Vision to Action : RE in India is walking the talk

The Government of India has undertaken a number of policy measures for increasing share of renewable energy in India’s energy mix. Let us look at some of those :

Let's Go 100% Renewable Energy

  1. Provision of Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO) under the National Tariff Policy;
  2. Notification of the long term growth trajectory of RPO for solar and non-solar energy for next 3 years from 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19;
  3. Development of Solar Parks and Ultra Mega Solar Power Projects;
  4. Development of power transmission network through Green Energy Corridor project;
  5. Making roof top solar as a part of housing loan provided by banks;
  6. Waiver of Inter-State Transmission Charges and losses;
  7. Repowering of Wind Power Projects for optimal utilization of wind resources;
  8. Offshore wind energy policy for development of offshore wind energy in the Indian Exclusive Economic Zone;
  9. Supporting research and development on various aspects of renewable energy including with industry participation;
  10. Financial incentives for off-grid and decentralized renewable energy systems and devices for meeting energy needs for cooking, lighting and productive purposes; and
  11. Permitting 100 percent Foreign Direct Investment in sector through automatic route.

The Government has set up an ambitious target of installing 175 GW capacity through renewables by 2022. As on date a total capacity of 75 GW had been installed in the country.

The cost of production of energy from solar and wind energy sources varies from place to place depending upon, inter-alia, insolation, wind speed, cost of land, cost of financing and basic infrastructure. It is true that in some projects tariff of solar and wind power discovered is in the range or even lesser as compared to the cost of coal based thermal power plants. Rooftop solar is the fastest growing segment in renewable energy in India, driven by large customers, according to Bloomber research. It helps that the price for solar power in India has fallen to 2.34 rupees a kilowatt-hour (3.5 cents), among the lowest in the world. The World Bank is also stepping in with a $625 million loan to support India’s solar rooftop program. The funds will be used to provide loans and guarantees to small businesses.

It is safe to say the Indian renewable energy sector is the second most attractive renewable energy market in the world. It is expected twenty years from now by the year 2040, around 54 per cent of the total electricity will be generated by the renewable energy, as more efficient batteries will be used to store electricity which will further cut the solar energy cost.


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Growing importance of Energy Storage System for India

While economic, environmental and energy security concerns have been the key influencers for promotion and development of Renewable Energy sources, these sources are characterized by inherent issues like variability, intermittency and fast ramping, etc. Various countries have been facing concerns with respect to these issues with the increasing proportion of renewable energy sources in the grid. The variability on account of generation from RE sources impose a threat on effective management of the system operation and management.

Storage System

The growing proportion of renewable energy (especially wind and solar) in the power system further adds to these challenges. Energy storage is the key component for creating sustainable energy systems. Current technologies, such as solar photovoltaic and wind turbines etc. can generate energy in a sustainable and environmentally friendly manner, yet their intermittent nature poses issues in power quality, dependability and grid stability.

The need to effectively integrate such large scale Renewable Energy in the Grid has been one of the key concern for all stakeholders including the policy makers, planners and regulators. Technical requirements have been identified that are important at all levels for integrating large quantities of RE generation in the Indian grid.Firstly a robust transmission services to ensure that RE generation backing down is minimal with adherence to Grid Standards and Regulations by RE generators. Second factor is Load forecasting at DISCOM, SLDC, RLDC and NLDC levels and RE generation forecasting at poolling station, groups of Pooling Stations, SLDCs, RLDCs and NLDC levels. Finally there is a need for primary, secondary and tertiary generation reserves Ancillary Services framework at inter-state and intra state level to operationalize the reserves.

Hence, reliable operation of the synchronous all India Grid in the envisaged RE-rich scenario calls for availability of adequate reserves & flexibility services in the form of conventional storage system like pumped storage hydro plants and non-conventional energy storage system.

Energy storage can play a significant role in meeting challenges of intermittency by improving the operating capabilities of the grid, lowering power purchase cost and ensuring high reliability by maintaining unscheduled interchange as well as deferring and reducing infrastructure investments in new projects. The Energy Storage System (ESS) has a wide range of applications which can be deployed from consumer level, connected to distribution system, to bulk storage system connected to the grid.

Moreover, I feel that a faster move towards an energy storage market will also help in reducing the need for major augmentation of new transmission infrastructure and balancing reserves. This will be particularly useful for us the Renewable Energy developers as we will have the flexibility to store electricity generated during the day time and use the same power to supply electricity during time of no wind or solar.



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