India Needs Over 160 GWh Of Battery Storage To Meet 2030 Renewables Goal: Industry Body IESA


India will need a minimum of 160-gigawatt hour of energy storage capacity to help meet the country’s ambitious target of having half its energy supply from renewable sources, according to Indian Energy Storage Alliance.

The projected requirement includes the storage needs for grid scale renewable projects and commercial and industrial installations, the industry body said in a report. It does not, however, include storage requirements for national transmission, inverters, telecom towers and rural electrification.

“In actuality, if the storage is considered for the entire transmission element, the real requirement is quite high and more than the projected 160 GWh,” it said.

Energy storage systems are vital if renewable energy is to be relied upon for meeting power needs consistently. Power demand in India peaks only during the evening, when solar panels are basically nonoperational. Unlike coal, sunshine or wind cannot be stored for when it is needed. Which means all the extra power generated from renewables when demand is lower, is cut off to ensure the electricity grid doesn’t overload.

And India is set to get power-hungry. Its peak power demand has crossed 200 GW and is expected to rise. That’s where energy storage systems come in.

“With the increasing trend of power demand over the years and increased share of renewables through capacity addition in the future, there will be a clear-cut requirement of bringing system flexibility and reliability to the Indian grid, with energy storage being the key enabler in overcoming the limitations of intermittent nature of renewable energy,” the industry alliance said.

Bulk of the energy storage requirements—about 61%—will come from the renewable energy grid, it said. Several grid-scale energy storage projects, the report said, were announced in 2021 but have faced delay in implementation due to several issues like difficulties in signing power purchase agreements with states, slow bidding process, lack of guidelines and financial support.

The report also said that Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Karnataka will have the largest potential storage contribution forming about 65% of the national requirement.

Current installation capacity, however, will have to be greatly boosted to meet those requirements. Since 2017, India has seen several grid-scale battery energy storage system tenders and pilot projects. The Solar Energy Corporation of India and NTPC Ltd. are the leading deployers of energy storage projects. So far 0.42 GWh of energy storage capacity has been tendered.

This means adoption will have to skyrocket in the next eight years. As of 2021, the estimated annual installation capacity of storage in India was 2 GWh. It is expected to hit 5 GWh by 2025 and potentially to 40 GWh a year by the end of the decade, the IESA said.

That said, the industry body cautioned that this won’t be easy without the central government setting milestones like they have with renewables. The centre is working on a comprehensive energy storage policy framework which is in the draft stage. The IESA called for policy to establish energy storage targets across the value chain. It also pitched introducing purchase obligations in the policy which will mandate electricity distributors to purchase a minimum specified quantity of storage.

“Many of the regulations need to be updated as per storage requirements,” the IESA said. “To deploy storage actively and strengthen the objectives of this comprehensive policy, it is highly recommended to relook at the existing regulations.”


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