The way forward
CSE believes that given the encouraging projections of growth of BTM technologies, that are ushering in a consumer-centric clean energy transition, we need to lay down robust and sustainable principles for Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) in the sector. This starts with development of a legal framework that is explicitly directed towards externalities in general and handling of battery waste in particular. Our experience with the solar and wind energy sectors has been that we have tremendously benefitted in terms of reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and energy security. But questions regarding the disposal of waste from solar and wind power plants, and the handling of decommissioning of these plants, remain unanswered or unsatisfactorily answered. We must not repeat the same mistakes with new generation batteries that are about to flood the market. CSE also believes that issues of material security of rare earth elements required to produce these batteries need careful consideration. It would be self-defeating if in an endeavour of freeing ourselves from the hegemony of petro-economies, we end up becoming dependent on an entirely new group of oligarchs controlling rare earth materials required for the clean energy transition.