shri P.S Golay, Sikkim is poised to become the ‘Green State’ of India. Korea, enthusiastic about this endeavour, is actively offering Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) funding and technological expertise through various Korean companies to facilitate the development of the Green Hydrogen Smart City. This initiative aligns seamlessly with Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s vision for India to become the world’s largest Green Hydrogen Hub, placing Sikkim at the forefront of India’s pioneering states driving green hydrogen development.

If this pilot case of New Gangtok City becomes a success, this would open doors for the establishment of similar other Hydrogen Smart Cities in India which will be a strong step in the direction of transfer to cleaner and clear fuels in the near future and reduce carbon footprint for mitigating climate change.

(This Article is solely for information purposes, does not constitute legal or professional advisory and should not be relied upon or used as a substitute for legal advice from attorney.)

About the Authors: Santosh Singh is a Partner at ZEUS Law with over 15 years of experience in Real Estate and Infrastructure transactions, Corporate and Commercial law. He excels in land and company due diligence, advising on Foreign Direct Investment laws, and navigating regulatory compliance. Santosh has a track record of advising a diverse range of clients, including developers, investors, banks, and government bodies. He specializes in structuring complex Real Estate deals, joint development arrangements, and ensuring compliance with regulations such as the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016. His expertise covers the entire project development cycle, from due diligence to project sale.

Mr. Ansuman Mishra is an Associate at ZEUS Law and works in the Corporate and Commercial practice vertical.

ZEUS Law Associates is an ISO certified full service corporate commercial law firm with a team of dedicated and experienced lawyers well versed in handling domestic and cross border transactions across sectors, jurisdictions and regulatory landscapes. The firm’s practice areas include Corporate and Company Law, M&A and Joint Venture, Private Equity, FDI & FII, Real Estate and Infrastructure, Intellectual Property & Commercial Law, Litigation, Alternate Dispute Resolution, Indirect Tax and NRI Services.