1. Home
  2. Featured
  3. Unlocking the Scope of Storage – EQ Mag Pro
Unlocking the Scope of Storage – EQ Mag Pro

Unlocking the Scope of Storage – EQ Mag Pro


During a webinar organized by EQ Magazine, the prospects of storage in RE and Hybrid plants were discussed

Energy storage system provides flexible and fast response resources to the system operators. It effectively manages variability in power generation and bearing the load. Recently, battery energy storage technology has experienced a sharp demand and a rapid decline in cost as a result of it.

The role of storage in renewable and hybrid plants is a topic of discussion. To carry the conversation forward and support discussion among highly experienced industry experts, EQ Magazine conducted a webinar on the topic “Emerging Role of Energy Storage in RE Plants and Hybrid Plants”. The webinar was powered by Huawei, the world’s biggest solar inverter company, and moderated by Yuvaraj Dinesh Babu, Director & Team Leader at Ernst & Young Services Private Limited.

In the opening statement, the keynote speaker Babu mentioned, “Very recently we celebrated (the installation of) 100 GW (renewable energy capacity) as well on 15th August but along with it, it is expected (that) we will see a rapid scaling up of grid-scale energy storage to meet the clean energy needs and to provide operational support to India PGCIL grid.”

He quoted a report stating, “India will see 160 GWh to 800 GWh of energy storage capacity which corresponds to 50-120 GW in power cuts.” Following the thought, he explained, “If we are able to put the enabling regulations in place… that would really unlock the storage value streams. No new coal or gas plants are built to avoid adverse impacts of climate change… Costs of energy storage decrease along with solar PV. Solar, wind, and water will contribute to 65% of the instilling capacity of India.”

He explained now that the BloombergNEF (BNEF) trend predictions for 2021 (January) stated that lithium, cobalt, nickel, and manganese are in the supply recovery phase, prices of all materials have gone down. However, nickel is at a five-year high. SECI has successfully concluded the hybrid branches and round the clock, which was taken up by the leading giants, including Adani and Ayana.

He added, “Then (comes) the standalone storage application by the discourse. Private DISCOMS and some public DISCOMS are talking about it.” Explaining the provisional ancillary services, he said, “The operational support to the grid to maintain power quality and grid reliability… can include primary frequency response and secondary results. So, there are many applications from the grid-connected aspect of it along with great opportunities for grid-connected rooftop, metering rooftop, and the off-grid market as well.”

On further talking about the subject, he highlighted, there was “SECI tender awarded at the beginning of the year for 1.2 GW of solar energy storage, both battery storage and pump hydro storage. Recently, CRC released the draft ancillary service regulations also, including energy storage as one of the key entities that would provide secondary and tertiary service (ancillary services). As regulations come into place we would need implementation.”

Concluding his address, he mentioned, “This sector holds huge promise in establishing an ecosystem that could boost the economy in India on many fronts. We just talk about technology but just imagine the research associated, development of technologies, deployment of technologies, technology transfers, manufacturing (with Govt of India’s support), skill development, business model, financing aspect, independent battery energy storage projects, policy and regulations, safety, quality assurance, transaction advisory aspect, technology integration, especially with the e-mobility, urban add (air) mobility holding huge promise for storage, state and central govt missions on energy storage and (finally) recycling and circularity aspect of storage.”

Ravinder Singh, Senior Product Manager Digital Power Business at Huawei (India) pitched in with information about Huawei’s smart string PV & energy storage solution. He mentioned, “As more and more penetration of renewable energy in (the) grid… (It is) becoming weaker day by day. That means (the) source circuit ratio goes down. In that case, present solutions shall have to be ready for future working at lower source circuit ratio with improved power quality and faster response. Already in many countries like Spain, Mexico, and even some parts of the big countries like India and China… Challenges (have) already started… and grid requirement (is) becoming now mandatory like in (the) UK, India, and Spain.”

He added, “So, promoting renewable energy from grid acceptance and adaptation to grid strengthening storage (has) now become (a) necessary requirement in (the) future. So, to make PV from grid follower to grid sporting source, proactive integration of PV storage with control algorithms is also required at the same stage.”

Sanjiv Kothari, Head Techno-Commercial at Adani Green Energy Limited, during the panel discussion, explained “There is a substantial penetration of renewable (energy)… As time passes… They say that by 2030 curtailment, which varies, of course, will reach about 15-30%… So, viability for the projects of solar becomes very difficult. You will show on a paper that I got a huge kind of renewable energy based on the project and assuming that the curtailment is less but as time passes this curtailment would go on increasing because I think it has a lot of solar penetration and the renewable, which is getting in… will result into the higher curtailment.”

He added, “So, when you do this storage system, you don’t only look at the cost of SUS, but you also need to see what compensation I am getting because you got a high storage system, high DC ratio and you got a huge amount… You got an absolute curtailment… You can use the advantage of having a BC coupling. Use this storage system and take that… What is the critical curtailment we have? So, it is about 4-5% broadly. So, that is a curtailment we have.

Now, when people do calculations, people… only look at LCAs, they may not consider these losses which are happening because of the curtailment. So, as time passes, this curtailment will go on increasing. And there is no compulsion on the part of DISCOM or somebody to say that no, there is no limit. They can do it. If at all there is more penetration, they will be left with no choice. So, what happens is as the market penetration of solar increases, there is more pressure on curtailment, and that will, in our view, give more impetus to all IPPs.”

While answering questions raised during the discussion Krishnan Rajagopalan, Head Global BD, and Proposals Renewables Hybrid & Energy Storage at Sterling and Wilson Pvt Ltd, stated, “We are a consumer economy, and most of our technology deployment is more towards how I can bring down my cost of power or cost of energy to more competitive nature. I also really agree with you that the largest deployment of storage will probably happen on the consumer side, which is either behind the meter application or the rooftop, or the grid side application. But today… For the large-scale grid deployment, the commercials are slightly above the yellow line, where the large-scale deployment is not happening.”

Adding to this, he stated, “It is also important that we need to look at it from a regulation side. Whether we do have regulations clearly put in place or investments to come in. When I say investments to come in, there should be a revenue mechanism for the investors so that the investment whether it is invested by the utility or… by the IPP. There should be a revenue mechanism for it, unfortunately, today many of our DISCOMS are facing financial trouble. So, whatever capital that you will deploy, whether it is for a transmission system, storage application, or a time shift application, somebody has to bear its cost. So, it will have an effect on the tariff. There should be a regulation or a mechanism by which this tariff increase can be absorbed.”

He later explained, “We feel that (in) coming years, the next two to three years, the investments will be (majorly) driven by investments or called by the government bodies like the SECI and the NTPC. We need to at least see a GW or a GW and half deployment of storage into the grid (See how they behave because different geographies, particularly Indian context, have a very different grid).”

Saravanan Manoharan, Solar PV Design & Engineering at Ayana Renewable Power Pvt Ltd, also shared his views on the subject. He said, “We see a lot of off-take challenges, which have to be probably addressed by the bidding agencies itself. But finally, even bidding agencies are relying on certain off-takers in terms of the state utilities, etc… You might be aware that a long time back there was a bundling scheme when the solar tariff was very high. NTPC used to buy solar power and they used to bundle it with their operating thermal assets and try to set up an optimal cost. So, probably… because of the idea of bringing in storage and hybridizations to improve the vulnerability on the bed, we have been trying to patronize the transmission line system. So, I think that premium probably has to be given to the developers by taking such decisions in terms of aligning an off-taker to that tariff. Otherwise, with the current 200 plus dollars per KW, we are still not achieving the tariffs which are expected by the off-takers… We are expecting this price to come down in terms of battery to the tune of a hundred KW. Then probably we will be able to achieve this three rupees or 3.5 rupees tariff, which is somehow closer to the current solar and renewable tariff.”

While discussing the emerging technology, he mentioned, “On the other hand we see a strong potential in terms of other storage options also. People are trying to type the pump hydro storage, maybe picking up the ramping up and ramping down requirements. We have to pick that call, and there are other new technologies (that) are coming like gravity storage. Even though there are bankability risks, we see a lot of potential in those technologies, also considering the cost and the technology… Probably when the time comes these hydro plants are becoming more difficult in terms of construction, because they are talking about three years, four years of construction… Probably this gravity and related storage system may take a different deal because already we are seeing a lot of OEMs, which are proposing such technologies to the market. So, overall we are trying to review our batteries as (a) proven technology. I don’t see an issue adopting (to it) and bankability as such. But there are a lot of innovations to come in terms of efficiency to bring down the cost of the battery to make it acquirable.”

As more economies advance and the power demand goes up, there is an increase in energy demands. With greater penetration of electric mobility, it is forecasted that the power demand will grow. It is understood that every natural source has its limitations, and even for solar, there is only so much energy the plates can absorb. This will naturally cause a rise in the demand for energy storage.

Anand Gupta Editor - EQ Int'l Media Network