VIJAYAWADA: In line with Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu’s decision to switch over to harnessing renewable energy which is turning out to be yet another disruptive technology having a potential of replacing thermal and hydel energy, the Energy Department is preparing to call for tenders for running pilot projects for storage of power generated from wind and daylight. According to a senior official, the latest technology for storage of power is lithium-ion and the other is lead acid. “Lithium-ion is the latest technology and at the same it is a little expensive. We wanted to see how the pilot projects using the two technologies would finally pan out,” the official said. The two projects would have storage of 4 megawatt for one hour duration. “We are yet to decide on the place where these pilot projects should come up,” the official said, explaining that this is part of the preparation for a roadmap for energy security for the next 15 years for Andhra Pradesh.
The State government is already on its way in switching over to renewable energy for the simple reason that the price has come down substantially. Once the price used to be `7 to `8 per unit. But now it has come down to `2.44 per unit. But the catch is the State cannot go in for renewable energy for its entire energy requirement since storage of power is expensive though generation is not. For instance, if 80 per cent of power requirement is met by renewable energy then there is a risk of suddenly wind speed coming down or daylight disappearing. In such a case, unless there is a facility to store energy, an emergency situation would prevail.“In fact, in Chennai recently, wind speed suddenly reduced and generation from it which have a combined capacity of 8,000 mw went down. The officials started the thermal stations but it took a few hours. Till then, power cuts had to be imposed,” he said.
Nonetheless, the State is looking at renewable energy because there is uncertainty in generation of power from conventional sources like thermal and hydel. Though the State is power surplus for the next two to three years, the demand might further go up afterwards. To meet this challenge, the State is planning now itself. The criterion is that it has to go in for cheapest source of power and the government has laid down that tariff should not go up and instead it should be brought down. If this is taken into consideration, thermal power cannot be considered cheap as coal is becoming expensive.