Winds of Change – The Storage Revolution in India
The integration of storage with wind will be gradual, this is something that has been observed in projects worldwide. The main reason for this is because wind, though variable, is available throughout the day thus the requirement of storage to store power and discharge when the source is not available (like in solar) is less here. For wind, storage comes in more beneficial for a shorter duration of storage ranging from 1 to 4 hours.
June 09, 2022. By News Bureau
The Indian power sector has changed in many ways over the last decade. The grid, once dominated by conventional sources of energy, has slowly been transforming into a more diverse grid. In 2015, when the Government of India set itself the target of 175 GW of renewables by 2022, it was seen as a very ambitious target. But, when we look back today, there has been considerable growth that the renewable sector has witnessed. At COP26 Climate Conference, Prime Minister Narendra Modi pledged that India would achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2070 and 500 GW capacity by 2030. The country is the fourth-largest wind producer in the world with a total installed capacity of 39.25 GW (as of March 31, 2021) and has generated around 60.149 billion units during 2020-21. With improvements in technology, there has been an increase in efficiency and life, thus it has further resulted in lower Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE) numbers. The tariffs also have reduced considerably from the ranges of INR 4 to 5/kWh to INR 2.8/kWh.
Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, and Madhya Pradesh are the highest wind energy-producing states in the country. It holds the major portion of 41.5% of total RE capacity (94434 MW) among renewable and continues as the largest supplier of clean energy.
With the increase of wind penetration in the grid, the variability in the grid also increases. To cater to this high penetration of wind energy the conventional power sources are either run at part loads or are completely shut down and operated as switching units.
The problem of long DISCOM payment dues has also plagued the wind industry to a great extent. Initiatives like Ujjwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana (UDAY), and AJAY have brought some hope but there is a lot more yet to be done to ensure that the wind industry maintains the sustainability edge. We need to start valuing the quality and flexibility of the energy, which means, we need to start accelerating the deployment of energy storage technologies that will enable us to get to 50% renewable energy utilization. We also need to focus on manufacturing, as four times the currently deployed renewables are yet to be built. The key obstacle for us is to develop the necessary skills and manpower to enable this upcoming transition.
Why energy storage?
Energy Storage is the solution for RE integration challenges, which absorbs excess RE (ramp control), enables power producers to provide consistent power to the grid, and responds immediately and precisely to changes in the load.
One requirement at this stage to make wind more responsible is to make the load firmer and more reliable. This brings in the requirement of storage, which can help in firming the load and act as a buffer to absorb the excess load when wind generates more than the requirement (schedule) and discharge through storage mediums in such conditions when the actual generation is less than the scheduled load. This is more required today with the DSM rules becoming stringent and penalties increasing. Another solution that is seen here is through the rise of hybrid tenders. This especially works well as wind and solar are complementary to each other and thus when clubbed together can give more benefits. Though the hybrid tenders released to date did not see a very promising uptake by the industry, this has been mainly due to the low ceiling tariffs which were mandated in these tenders, but now with the ceiling tariffs being reduced, it is being anticipated that more hybrid tenders will be floated by tender authorities.
The integration of storage with wind will be gradual, this is something that has been observed in projects worldwide. The main reason for this is because wind, though variable, is available throughout the day thus the requirement of storage to store power and discharge when the source is not available (like in solar) is less here. For wind, storage comes in more beneficial for a shorter duration of storage ranging from 1 to 4 hours. It is expected that initially in projects the percentage of storage will be around 10% which will slowly increase to around 50% as the cost of batteries reduce. In a best-case scenario, considering proactive policy support, tender authorities releasing more hybrid tenders with storage, and the vision of 500 GW being realized by 2030, the storage capacity by 2027 can be around 12 GWh, on a conservative approach, it can be around 5 GWh.
With land availability and acquisition being a challenge, it makes more sense to utilize the land that is available to the fullest and hybrids are a great solution to address this concern. With the government releasing the National Renewable Energy Hybrid policy and with recent developments like taking off tariff ceilings, reduction in the cost of storage, and advancements in efficiencies, the forecast for hybrid projects looks good in India. Such projects work much better with a two-part tariff as we saw in the Solar Energy Corporation of India’s (SECI) 1.2 GW project of renewable energy with storage. This helps in attaining better project economics based on today’s costs. This will also increase the participation of developers and independent power producers in such upcoming bids. Even though wind-alone projects with storage, are not that prominent today, they will be coming up in the future on account of the continuous decrease of storage costs and increase in efficiency and life.
- Debi Prasad Dash, Executive Director, India Energy Storage Alliance (IESA)
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