Battery storage is going gang busters in Australia, and other markets with need for flexibility and rapid power deployment are taking note. IEEFA expects India’s battery storage market to boom. “Continuing a decade-long deflation in costs, solar plus batteries is cost competitive with new coal-fired plants.”
Following India’s COP26 pledge to have net zero emissions by 2070, an expert committee appointed by the Union Power Ministry has tabled a plan to stop the addition of new coal-fired generating capacity. This committee has found that expected electricity demand can be met by renewable energy. It also pointed out that the current coal fleet is underutilized, only operating at 55% capacity.
A reliance on gas generation has proven uneconomical. Due to lack of domestic supply and high import prices, India’s 25GW of gas-fired capacity has had a utilization rate of below 20%.
The Hindu Business Line writes: “With the emphasis on accelerating the decarbonization of India’s power system, the committee recommends replacing retired capacity with technologies that could operate flexibly to support integration of 450GW of variable renewables (VRE) by 2030.
“Central Electricity Authority estimates 27GW/108GWh of battery storage capacity will be required to integrate 450GW of VRE by March 2030.”
Like other evolving power grids around the world, India is grappling with the integration of variable renewable energy. This is where batteries will need to come in to provide grid stability, as they can charge and discharge rapidly as the need arises. Australia’s experience can inform India’s energy transformation.
“In terms of flexibility, battery storage is the most proven technology to provide fast ramp-up and ramp-down energy dispatch and fast frequency service. Batteries ramp-up to full load in a minute and can also absorb excess power from the grid.”
The government is providing incentives for the local manufacture of batteries worth $2.47 billion for 50 GWh of battery storage for electric vehicles (EVs) and stationary battery storage. Private industry is also involved (e.g., ReNew Power and Fluence Energy have announced a joint venture to develop a 150MWh storage facility in Karnataka).
As this giant transitions from fossil fuel dependency to renewable energy, we can hope to see the unleashing of the industrial behemoth that has been promised since we first started talking about Chindia.