Future energy needs to push savings today

Written by Ajay Shankar

Storage options are essential for the decarbonization of power systems. To replace fossil fuels with wind and solar energy যার whose generation requires non-stop and variable-storage. The need for storage is almost at an angle for us, especially since solar energy, generated only during the day, is going to be the main driver in achieving the extremely ambitious 2030 goal, announced in COP26, to produce 500 GW of non-fossil fuels. Power of power.

India is looking forward to this. The Solar Electricity Corporation of India has invited bids for renewable energy, including storage, and has signed agreements with two bidders for a new domestic coal-fired power plant at a comparable rate. The move sparked confidence that accelerating the decarbonization of the power system was cost-effective. This further indicates that there is no need to build new coal-fired thermal power plants in India to meet the additional demand on purely minimal considerations, especially since existing thermal power was unused, some plants are idle and several are in pipelines
Guidelines for inviting bids for storage have been issued. SECI has recently started the process of procuring 500/1000 MWh battery energy storage system.
Since we are going to be one of the first in the world in large-scale storage, it would be wise to adopt a medium-term strategic approach aimed at increasing technology, potential price movements, and internal value addition and self-reliance. It is advisable to invite a few competitive bids for moderately sized projects for storage technology that is mature and ready for installation without battery storage. Based on operating experience and cost, it will be easier to choose to increase the scale — the determining factor should be whether their costs can be expected to be reasonable or reduced in volume. Local production, with a progressive increase in value addition, can be promoted in parallel.

The most mature technology for storage that has been established in the last century is the pump hydroelectric project. We have a plant with a capacity of about 3 gigawatts. Greenco has started work on a large 1,680 MW pump hydro plant in Andhra Pradesh as part of its 5,230 MW renewable energy project. For the Pump Hydro project, the main challenges are the issue of land acquisition / acquisition and its maintenance, human resettlement and civil works. Off-river pump storage projects are a recent concept with considerable promise. Site identification, project reporting, and land assembling are best done by a state agency. The PSUs of the Ministry of Power can set up a special purpose vehicle for this purpose. There will be uncertainty about construction costs and time as well as maximum electricity tariffs in the future. For projects that may be difficult to obtain private investment, a state-owned enterprise can absorb and develop risk with the state’s underlying guarantees. Long-term loans can be taken from new development financial institutions. These would also be good candidates for emerging global green finance.

Other promising storage technologies that offer easy scalability and fast cost reduction are solar thermal with storage using molten salt. Large mirrors at different angles reflect sunlight and concentrate on molten salt which stores energy. The stored energy is then used to run a conventional thermal turbine and to generate electricity to meet demand. In India, when mirrors are made on a larger scale, the cost of production will go down. An additional advantage is the availability of thermal power plant sites in the country where they can come as additional plants or as replacements. In addition, they offer the possibility of self-reliance. Site-specific studies of solar radiation require optimal design, high efficiency, and low tariffs. The competitive bidding process could give us plants that use thermal energy from LNG and imported coal to supply electricity at a rate comparable to new coal plants, where international gas and coal prices have risen in recent weeks. The goal of bringing tariffs down to 5 cents per unit / kilowatt hour through potential technological advances is being pursued in the United States.

Lithium-ion batteries are currently the world’s first runner in terms of battery storage. Costs are coming down. They are being used in electric vehicles by Auto Major. Demand for electric vehicles has begun to grow worldwide. These batteries use rare earths which can cause supply-like problems and increase demand in the future. There are other battery technologies suitable for grid storage, such as sodium ions and molten metal batteries. We should try that too.

It would be better for India to follow all storage options and have global borders on storage – in installation as well as in production. Early availability of storage can also become an affordable option to meet the growing maximum demand using off-peak surplus power.

Distinguished colleague, TERI; Former Secretary, Department of Industrial Policy and Publicity, Government of India

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