India’s Ministry of Power has issued draft guidelines to procure power from pumped hydro storage projects to better integrate renewable energy capacity in the grid.
According to a document released by the ministry of power, the country envisages setting up 18 gigawatts of pumped hydro storage capacity. The projects shall be used to meet peak power demand using renewable power.
Pumped hydro storage works by pumping water from a reservoir at a lower elevation to another at higher elevation. The water is pumped up using low cost renewable power during periods of low power demand and high generation — like day time in case of solar power. When renewable power generation is reduced (after sunset or before sunrise), water stored in a reservoir at higher elevation is used to generate power through turbines. This makes pumped hydro power storage projects a highly efficient mode of storing renewable power (especially solar power) when generation is much higher than demand.
According to government data, India has eight pumped hydro storage projects of around 4.7 gigawatts. However, these are not actively operated in the pumped storage mode. Four other projects of 2.8 gigawatts capacity are under construction while 26 others with 26.6 gigawatts capacity have been allocated to states.
The government estimates 108 gigawatts of pumped storage potential in the country.
Another government agency, the Central Electricity Authority, recently estimated that India would require 18.8 gigawatts of pumped hydro storage capacity and 51.5 gigawatts of five-hour battery storage to integrate the 500 gigawatts of targeted renewable energy capacity by 2032.
India has only recently started floating tenders to develop storage projects. Most developers favor pumped hydro storage over battery storage despite the latter being more flexible in response time and applications. Pumped hydro is a tested technology with little to no dependence on imports.
Greenko Energy has been at the forefront of developing pumped storage projects in India and has successfully participated in several storage projects recently. The company has also tied up some large industrial groups to supply round-the-clock renewable energy using its storage projects spread across at least four states.
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