Slide from Michael Barnard's seminar on grid storage through the Indian Smart Grid Forum

Balancing Renewables Requires Big Grid Storage, But What Kinds? (India Seminar Slides & Transcript)

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Under the auspices of the India Smart Grid Forum, the think tank founded as an umbrella organization over India’s 28 state utilities to provide thought leadership, share leading practices, and bring international insights to India, I’m delivering bi-weekly webinars framed by the Short List of Climate Actions That Will Work. With the glories of online recordings and AI transcription tools, it’s relatively easy to share both the transcript, and also the slides that I used, so I’m making a habit of it.

Most recently, I held a seminar n the theme of storage technologies the grid. For those who prefer talk-talk to read-read, here’s the recorded video of the presentation and discussion.

Reji Kumar Pillai (RKP): Good morning, good afternoon, good evening to all the participants from around the world. My pleasure to welcome you all for this fourth edition of this webinar series. Today we’ll be talking about energy storage. Decades ago, when we studied electrical engineering, we were taught that electrical energy cannot be stored. It has to be that generation and demand has to be marched perfectly in every cycle. But storage, as different storage technologies have been, we’ve been using for several decades, much before that. So pumped hydro storage is traditionally used it, although its efficiency is much less 55% to 70%. Most of the pump storage plants operating the energy price arbitration, though they are still viable. When your surplus energy, which is available at two cent and at peak hours, you can sell it at 1015 $0.20. So that becomes viable commercially.

But the problems with pump storage hydro is that it is highly geographically dependent, although now people started making different systems for making two reservoirs at the two elevations artificially. But it takes a long time, long, huge capex and you need water. Also, there are traditionally many other electrochemical technologies for energy storage, compulsory technologies for energy storage, several of them. In 2018 2019, India’s market forum was tasked with the assignment of preparing a energy storage rotoma for India by 2032. What would be our energy storage requirement for the grid, based on the renewable energy program which we were pursuing at that point in time. So we did modeling studies, we examined different regions, different states of India, and finally we prepared an energy storage roadmap, which was adopted by Nidhi Ayog, our policy think tank and MNRE MoP and Central City Authority.

It was issued, it’s a public document. It’s available on all this website, including ISDF website. So during the course of that preparation of that energy storage roadmap. We examined deeply the technological challenges, commercial viability of each of the technologies, the mechanical, electrical, electrochemical, all technologies, from flywheel to everything we examine and what is immediately viable in the near future by 2032. This was published in 2019. By the 2032 time frame in this decade, what is going to be commercially viable, technically viable. So we had finally come to the conclusion that we will recommend only batteries at this point in time. The reason being there, it attracted a lot of criticism from many vulnerable people, saying that you didn’t consider pumped hydro, you didn’t consider this, that. So pump on the pump hydro. There are more than two dozen projects which were detailed.

Project reports were available for the last three decades, but no work has happened. Only one project which was completed sometime in 2005 2006 in West Bengal. That’s only last major pumped hydro storage plant commissioned. And now I am told that in this month or next month in Kerala, another plant will be commissioned. So looking at several challenges and the immediate need for India was pursuing a program of 175 gigawatt of renewable energy by 2022. Now it’s 24. We already have close to 140. Solar plus wind is about 135 today. So we need, the need for storage is imminent. And this kind of technology, which has several dependencies, is difficult to connect to the grid or deploy it. So we found at that point in time in 2018 to 19, when we finally decided we will recommend battery energy storage for the grid support.

Immediately we assess the price. That’s the time when the battery prices had just come down below $200 per kilowatt hour. 2018 and 2019, it was somewhere at that number, $190 per kilowatt hour. We found that it will further go down. It will come somewhere near a hundred dollars by 2025. That’s what we had in the best estimates we had that time, it will come plus up to 100. But just after Covid, it has already gone below $100. And early this year, the world’s largest battery manufacturing company, CATL, reduced their prices by 40%. It has now come down to 50 LFP battery prices. $56 per megawatt hour kilowatt hour $56 per kilowatt hour. So when we prepare the energy storage roadmap, today’s price is almost one fourth.

So as we stand, most of the people are agreeing to the fact that the battery is the way forward, although its life is not very long as we expect. A pump storage hydro plant runs for 50 years, 70 years. Hundred years. A battery may give you a maximum of ten years or twelve years. But the advantage with batteries is that it can be deployed in less than one year, even in even 100 megawatt, 500 megawatt battery energy storage systems can be deployed at the maximum twelve to 18 months. And in many cases it has been proven that such large hundreds of megawatt scale BSS plants are constructed in less than 100 years and can be moved from one location to another location. It can be used for different applications. So it has its versatility. But today I won’t take much time.

So there are many new technologies which you will hear about. Just before the COVID a new set of gravity storage, people were going around raising capital. So not a single successful gravity storage project has been elevated yet. Although one such company, the front runner, is claiming that they have commissioned a plant in China and they were to do it in Switzerland. And they claim that they have commissioned a plant in China very recently, sometime in November or December, and a couple of other people in the UK and in America are also working on the gravity storage. We have yet to see the real performance of that. What is the round trip efficiency? We also see many people doing pumped thermal energy storage. I expect and hope that technology will become viable commercially sometime at least in the next decade.

And there are many other things in the labs, different people are working all across the globe. We keep a close watch of what is happening where the latest, which I see is supercritical CO2 based brighten cycle. So which is another technology which we hope that maybe in the next five to ten years it will be commercially viable to deploy. So while all these are of immediate need, the rate at which the renewables are increasing on the grid, everywhere on earth, India, in Europe, in America, Australia, every part of the world, the solar and wind is increasing at a faster pace. So we have currently about twelve gigawatt of renewables connected to the distribution grid. And very recently, our prime minister announced a program of 10 million rooftop solar in just three years, with a cumulative capacity of 30 gigawatt.

So how and that 30 gigawatt of 10 million rooftop will happen? It can happen in three or four years. But to manage that, we need storage in every feeder or every substation. Distribution companies are going to struggle to manage these things. So I will hand over the stage to Michael. He will talk about different technology storage technologies for different applications. Over to Michael. Sorry I took more time today.

Slide from Michael Barnard's seminar on grid storage through the Indian Smart Grid Forum
Slide from Michael Barnard’s seminar on grid storage through the Indian Smart Grid Forum

Michael Barnard (MB): Thank you, Reji. And thank you ISFG. As we’re 21 minutes into the hour, I will be going through these slides more quickly than I anticipated. So let’s break this down into chunks. So we understand, Reji is completely right, that the demand point today is for stuff that battery technology works well. What we have is a case where we need frequency and voltage ancillary services, where there’s response time must be in milliseconds, and we need peaker and solar time shifting from the day later on, we’re going to need longer duration storage, where the energy and power are decoupled, and we’re going to need strategic reserves for the ten to 100 year time frames when there’s no wind and there’s no solar for an extended period of time.

Less of a concern India, where the solar is much more consistent, but still something that has to be planned for. And so the question becomes, how do we provide storage of different types across those technologies?

Slide from Michael Barnard's seminar on grid storage through the Indian Smart Grid Forum
Slide from Michael Barnard’s seminar on grid storage through the Indian Smart Grid Forum

One of the key things we want to try and do, and one of the advantages of the emergence of storage is that curve in the back, that jagged line, is a typical curve from India’s power demand. From a study that was done a few years ago, it’s probably changed now. The duck curve line, that black line indicates that as solar comes online and they mid at midday, demand and supply change substantially. And so what we have is a nighttime drop when there’s potentially a lot of wind on the grid.

And that wind can be used to shift demand for charging vehicles, for buffering truck stops, for heating hot water, for homes and for commercial buildings, and for charging vehicles of all kinds. It can also be used to put into grid storage. But the duck curve can also be a time for shifting demand to that midday solar peak or to atom peak storage. And the intent is to flatten that big spike over on the right. That black line across the top indicates a high degree of distribution grid utilization. Right now, in the United States and Europe, grid utilization is 50. Distribution grid utilization is 50% to 60% India, per the sources I have, it’s lower due to some other constraints. However, that’s a. You know, the material I had is not necessarily up to date. Perhaps Reji, at the end of this, can articulate it.

The value proposition, one of the value propositions, is that storage and this demand shifting can enable utilities to get a lot more out of the distribution grid assets and thus have a lower cost per customer. For the distribution grid side of things, it’s a much more viable, useful thing.

Slide from Michael Barnard's seminar on grid storage through the Indian Smart Grid Forum
Slide from Michael Barnard’s seminar on grid storage through the Indian Smart Grid Forum

As Reji said, there’s a lot of energy technologies. This is a framework I tend to use to communicate where there’s a lot of hype up in the sexy and foolish space virtual hydrogen for energy and all these things is up in the sexy and foolish space. But that practical column gets to the heart of the matter right now. Grid lithium ion especially. But emerging chemistries like LFP are getting a lot of attention.

They’re easy to put in, they’re increasingly cheap, but they couple energy and power that’s suitable for that shorter period, their current duration. As we move forward, energy and power is going to become disadvantageous. We have to put in more and more and more batteries just to get the energy. And that power capability is different. So I’ll talk a bit more about that later. But redox flow is there. We’ve got smart charging for demand management. We’ve got pumped hydro, passive hydro. We’re damned. They’re not treated as baseload, but as on demand peakers. So we allow them to be more flexible and nature fills them, and then we need some strategic reserves.

And my preference is capturing the methane that comes out of our existing human caused activities, like landfills and dairy barns and other things, and putting that slowly into strategic methane reserves and just running combined cycle gas generation plants. And of course, heat storage. There’s some stuff where it’s sexy and foolish, like generating electricity from it, but it’s pretty good for a lot of things, which we’re not using it for. It’s a great place where if you need hot water during the day for cooking, cleaning, and you heat it at night when the electricity is cheap with a heat pump, you’ve got a tremendous optimization just with that technology.

Slide from Michael Barnard's seminar on grid storage through the Indian Smart Grid Forum
Slide from Michael Barnard’s seminar on grid storage through the Indian Smart Grid Forum

So I’m much more bullish on pumped hydro than Reji is. Statistics I’ve seen on well designed and well managed pumped hydro indicate they’re 80% round trip, been on the grid for a long time and they are still dominant in terms of grid storage from a power, and especially in an energy perspective, that’s not a very old circle diagram pie chart on the side, 98% of the deployed grid storage was pumped hydro. The IEA’s most recent report on battery storage indicates massive deployment of batteries, but that’s almost entirely inside electric vehicles, not on grid storage. So while we’re seeing a lot of attention paid and a lot of value from battery electric, it’s not. It’s a bit of an availability bias in terms of what we’re actually seeing, in terms of how it’s actually coming about.

When I talk to battery storage and grid storage people in the UK, for example, like Mark Wilson, he’s developing both pumped hydro and batteries. And his perspective for the UK, the battery side, the cell based battery side, they’re going to be complete with the need for that component of storage in 2028 or 2029 at current velocity. In other words, while they’re going to put, they’re going to be able to fulfill that short term need completely and do it quickly. But it’s a short term opportunity. And that’s my perspective on a lot of this, is that there’s going to be a point where the battery’s coupling of energy and power falls down. Now, I’m challenged on that in a couple of ways, which I’ll speak to at the end, because there’s a changing dynamic.

Slide from Michael Barnard's seminar on grid storage through the Indian Smart Grid Forum
Slide from Michael Barnard’s seminar on grid storage through the Indian Smart Grid Forum

We also talk about vehicle-to-grid. Every time I talk about storage, people say, well, we’re going to have all these batteries in the vehicles, which we do. We’re going to have lots of them. My estimation is we’re going to have 20 gigawatt hours of batteries in electric vehicles, electric personal vehicles in the United States alone by 2050. A lot. But there’s challenges there. Now, I think that the smart charging top line is going to dominate. Basically, India’s already got a time of use billing that is pushing people into the solar peaks, into the solar periods and into nighttime by setting a pricing exactly the right thing to do. But I will say for India’s sake.

Because of behavioral economics, the way that people actually think, people, that kind of works, and it kind of doesn’t. The best way is if the price signal is sent to an automated solution which optimizes for the customer around a policy which they have to opt out of. In other words, smart chargers say, unless the customer tells me otherwise, I’m going to only charge in periods when there’s high solar, there’s low costs of electricity. For one reason or another, that automation coupling needs to start emerging. Some of that for multi unit residential buildings with electric vehicle charging in the parkades becomes automatic because typically the multi unit resident is paying for the electricity and they’re paying for that power peak.

I’m paying quite a lot in my building of roughly 300 or 400 residents, we pay about 25% of our electricity bill at the power peak value. And so as we explore charging for the building, we are explicitly looking at smart charges that push that out. So some of them will just occur naturally. Then there’s the opportunity for aggregated large organizations that provide charging and fleets to work with utilities to tie into demand management solutions that the electricity management systems of utilities already use to contract with them for reduced charging power in times of high demand. As an opportunity.

But there’s also an opportunity for, with the lowering battery prices for fleets and truck stops and other high demand areas to build enough batteries that they can actually charge them at a consistent power level for 24 hours and provide all the services, effectively turning the battery into a flat energy demand, a very consistent energy demand, which utilities have a different value for. The cheapest rates in many jurisdictions are for industrial demand power, which is absolutely consistent. Now, that’s Quebec, where there’s lots of hydro. There’s some interesting modeling to be done around that. And vehicle to grid and vehicle to home are just lower likelihood things. They’re very hot. And North America, where everybody has a detached home and everybody has a driveway and they’re not in a multi unit residential building.

But that doesn’t describe most of the world and that doesn’t describe most of India. And so that vehicle to grid, perhaps in commercial fleet perspectives, but I suspect not there because they need the electricity to do their jobs.

Slide from Michael Barnard's seminar on grid storage through the Indian Smart Grid Forum
Slide from Michael Barnard’s seminar on grid storage through the Indian Smart Grid Forum

So as I look at grid storage technologies, I abstracted up the attributes of storage to determine the requirements as we think across them. So how long does storage last, that energy versus power flexibility, which becomes important later in the cycle of decarbonization, the cost per megawatt longevity, as mentioned, the cycle count, how long does it last? How many times can you whip through it before it starts to degrade? How long does it takes to build viability at multiple scales?

Because I’m going to say it very clearly, if you’re not talking a gigawatt of power or approaching a gigawatt of power, and ten, you know, five to ten to 30 gigawatt hours of energy, why bother with pumped hydro? It’s a big thing. Maturity, environmental risks, current deployment. How often is, like I said, pumped hydro is over, and that geographical flexibility thing. So we’ve got pretty good coverage with pumped hydro, and it’s why I’m bullish on it. It’s got all these attributes which make it valuable, and it’s not something we need right now as much, because that energy requirement is different. We need the power and we need the grid stabilization today. So I completely agree with Reji and the ISGS modeling about what India should be doing in the short term. I disagree in the long term.

Slide from Michael Barnard's seminar on grid storage through the Indian Smart Grid Forum
Slide from Michael Barnard’s seminar on grid storage through the Indian Smart Grid Forum

So the next one is lithium ion batteries, but quite differently. Spiky. Now, this chart is a look at the cost per megawatt hour. This chart is from a couple of years ago. And I, like everybody, am surprised by how fast battery prices have been plummeting. We’re all even battery optimists as I am, I’m strongly a battery optimist. Not saying anything against lithium ion as a grid storage technology, or lithium phosphate or other chemistries. It’s just the price point reductions are mind boggling. So when I redo this, as I redo my projections every two to four years, as new data comes in, I’m undoubtedly going to make this a bit different. I’m going to assess that cost. Longevity is a problem. Pumped hydro, it’s 100 to 125 year asset. It’s not expensive to maintain.

And every ten years or so, ten to 15 years, you’re going to have to replace the cell based battery solutions. Great if you need the power and instantaneity, not so great if you need the other stuff. It’s mineable and all that stuff. And so we start seeing the construction time being very viable. The viability at multiple scales is so important. One of the reasons we keep being surprised is that anything that can go into a personal electric vehicle of any type gets built by the millions and billions of cells, and that drives down the cost per cell tremendously. So, lots of great stuff. Current deployment is. There’s certainly more current deployment of grid storage, but nowhere near the level of actual power from pumped hydra.

Slide from Michael Barnard's seminar on grid storage through the Indian Smart Grid Forum
Slide from Michael Barnard’s seminar on grid storage through the Indian Smart Grid Forum

Redox flow batteries are interesting. They’re another set. You know, they’re basically something like a fuel cell between a couple of tanks of chemicals that as you put electricity in there, chemicals flow through, and it’s the same thing as a small cell based battery, but it decouples energy and power again. So, as we move into the value proposition of redox, flow batteries increase, and they have geographical flexibility, which pumped Hydra doesn’t. And I’m going to say the following very carefully. If we didn’t have high voltage, direct current transmission, I would care more about geographical flexibility. But we’re transmitting power all over the place anyway through highly efficient cables. So the fact that you don’t have pumped hydro facilities available in New Delhi doesn’t really seem as relevant to me. You just need to build the transmission, and India is certainly good at that.

Slide from Michael Barnard's seminar on grid storage through the Indian Smart Grid Forum
Slide from Michael Barnard’s seminar on grid storage through the Indian Smart Grid Forum

So these things, for me, say that for the technologies of grid storage of the future, pumped redox flow batteries, pumped hydro and lithium ion batteries, or cell based batteries are going to be dominant. Now that price point changes. I’ve had this discussion with infrastructure funds in Europe. They’ve asked me, as these things get cheaper, does it really just not matter? Will we just put more and more batteries on? Because we can waste the power capability, but the energy is cheaper? And that’s a really good question. I’ve adjusted this slightly. I have to come back to that and think about it more. The point here is, as we go through this, I’m not addressing in this the strategic reserves, but pump tides that shift in energy requirements versus power requirements as we move through the end game of decarbonization becomes important.

You notice you’re seeing the majority of the increase here. But I will also say the following. The big increase here. One of the things I like to do when I look at things is ask what’s China doing at scale? Because whatever they’re doing at scale and at speed is probably the right answer in the majority of situations outside of China, just because they’re ahead of the curve on some of this. Electrified buses. Yeah, okay. Electric buses are one of our hot fuel cell buses because they have 600,000 electric buses and 3000 4000 fuel cell buses. Probably an indication that electric buses are fit for purpose. And in China they already have, since I built this initial projection, added 50 gigawatts of power, possibly a terawatt hour of energy storage in the form of operational pumped hydro.

And they have another 365 gigawatts of power, possibly representing eight or twelve terawatt hours of energy. As we look at China, we say, they’re going big, very big on pumped hydro. That is an indicator that we should be thinking about pumped hydro as a strategic thing for the long term energy storage, because we learn from the people who are doing it right. And China is doing a lot of stuff right. So that’s a counter argument to dismissal of pumped hydro, in my opinion.

Slide from Michael Barnard's seminar on grid storage through the Indian Smart Grid Forum
Slide from Michael Barnard’s seminar on grid storage through the Indian Smart Grid Forum

And then there’s the other thing. You know, India is just not a place where this, like the prairies in the United States, or the northern steppes where the Ukraine is in Europe, it’s not all flat. There’s a lot of pumped hydro assets, resources that could be taken advantage of. This is the Australian National University’s greenfield pumped hydro.

Pumped hydro resource map for India and surrounding area. And all of those dots you can see over here, you know, five terawatt hours, 200 hours, you know, 1.5 terawatt hours. You know, there’s a lot of energy storage available in these resource locations. And this is specifically for closed loop off river pumped hydro. So not damming a river or a stream, but finding a place where you’ve got 400 meters or more of head height. And you can put a little dam on a gully up in the hill and you can build, dig a hole down at the bottom, dig a tunnel between them and get energy storage at 500 meters of head height with 1 km² pond at the top of the bottom, holding a gigalitre of water and putting it up and down. That’s a gigawatt hour of energy.

The resource potential to add gigawatt hours is just making the reservoir bigger, and that’s cheaper to make reservoirs bigger than almost anything else we do in this context. So as we get into energy storage, as opposed to the reactive, the fast power response type of thing, my perspective is that pumped hydro is going to, as it is in China, see a significant resurgence. But that doesn’t mean that I know India’s conditions well enough to say that there are all these different colored dots that aren’t right where people have properties and villages and existing uses. And so I don’t know that. What I do know is that ANU looked at close to transmission off of protected lands, 400 meters or more of head height, and the availability of top and bottom reservoirs within a couple of kilometers of one another. So, pretty good starting point.

They found 100 times the resource capacity of pumped hydro as total energy storage needs for the world. And it’s just water. It doesn’t consume water, it doesn’t have to be purified. Water goes up, it goes down, the water gets bored. Strong value proposition for that.

Slide from Michael Barnard's seminar on grid storage through the Indian Smart Grid Forum
Slide from Michael Barnard’s seminar on grid storage through the Indian Smart Grid Forum

There’s also brownfields. These are places where there are existing mines or existing facilities that can be converted to pumped hydro, and to provide that value proposition. In some places where there’s been a lot of mining, as in Quebec, for example, working on a pumped hydro project, which takes a couple of old asbestos open pit mines and is considering repurposing them for that purpose. And they’ve got the potential for a gigawatt of power and 26 gigawatt hours of storage conveniently located on the grid.

The numbers get very staggering with pumped hydro pretty quickly, and it’s stuff that normal that people can do quite easily. But far from a slam dunk, as Reji points out, I look at this and I share How Big Things Get Done.

Slide from Michael Barnard's seminar on grid storage through the Indian Smart Grid Forum
Slide from Michael Barnard’s seminar on grid storage through the Indian Smart Grid Forum

I was actually speaking to Oxford Global Projects, the organization that Bent Flyvbjerg founded just yesterday, about pumped hydro and various things. But cell based battery storage, while they don’t have them in their 25 categories of megaprojects, they have over 16,000 megaprojects, over a billion dollars, US dollars of cost in their data set. Now, they’ve been assembling it since 1998 or so, and they don’t have grid storage categorized yet. So cell based battery storage is not present, but it’s going to be up there. Solar and wind power, it’s very low risk to deploy.

Famously, somebody in Australia said, hey, Elon Musk, can you get us some battery storage? And Elon said, how much? 100 MW power. And Elon said, three months or it’s free. That’s like solar. It’s that easy. Pour slab. Drop some shipping containers on, wire them on. The risks are low. On the other hand, as I engage around some of that, as I’m engaging with the client around potential de-risking of a pumped hydro facility with all that energy, it involves tunneling and dams, which have longer long tailed risk, more things can go wrong. Anytime you dig underground, there’s the risk of running into an igneous intrusion of rock, which is much harder than the surrounding ground. And that jams. Tunnel boring machines stomp some of their tracks. Snowy River Two has done a very poor job of de-risking their tunneling.

They didn’t do sufficient geological surveys, they didn’t know what was down there. And as a result, their tunnel boring machine is stuck. It’s a 150 meters long machine and it’s stuck 195 meters into tunneling. So there are risks associated with that. But it’s a strategic resource. It’s a much more strategic infrastructure play than batteries. I think India really should reconsider and start saying strategically, what are our energy requirements versus our power requirements? And how do we start building our energy requirements now while fulfilling our power requirements in the short term of the batteries? Because I think that’s going to be a split as we move forward. So that was as quick as I could get through those slides. So let’s flip it back to Reji for moderation.

Slide from Michael Barnard's seminar on grid storage through the Indian Smart Grid Forum
Slide from Michael Barnard’s seminar on grid storage through the Indian Smart Grid Forum

RKP: In the beginning, one of the slides you talked about, vehicle to grid in the fullest segment. That’s something which we are very good at in India. We hope it will work and we are going to do a demonstration project. So this is AC V 2G. We are very, what you call in the last stages of preparation for doing it, maybe that four vehicles for suv’s will be retrofitted with bi directional charges inside the car as well as bi directional charges connected to the grid. And four different utilities India, three in Delhi, one in Kerala, will be managing this for a. I mean, from July onwards, this will be on trial for six months.

So we hope this is something which we can really leverage for great flexibility because millions of vehicles will be sitting during the day, during the evening, peak hours. So we are also going to have a differential tariff for electricity today. Residential people pay, and most of the commercial people also pay flat tariffs across the month. Irrespective of what time you use electricity, your tariff is flat, but it’s going to change government. As most of you know, India is rolling out 250 million smart meters. When the smart metering rollout is completed, the government has already said the regulators may go for differential tariffs. So in the afternoon hours, when we have higher solar generation, when there is surplus power on the grid, we should give rebates. Up to 20% rebate can be given. That’s the time many of the electric vehicles can charge.

And later in the evening, up to 20% surcharge can be levied over and above the existing tariff. This is something which we had done a very interesting pilot project two years ago in one of the states, one of the cities in north India, we found it quite interesting. I mean, not with V 2g, but with the giving price signals, offering surplus generation awards, giving rebate and peak hours, making living a surcharge. This went quite well. So anyway, we won’t divert from the subject, the V 2g part. We think there is a potential that can be leveraged for great flexibility, and we are demonstrating that very soon.

MB: My arguments against vehicle to grid mostly come down to the cognitive side of it. There is, as I look at what Kahneman won his Nobel Prize for, it was prospect theory. Prospect theory says that people value something. They value potential loss more than they value potential gain. And they, you know, it’s part of the reality that anything you own, you value much more highly than other people do. This falls into real estate. There’s a whole bunch of psychology around this, but what that means is that for people who have electricity in their vehicles, they consider that to be theirs, and they consider it to be of higher value than most utilities will most of the time. And they will fear loss of range, they’ll fear loss of utility of their vehicles.

And so there’s circumstances under which that can work. But in my modeling of the actual use of vehicles, frequently, the majority of the vehicles which are low use vehicles, personal electric vehicles, which, by the way, are fewer India than in North America and west, those are frequently traveling in, those are frequently traveling during peak demand hours, and they’re frequently back home moderating. Yeah. And the people with those vehicles will not feel they’re valuable. Now, that said, there’s, you know, for fleets, I’ve been looking at a lot of fleets, and the expectation for a lot of fleets is very high usage power now, if there is a fleet which is a commercial fleet, which is purely a daytime hours commercial fleet, that’s a strong opportunity for some nighttime stuff.

But I still consider vehicles to be more of a demand management opportunity for utilities than a vehicle to grid opportunity. I’ve proven wrong. I have been proven wrong on other things as well.

RKP: So the two things, one, the current demonstration which you are doing India is with the suv’s, the small suv’s which has 40 kilowatt hour batteries. And as you may be knowing, as others would be knowing in V 2G, normally we do shallow charging and discharging. Shallow discharging, it never goes below 30%. So we expect that people don’t have. There are enough use cases, there are enough pilot projects and studies which say that battery participation in V 2G is not going to kill the battery earlier than its warranty life. So there are some studies which say that, in fact, the vehicles which are participating see battery life have improved. In fact, the slow shallow charging and discharging have a massaging effect on the battery and its life is extended.

Another very interesting case which we are doing, and I’m, is that we are also very keen on. Although they couldn’t do much because of the electricity, regulators have not been forward looking. It’s coal bus electrification. There are thousands of school buses in each city, which Reji runs for 2 hours in the morning.

Questions from participants from Michael Barnard's seminar on grid storage through the Indian Smart Grid Forum
Questions from participants from Michael Barnard’s seminar on grid storage through the Indian Smart Grid Forum

MB: As we start considering the power versus energy, we start considering terawatt hours of energy storage. We need to scale the energy much more than the power. And that’s to the point where cell based batteries have a tight coupling of power and energy and so decoupling that redox flow batteries are part of that solution. Pumped hydro, in my opinion, is part of that solution as well. But typically you’re still going to only get down to a limit of perhaps 72 hours for pumped hydro. Given the potential. As we look forward, the. My perspective is we’re already storing energy in bulk. In most countries, it’s strategic reserves of natural gas. Natural gas is just methane.

As we move forward, it makes sense to me to divert the methane that we create biologically from biological processes in our economy, divert that into the long term natural gas storage facilities we know, methane is much less leaky than hydrogen and methane. Anthropogenic biomethane is a huge climate problem. And so diverting that serves both climate change actions in terms of reducing methane emissions, but also provides some of that strategic energy reserve between.

To answer the second question, differentiating between greenfield and brownfield pumped hydro. Greenfield pumped hydro builds the reservoirs where there are no reservoirs. Builds one up on the top of the hill. We’re in a gully, one at the bottom of the hill, and build a pond between them. A brownfield pumped hydro. There are two categories of that.

The first is where there are existing open pit mines or mines that are suitable for it. You already have reservoirs with height differentiation between them. Possibly not both reservoirs, but you have part of the infrastructure built. You need to do some engineering to stabilize the slopes to make it able to deal with moving water, those types of things. But you’ve got parted infrastructure and you can rebuild it. The second category are some existing dams that are suitable for adding pumped hydro capability to. This one is an interesting one because you need a very big lake downstream from the dam in order for that to work. If you’re just taking it from the river, that doesn’t make much sense. So you need a big reservoir of water downstream that’s natural mostly for that to work. There are some variants there, but those are the two categories.

Existing mining sites that are tapped out and existing dams where it is viable at pumped hydro from a nuclear power plant. I’m going to say that’s not an energy storage solution question and we will have more of a discussion. And another thing, I’ll just say that module, nuclear power plants are in the sexy and foolish category and leave it at that.

Questions from participants from Michael Barnard's seminar on grid storage through the Indian Smart Grid Forum
Questions from participants from Michael Barnard’s seminar on grid storage through the Indian Smart Grid Forum

So storage is required in EVs, storage is required in the grid. Storage seems to take a while, and cannot be fully catered. Storage needs to be deployed strategically. How this challenge of storage deployment can be handled, to paraphrase what I understand is being asked, there’s all those varieties of duration and speed of response to storage and there’s storage behind the meter, there’s storage in vehicles. The question I believe is how can we figure out what to do? And India has already done the first cut at this ISGF lender. Reji has done a study and they said, okay, here’s the patterns. I’ve done the study and said, here’s the patterns.

The need is to redo those studies and say, okay, with this emergent understanding of leading practices from different parts of the world, with the decline in battery costs, with the growth of pumped hydro, in major geographies that are leading in some of these things, revisit that and say, okay, here’s what we thought was true. Here’s what we think is true. Now then, of course, as you move forward, it’s a policy and strategy question. So some of that is pure price signals, as Reji was talking about, with rebates and time of use, billing and smart metering, which drives behavior to a certain point. Others of it is recognizing limits, trying to get humans who are messy brains to do anything in their best interest economically, because we’re not rational actors.

We do stuff because it feels good at the moment and getting some of that automated so that there’s an automatic demand management side that diminishes those costs. Others of it is incenting behind the meter batteries. The example that I give you is, I was looking at the spread in the west of heavy duty trucking, what they call class eight vehicles in North America, 29 to 49 tons, road vehicles with freight on them. And in that case, as we look at that, look at the energy demand and the power demand in truck stops, cheap batteries make that much more viable, and you don’t have to. While a five megawatt power grid connection can take years to build, a, you know, 500 kilowatt hour grid connection is easy.

If a battery buffer can give you 24 hours of energy at a steady state and then deliver that power to trucks. Now, with the cheaper batteries, we have that battery buffering opportunity for places where there’s spiky power demands, and so we can trade battery storage for that. And that’s the kind of thing that gets into the next round of storage. Energy storage strategies and organizations like the ISGF and the utilities India need to spend time thinking through this new world we inhabit and say, okay, in this world, what are our long term needs when we need them? What are our opportunities for buffering? How can we avoid grid distribution, grid costs driving up our capacity factors in our distribution grid, and then assembling a bunch of leverage from incentives to regulations to flat out buying and building infrastructure. It’s non trivial.

So question six is also not about energy storage. And so I’m going to defer that one energy storage just simply because we have the power side of it and stuff. I would prefer to stick to the storage topic this time around in the interest of time. We are at the hour.

So I’ve heard lithium ion batteries are above 45 degrees celsius. Celsius has issues for electric vehicles. Is it so? Yes. There are thermal management requirements for electric vehicle batteries. That’s why Tesla started putting heat pumps in their cars and suvs quite a while ago. They were leading in that regard because they discovered that thermal management of the battery package led to greater power efficiency and greater energy efficiency. And so the heat pump can move that around.

If you have a poorly constructed lithium ion battery pack without thermal management, it’s more of a problem in the case of. But I’ll compare and contrast diesel engines. A diesel engine has to heat up in a colder climate. A diesel engine has to be heated with a block heater for an extended period of time before the conditions are right for it to start. And you can do the same with the IM battery pack. If you’re in a colder climate or a hotter climate, you can. And you know you’re going to drive in ten minutes. You start that thermal management, and then when you start the car and are moving the car, the battery is at the right temperature, the optimal temperature, and it’s not a big power drain because it’s heat pumps. So all manageable.

But crappy cars and crappy lithium and battery packs frequently have crappy energy management. So be aware of that.

Questions from participants from Michael Barnard's seminar on grid storage through the Indian Smart Grid Forum
Questions from participants from Michael Barnard’s seminar on grid storage through the Indian Smart Grid Forum

Are there any regulations and standards to look out for when looking at BSS, product or project developments? If not, what areas do you see them come up in the future? So regulations and standards as this is an India focused thing. I don’t know the specifics, regulations and standards within India. And so Reji, perhaps you could field this question.

RKP: We have standards. The Bureau of Indian Standard issued some standards on battery energy storage systems, but on the regulation side, it is still silent. Despite that, we have been issuing projects now, renewable energy projects with round the clock RTC we called round the clock power availability. So those projects are being built with storage and they build our capacity and also they build storage. Some of them, the first generation of those going to be live or commissioned this year are going to come with pumped hydro storage. And some of them next year, which will be coming online will be this RTC project. Big ones. These are all gigawatt scale 1. That kind of project is going to be with battery storage. But a clear regulation on that is still missing.

There is ancillary services regulation, which was issued two years ago, which is talking about ancillary services only at the transmission level, not at that distribution level. So these things will evolve soon.

MB: I will say that the opportunity around chemistries is a global concern. A bit of a hysteria that’s being promoted by people opposed to transition about lithium ion batteries going up in flames. There is a much lower incident of lithium ion battery grid storage and behind the meter storage facilities catching fire when they do catch fire, in many cases, fire departments are not prepared to deal with the characteristics of the fire. And so there’s differences in that, and there’s an emergent set of looking at that. Battery pack systems go up in flames a lot less often than diesel backup generators. Battery electric cars go up in flames a lot less often than gasoline or diesel vehicles. It’s inherently safer, but the characteristics mean that there’s a lot of concern about it.

In the west, we’re seeing fire departments putting in regulations that you can’t put a battery storage system underground in a campus. For example, the University of Toronto’s most recent example I’m aware of, despite having permitting electric cars to park underground. It’s a completely, you know, a clearly disparate thing, and I’m not sure if it’s the same in India, but fire departments have been incredibly effective in North America in gaining all the funds for emergency responses. So they’re starving the ambulance service, despite being really good at avoiding fires. So we have very, very few fires, and they’re blown out of all proportion by the fire department because they get a budget for it. For example, in the Toronto area, which is 8 million people, a tiny place by Indian standards, but 8 million people. It’s big for Canada.

The fire department was promoting the doubling of battery electric fires between 2022 and 2023. The number of fires went up to 56. 56 small fires in a population of 8 million people. You look at the actual statistics, they’re trivial. But be aware that as you kind of look at this, some of this hysteria will be spreading India as well. Probably.

However, moving on, question nine. Can the storage scenarios be changed with the advancement of lithium ion or vanadium redox flow battery storage technologies? Yes. So lithium ion, the advancement there is not lithium ion, but lithium phosphate and sodium and other chemistries. One of the advantages of battery technologies is there are a lot of ways to store electricity with metals and nonmetals.

There’s emergence, for example, of, you know, one firm I was working with uses the process that uses CO2 and bromine to make carbonates and reverse that process and release the electricity. It’s quite efficient, it’s got all sorts of advantages, but it’s a redox flow battery. In that case, the opportunity is still moving forward in these spaces. But I will say the following fairly clearly. Lithium ion. The vast majority of batteries built today are lithium ion. That means it has that experience curve and everybody knows how to do that, much more so than most other chemistries. But if it’s in a standard form factor of aluminum can, any chemistry which can fit in that aluminum can takes advantage of most of the factory processes and distribution processes of lithium ion. So there’s really interesting stuff there now. Vanadium itself. Vanadium and zinc and iron redox flow batteries, they’re interesting, they’re early days. I don’t think we’re at the end of that. But as I was saying to the investors in the CO2 based redox flow battery solution, the time when the big demand for a redox solution is 2030 and onwards. And so we have time.

Reji and ISGF were completely right a few years ago to say, focus on batteries. Today, the time is coming when the strategic stuff needs to be done and you need to start looking at those longer term projects like pumped hydro very seriously that can stand alone.

Pumped hydro can be considered as a standalone power generation system. I don’t know about India’s regulations for distribution side power generation systems. I know that in many jurisdictions in the west there’s preferential stuff. In southern Alberta, for example, there’s lots of natural gas and transmission interconnects are high.

So preferential treatment for small natural gas generation facilities, not that great. But pumped hydro, as I say, it’s a scale question. I don’t think you should bother with 70 mw or 1 mw or three megawatt pumped hydro things. It just doesn’t make any sense. It’s just cheaper to buy some cell based batteries and dump them on your.

Just don’t fuss. It’s like people in North America who have homes and they insist on getting off the grid. They have their own solar and they have something else and have batteries and they have their own inverters and they have their own control systems and they snip the wire with utilities. And I say, why do you go through all that trouble? It’s just more trouble than it’s worth, because you have to manage your own frequency, your own voltage. Just don’t do it simple, cheap. If you actually need behind the meter energy storage today, get the right size battery. But are there standalone power generation things within India that would promote other types of things? Reji, as with the beneficial rates for behind in the distribution grid distributed generation, are there preferential rates for distributed energy generation India? Stuff that feeds into the distribution side.

RKP: Of the grid in older states during the period from 2013 to 2016, except the northeastern states, all other states, mainland states issued net metering policies, but over the years, some of those have gone back to gross metering and or some changes which have happened. But solar net metering is there everywhere, but no other major policy intervention for the behind the meter resources. So we are working on that. Maybe any resource behind the meter, it can be battery, storage, heat pump, whatever it comes. It could be industrial scale air conditioning plants or heated water heaters, those that can be what you call exploited for great flexibility. There should be some regulatory mechanism to compensate them for that. So there’s a dialogue, but maybe with a scale with which the renewable service, the space with which it is scaling up, renewals are scaling up.

Those things will become real very soon. I just take it, take a minute. We are out of time. But there are many questions about the battery temperature, etcetera. So one of the main things is about the bus and car, the four wheelers. Basically batteries are kept in a climate controlled chamber, which is not the case in two wheeler and wheeler. So two wheeler, three wheeler. There’s a real problem. We had hundreds of two wheelers going up in flame in 2021 and 22. So we changed some norms in testing, etc. Etc. So which has reduced in 23 and 24 here a single incident. These are all related to tubules, the 45 degree centigrade electric tubules catching fire. So that is not there much because we made it very strict about that.

Some procedures with the testing and approval of the cells and talking about, as you said, having a small pump. Storage in rural areas is going to be much more expensive than batteries. So you rightly address batteries as good. And now someone else is asking about sodium ion versus LFP. So at LFP prices, at $50 per kilowatt hour, sodium ion is anytime soon not going to come. It’s still an emerging technology. Not what you call. We don’t have that much experience with sodium ion as we have with LFP or NMC. So if sodium ion is higher, it doesn’t give me any additional advantage than lf eight. Ideal for up to 2 hours, 4 hours or maximum 6 hours of storage.

But I may pay more money for, any utility may pay more money for flow battery because it gives you six to 10 hours or 12 hours of or even more of storage. So when the performance is by and large the same, it is all going to run on commercial. So instead of paying double the money, I love two different batteries. First battery, I will use it for the 1st 4 hours. And another battery I will use for another 4 hours when I get lithium LFP batteries at $50 or less power to Michael.

Questions from participants from Michael Barnard's seminar on grid storage through the Indian Smart Grid Forum
Questions from participants from Michael Barnard’s seminar on grid storage through the Indian Smart Grid Forum

MB: Question eleven. Advantageous for long term energy storage. Battery electric systems provide that short term grid stabilization. There’s a need for both. So the way that a pumped hydro system works is you let water, you open a gate and you’re letting water down along penstock and it’s going through a turbine. And the turbine can be synchronous, which means it has to spin up to gate grid frequency 50 or 60 hz. Or it’s asynchronous, which means it starts generating electricity immediately. But that’s a mechanical process. Even with this asynchronous generation, it takes a few seconds or a minute before you’re actually generating enough electricity to be meaningful. Whereas battery electric systems can respond in milliseconds. So where you need millisecond or very fast response batteries work. Where you need lots of energy, pumped hydro works.

You’re going to need both kinds of characteristics, because the different parts of the grid storage requirement have different characteristics. So you need both. You’re not going to be able to get rid of batteries because you have pumped hydro, and you’re not going to get rid of pumped hydro because you have batteries. They’re different beasts. I hope that answers that. Sodium ion versus LFP and battery storage. Okay, so LFP is emerging. Reji mentioned CATL’s $56 per kilowatt hour batteries. That’s at the cell level, not the pack for EV’s or for grid storage facilities. But that’s lithium phosphate technology. And so that’s the LFP chemistry is already at that price point. It has lower energy density. It’s about 80% the energy density of current lithium ion. So there’s a trade off.

You get less energy for the same weight in a vehicle, but it’s great for grid storage. And so you start to see these chemistries. One of the questions you ask yourself is, oh, that chemistry against the span of instant response, slower response, more energy, more weight. Which of the use cases where we need energy provision, stored energy provision, is that suitable for? For example, the maritime industry, which in my projections, is going to electrify vastly more than most people think, all in land, most short sea shipping, and hybrids for transoceanic, they’re much less weight sensitive. And so the lower energy density of LFP at a very low price point is advantageous, but it won’t work for air aviation.

So, aviation, where I’m starting to see is we’re starting to see the condensed matter batteries from CATL, which have double the energy density of lithium ion. And we’re starting, and I’m looking, tracking four or five organizations now, which are commercializing silicon anode energy density batteries, which either cut the weight of a battery for the same storage, or they have potential to be five times the energy density of CATL’s condensed matter battery. And so we’ll see where there’s a very strong weight advantage. Aviation and potentially personal vehicles and maybe trucks, where we see a strong price advantage, but heavier weights, we see maritime and stationary storage. So, as you look at these things, don’t ask yourself which one is going to win, you’re going to ask yourself which one is suitable for which application and why.

If there’s, like, some of these chemistries are inherently more thermally stable than lithium ion, and so where there’s a very high sensitivity to fires, maybe they’ll have an advantage there. They’ll make them economically competitive. It’s not remotely a simple answer, and a lot of it is just going to be, oh, you know, a bunch of people will buy that because it meets their needs, but we can start to project what that is. Very interesting space.

How much percentage of battery wastage can be allowed to mother Earth. The circular economy. I believe this is a question about, if I can articulate and paraphrase it, recycling of batteries. So, a big study was done in 2022 or 2023 to debunk the nonsense about, and the nonsense made only 5% of batteries. We’re already at 59% global recycling of batteries, higher in some degrees, lower in others. There’s no reason why we can’t get to 95%, especially for EV batteries. EV batteries are big. The battery in my watch, the battery in my phone are tiny, and they’re among a bunch of other stuff but an EV’s battery pack is a big chunk of mine-able metals and components. Better if we build them to be disassembled. But that’s a process. They last a long time. They last 20 years. We’ll reuse them, then we’ll recycle them. We’ll get to 95%. We’ll make the chemistry more. Michael Liebreich calls this one of the five superpowers of decarbonization.

If we’re at 95% recycling and we’re increasing efficiency of our chemistries effectively for a long time, despite the fact that we can’t get to 100%, we’re getting more out of the same minerals we mined 20 and 40 years ago. And so there’s a strong movement in the world. We’re already at 59% as of 2019. It’s higher now and it’ll be higher in the future. So don’t be concerned about that. We need millions of tons of battery minerals and we’ve got 20 billion tons of fossil fuels.

Exchange battery stations for EV’s and cities. I’ll quickly lean into this one. This is a place that’s much hyped and it has got niches. I’m strongly on battery swapping for trains and ship solutions. I’m strong on battery swapping for geographically constrained fleets where the cost of a five minute break is very high.

But right now, I think that we’re over focusing on battery swapping. I think Nio is making the wrong choice with its battery swapping vehicles. Gogoro, I think, is the name of this scooter system in Asia. Well, it’s losing $70 million a year, and its stock price is down to 5% of what it was at its peak. I think that there are strong places where containerized batteries make sense, but right now, the price of batteries means we can put a big battery on a truck stop or a charging stop to suck power consistently for 24 hours and deliver very high speed charging the power side when cars and trucks need it at very rapid speeding. I think my projection right now is that the economics work out better for buffering batteries and high chargers than for the mechanical constraints of trying to swap batteries across a lot of vehicles. One of the constraints on battery swapping is you need exactly the same vehicle.

It has to have exactly the same containers. And if you consider public charging, if you consider just trucks, for example, that means all the truck companies have to agree on the dimensions and all the standards around the swappable battery, as opposed to just agreeing on what the plug looks like it’s simpler to move electricity than it is to move batteries, in my opinion. I think it’ll win out. But as people pointed out to me when I published on this recently, almost half of the trucks sold in China last year were battery swapping capable. Now, these were fleet trucks. They’re also charging capable, so it’s unclear what percentage are actually using the swapping or as opposed to just buying the flexibility to swap in the future.

Because a battery swapping station needs to be automated, cradle to grave, has to have no people in it, has to be very precise, and it costs about $1.1 million us per battery swapping station these days and it’s not going to get much cheaper. So I don’t think swapping is a big path in the future with cheap batteries. But I’d be proven wrong on other stuff, this one. There’s some counterexamples. Once again, China is making me question my assumptions.

RKP: In India, two wheeler and three wheeler swapping stations are working very well, although we don’t have a standard. So there are five or six different sizes and shapes being form factors being followed. But it is growing very fast. Every corner you can. In big cities, at least about 30-40 cities, you can find battery swapping stations for two wheelers and three wheelers. This primarily came because ISGF advocated two wheeler and three wheeler electric. Two wheeler and three wheeler should be sold without battery batteries, which has been accepted by the government today. There are two village three wheelers. You can buy it for something like $600, $700 without battery and battery people take it from the shopping station. So that is going. But as you said, automated, what you call robotic arm based battery shopping stations.

We tried one in Ahmedabad with Ashoka island and Sun mobility some four years ago. So it didn’t. The buses had 37.5 kilowatt hour batteries, which a robot was pulling out and putting it back, which didn’t go quite well. So we are not moving in that direction. Moving in that direction at this point.

MB: Basically what I say is if a human can pick up the battery and move it between the space and the scooter, if the batteries are in shipping containers that have an entire distribution system around them, that works. But creating something in the middle is expensive and tough and leads to all sorts of weird problems. Densely, like dense urban areas where there’s. The government has put its foot down, said swapping, a brilliant solution not replicated in most places. So it’s interesting to see how it varies across geography. Thank you, Reji, for pointing out that ISGF’s involvement in the structural approach that India has taken for that. That’s a good additional example for me.

Questions from participants from Michael Barnard's seminar on grid storage through the Indian Smart Grid Forum
Questions from participants from Michael Barnard’s seminar on grid storage through the Indian Smart Grid Forum

RKP: There are two more questions. One talking about distributed. This is something which we love to distribute at every home, having rooftop solar and a battery. And they actively participate in betting in the power market. So save the or store the solar power in the battery and sell it during peak time or sell it not to the grid but to the peer to peer selling of this. So we already have a regulation of peer to peer saving, of selling rooftop solar energy and a couple of more states are going to have it. And we, or we are working towards a scenario. Half of India, peer to peer trading of rooftop solar energy or clean energy will be legally available, valid. There will be regulations supporting that.

And then people are going to just imagine millions of people going to sell to millions of people and even the car. Today one of the major narratives about the electric vehicle is that the Indian grid is still 80% coal power. So my electric car is not going to be a clean transportation. I am taking the gray electrons or a black electrons and putting them in my car. So it’s not actually green mobility. But that is all going to change. You can actually buy from people who are rooftop and selling it and that’s the future. We are looking at it. It will happen very soon.

MB: Yeah, I’m not bullish on that peer to peer electricity sales. You still need the utility because you still need the wires. It becomes a contract between multiple players. I looked at this five years ago when I was looking at blockchain and some of these peer to peer energy solutions and the contractual structures need to be established and the utility needs to be paid for the wires. It becomes more complex than people imagine. I suspect there won’t be as much participation, but I could be wrong. I just don’t see it. Most people aren’t going to care about that. Is it advisable to have an EV charging station with battery storage delivery? Yes, absolutely.

The most recent assessment I did says that in two jurisdictions I happen to pick up a battery with projections of the battery storage prices by 2030 based upon the $56 this year, a $30 battery storage that is sufficient to charge 22 heavy trucks a day. So it’s starting. Trucks deployment would pay for itself in 17 months just on the cost of electricity arbitrage. Just taking the third of the day with the lowest rates and moving that electricity to the highest rates. The owner of the truck stop would pay for the battery very rapidly. Then they’d be making coin after that. That flattening.

Somebody else pointed out in that discussion, one of the first charts it did had that black line of demand where the grid, that flattening and use of the distribution grid is going to emerge very rapidly and that’s going to change the dynamics of pricing during the day time use pricing is all over California, followed Australia. That duck curve in the middle of the day is now a different price zone at a much lower rate because people want the Indian government to shift demand there and once again bring demand up there to combat the duck curve. And battery storage is part of that. Let’s buy electricity for the battery and then use it in the high expensive stuff. So battery storage and truck stops, bang on. It’s going to be a very big thing.

And organizations which have been modeling this out, have been modeling out the power demands for trucking, but not modeling out battery buffering for trucking. RMI is working on this. I’ve been in touch with the guy after I published on battery buffering and the opportunities that I pointed to their RMI’s paper on this and they said, yeah, we’re working on the next generation. It’s because things have changed. Everybody’s surprised by batteries.

RKP: So Ravi [Seethapahy, Honorary Member and Working Group Chair for ISGF], do you have any comments on today’s session?

Ravi Seethapathy (RS): Yeah, I agree. I think it’s a very complex subject that you gave Michael an hour to talk about. If I was to summarize, there would be three cut points, right? About 150 megawatt hours or 200 megawatt hours and higher. So he spoke of terawatt hours for the pump storage. So that would be transmission connected so that you can evacuate power and renewable energy from anywhere to anywhere. If you come below between the hundred to five, you generally would get into the battery energy storage at a distributed account, if you want, and then behind the meter would be 5 mw or lower, which would be a difference. So. But the regulation is what kills it, because based on what you can purchase for and what you can sell to the grid is where the issue lies. Jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

And that is why the vehicle to grid. And Rish [Ghatikar, ISGF Board Member] and I have always disagreed on this. And you are aware that a vehicle to home is probably more doable because I value both the home as well as the vehicle. But when I sell it to the grid, I become like a seller. And I always quoted. Even in my younger days, when we used to go and get kerosene from the shop for rationing, we never sold it to our neighbor. We never sold it to our neighbor. So it was valued far more because we got that fuel through the government system. The second thing is, every time you put a charger that’s bi directional, you are trying to arbitrage a four to five dollar transaction on a $2,000 installation. You got to think this through.

That’s why I advocate the school bus fleets that’s generally stationary between 10:00 a.m. And it probably may give you a better business case than trying to put it on individual vehicles that are free wheeling vehicles, if you so wish. So I think it’s a very difficult subject. So next time you probably need to give them like two and a half hours or 3 hours. No, it is. It is, right. And so I don’t think were fair to just pack it in 45 minutes and then give him a whole slew of questions.

RKP: Thank you. Thank you very much. Good day. Good night to everybody. And we’ll send the recorded YouTube link within 48 hours. And next will be next Thursday. Thank you.

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Michael Barnard

is a climate futurist, strategist and author. He spends his time projecting scenarios for decarbonization 40-80 years into the future. He assists multi-billion dollar investment funds and firms, executives, Boards and startups to pick wisely today. He is founder and Chief Strategist of TFIE Strategy Inc and a member of the Advisory Board of electric aviation startup FLIMAX. He hosts the Redefining Energy - Tech podcast ( , a part of the award-winning Redefining Energy team.

Michael Barnard has 744 posts and counting. See all posts by Michael Barnard