Expanding its horizons in the Indian EV charging space

Fortum, a leading Nordic clean energy company, develops and offers a wide range of solutions, including smart improving resource efficiency. It offers long-term O&M services, turbine island up­grading, troubleshooting services for steam and gas turbines, power trading, and productivity and performance develo­p­ment services among others. The company is present in over 40 countries.

At present, Fortum is the third largest po­wer generator in the Nordic countries and one of the leading heat producers glo­bally. The company has power plants ge­ne­rating hydropower, combined heat and power, and nuclear, solar and wind energy. The clean energy developer currently has more than 1,800 MW of wind farms at various stages of development, spread ac­ro­ss Norway, Sweden, Finland and Ru­ssia. Al­ong with its partners, which include Rus­nano, Bank GBP and the Russian Di­rect Investment Fund, it is the largest producer of wind power in Russia. Fur­ther­more, the company has a total of 159 hydropower plants in Finland and Sw­eden. Its solar portfolio is based in India, where it jointly owns multiple solar power plants, and Russia.

Fortum was an early mover in the electric vehicle (EV) charging space. It commercialised its electric transportation programme in 2011 under the Charge & Drive brand. Since then, its EV charging operations have spread widely across Europe and India. Fortum also provides its cloud-based charger management system as a service to various stakeholders in the EV ch­arging space. At present, Fortum Char­ge & Drive supports a network of over 6,000 smart charging points in Nordic co­un­tries, of which more than 30 per cent are DC quick chargers. Under PlugSur­fing, an­other brand of Fortum, the company has enabled EV users in Europe to access over 90,000 charging points. The company’s shares are listed on Nasdaq Helsinki and its subsidiary Uniper’s shares are listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.

While Fortum entered the Indian market in 2012 primarily to build its solar portfolio, it is now rapidly advancing towards establishing a robust EV charging network ac­ross the country. As of now, the company has CCS2-compliant DC fast chargers co­­vering cities such as Mohali, Delhi, Noida, Gurugram, Ahmedabad, Surat, Mu­mbai, Pune, Hyderabad and Benga­luru. Re­­ce­ntly, the company entered into agreements with automobile firms to further im­prove its EV charging network in India.

Renewable Watch takes a look at the key milestones, performance and future outlook of Fortum’s India operations…

Presence in India

Fortum launched its operations in India in September 2012. It has been focusing on building its solar portfolio ever since and has taken significant steps. Amrit, For­tum’s first power plant in India, was ac­qu­ir­ed in 2013 as part of the Jawaharlal Ne­hru Na­tional Solar Mission. The plant has a nominal peak capacity of 5 MWac and an annual production of approximately 9 GWh. The 10 MW Kapeli solar plant was constructed soon after, in 2014-15. The pla­nt offsets over 18,000 tonnes of CO2 emi­ssions annually and is one of For­tum’s first greenfield solar projects. This project was followed by the 70 MWac Bhadla solar power plant in 2017. An­ot­her big addition to Fortum’s solar portfolio is the 100 MW Pavagada solar park in Tumkur district in Karnataka. Soon after, Fortum won the bid to build another 250 MW solar power plant in the Pavagada solar park, which was commissioned in 2019.

Fortum entered India’s EV market in 2017, following an agreement with NBCC for developing EV charging infrastructure across India. Since piloting its ­Ch­arge & Drive programme in India in 2017, Fortum has made 115 DC fast ch­ar­g­ing points operational across eight states and 12 cities such as Delhi-NCR, Hy­­derabad, Mu­m­bai, Bengaluru and ­Ah­medabad. The charging network includes both 15/20 kW DC001 chargers as well as 50/60 kW CCS/CHAdeMO chargers catering to a wide range of EVs present in the consu­mer market. Fortum also established In­dia’s first public charging network of 50 kW DC chargers in collaboration with MG Motors. It is now setting up free charging points for buyers of MG ZS. The company is now rapidly expanding its fast charging network in India.

Recent developments

In March 2022, Fortum Charge & Drive in agreement with BSES Yamuna Power Limited (BYPL), a leading power distribution company, launched a pilot project on load balancing in New Delhi that is the first of its kind in India. The pilot project, with an initial tenure of one year, will manage char­ging by balancing dynamic demand from EVs with static load input from BYPL in the smart chargers to be provided by Fortum Charge & Drive. As part of the agreement, three chargers with five charging points will be deployed in Mayur Vihar Extension Phase I, New Delhi. The charging points will be built and operated by For­tum Char­ge & Drive India and offer complete system integration and software-as-a-service for operating EV charging infrastructure networks and customer interfa­ces to other distribution utilities and ch­ar­ge point operators. The capacity of the th­ree de­p­loyed ch­argers will be 60 kW DC (CCS), 30 kW DC (DC001) (2 x 15kW guns) and 22 kW (Type II AC) respectively. Fortum is likely to an­al­yse the project ca­pability over the coming months under varying load and de­ma­nd response scenarios en­abling a sm­art model for operating EV ch­ar­ging in­frastructure networks in India.

Recently, MG Motor India announced a collaboration with Fortum for MG’s existing owners as well as new buyers to en­able free access to fast charging points at Fortum Charge & Drive India’s outlets for a month. The collaboration between the two companies to set up a fast charging net­work for MG’s passenger EVs first co­mmenced in 2019.

In February 2022, Fortum won the bid to build two solar power parks with a total capacity of 600 MW in Karnataka. The projects are expected to be commissioned by 2024. For the development of solar-based power generation, Fortum en­ters into partnerships and joint ventures. The solar power parks in Karnataka are also planned to be developed together with a partner.

In December 2021, Plug Mobility, an un­dertaking of Carzonrent India Private Limi­ted, partnered with Fortum Charge & Drive India to provide charging infrastructure for Carzonrent’s fleet of 19,000 cars to be in­duc­ted over the next five years ac­ross In­dia. Under the partnership, Fortum will deploy 3,200 DC001 and CCS charging points across 79 Indian cities for Plug Mo­bility. The EV charging infrastructure will also be available for the general public.

In October 2021, Fortum was awarded a GRESB 5-star rating, placing it in the top two of seven entities  generating solar po­wer in Asia. In June 2021, Fortum initiated the divestment of its 250 MW Pava­gada II and the 250 MW Rajasthan solar power plants in India to Actis, a global infrastructure investment firm. The divestment will be completed and the capital gains re­corded in three tranches,  spread across the second half of 2021 and the first half of 2022. The parties have also signed a comprehensive agreement targeting further investments in solar power plants in India.

In March 2021, the company was hono­ured with the National Safety Award by the Factories & Boilers department of the Rajasthan government for its Bhadla solar power plant.

Future outlook

In addition to conventional renewable en­ergy sources such as solar and wind, the EV segment is now receiving a massive push in India. The implementation of fav­o­u­rable central and state government policies as well as EV charging guidelines and mandates indicate a conducive busi­ne­ss environment for enhancing EV infrastructure in the country. A crucial component for establishing a robust EV market in India is an accessible, cost-effective and dependable network of charging infrastructure. This presents a huge opportunity for Fortum to build viable solutions to cater to this enormous market in India. The company is also loo­king to expand its wind energy portfolio and India presents immense op­p­or­tunities in this space. However, it is likely to face stiff competition from the existing players with greater experience in the Indian wind energy market.

Fortum has established a strong and significant presence in the European clean energy market. With its present scale, re­sources, continuous expansion and innovation, it holds the potential to attain the same growth in the Indian market over the coming years. N

By Kasvi Singh



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