Embarking on the journey of complete transformation from fossil-fuel dominance to clean sources of energy, India has made headway by deliberating and planning for the long term. And now, it is now time for action.
The ever-rising need for energy and extreme dependability on the use of fossil fuels are robbing Indian cities of clean air and polluting the atmosphere for future generations. Urbanised Indian cities are suffocating because of dangerous pollution levels. To combat this situation, the Indian government is aggressively working on renewable energy infrastructure across the country. The dream is that India would set an example and lead the world in clean energy.
Embarking on the journey of complete transformation from fossil-fuel dominance to clean sources of energy, India has already made headway by deliberating and planning for the long term. And now, it is time for action. The country is rapidly moving towards renewable energy for domestic, industrial, and mobility purposes, but the dream cannot be realised without a sound energy storage support structure. The year 2019 is expected to be action time for the energy storage sector with respect to manufacturing, assembling, energy storage project developments, equipment supply, and R&D of technology enhancement. The year is going to witness acceleration in energy storage as National Energy Storage Mission (NESM) has been announced in March 2019. NESM will pave the way for India to lead the energy storage sector. This would encourage manufacturing, deployment, innovation, and further cost reduction in the country.
Growth in renewables
India has the world's largest renewables auction market, coming next to Chile, as per Climate scope report by Bloomberg NEF, 2018. India has outdone Japan to become the world's third largest market for solar power and is projected to claim the number two spot from the United States later this year. The country's cumulative installed capacity for wind power reached 32.8 GW in 2017, and it ranked number four globally, behind only China, the United States, and Germany. The electric vehicle (EV) market is also gaining momentum in India due to the ambitious plans and initiatives of the government. Plans have been laid down for creating a reliable infrastructure for energy storage to sustain the increased investments and clean energy installations in the country.
India is aggressively looking to add 175 GW of renewable energy capacity by March 2022. In meeting its ambitious target, the challenges lie in the ability of the grid to integrate variabilities associated with renewables as well as the huge investment required to upgrade the transmission and distribution infrastructure. The solution lies in advanced energy storage that can help to better integrate renewables by providing multiple values to the system, such as optimising T&D investments, addressing forecasting errors in wind and solar generation for more accurate scheduling, addressing local reliability issues by providing reactive power support, and enabling end users to manage peak load and utilise distributed renewables efficiently.
Need for storage
Advanced energy storage technologies such as Li-ion drive down the cost of energy storage at a pace even faster than the solar PV cost reductions witnessed in the last decade. Initiatives like smart metres which can manage to send excess energy generated by individuals back to the grid enable smooth storage and distribution. The Government of India is focused on storage and is trying to figure out the best way to make India a manufacturing hub for advanced storage technologies, not just for domestic production but also for export purposes. Huge transformation in some of these capabilities is anticipated in 2019 in India.
Global technology leaders are planning to set up giga factories to manufacture lithium-ion cells in India in the coming years. In March 2018, Minister for Power and New & Renewable Energy, RK Singh chaired a meeting with battery-based energy storage manufacturers to set up manufacturing units in India. IESA was a part of this discussion. The meeting not only focused on the government's push on electric vehicles and its expected surge in the coming years, but also on future tenders that cover hybrid solar and wind projects to be coupled with energy storage.
Under the National Energy Storage Mission (NESM), the government has released a policy with focus on Make in India. It plans to take all possible measures to incentivise advanced energy storage manufacturing in India. To address issues related to raw material availability for manufacturing, NESM has initiated discussions with resource-rich countries such as Bolivia and Australia. The Indian government has already extended a red carpet welcome to US-based storage, solar and EV specialist, Tesla to set up a giga factory in India. Similar discussions are going on witha few other major manufacturers.
Since India is still at an exploring stage, the country must look into other emerging technologies like flow, sodium-air, zinc air, and aluminium air batteries. IESA's vision is to make India a global leader in the adoption of energy storage, microgrids, and EVs. Working with industry and policymakers, it endeavours to make India a global hub for manufacturing emerging technologies by 2020. It has also set a goal of reducing the cost of electricity from microgrids in India by 30û50 per cent in the coming three years and is working to bring together various stakeholders to achieve this dream.
India has a huge capacity to integrate over 300 GWh of energy storage by2025. This includes not only existing applications such as backup power, but also newer ones like wind and solar integration, frequency regulation, peak management, transmission and distribution deferral, diesel replacement, and EVs. In 2017, we crossed 2 GWh of deployment of advanced energy storage solutions with contribution from electric rickshaws, telecom towers, and other distributed systems. To achieve the country's estimated 300 GWh of storage opportunity in the next four years, it is high time for industry and policymakers to take decisive action. EVs and metre and grid energy storage are key applications to help the Indian government meet wind and solar targets as well as its energy access goals.
The Government of India has also set a goal of having at least 30 per cent of its vehicles running on electric by 2030 - a big task, as four-wheel EV sales slumped by 40 per cent in the country. To meet this goal, substantial new generation capacity is required, depending on how the charging infrastructure is created and associated policies are developed. With sufficient public charging facilities which can be used for charging EVs during the day, this can actually solve the problem of low net loads during the times when maximum solar energy is being produced.
In 2019, a long stride of change in the market is expected. Thus, it is important to identify projects and gives concrete substance and action to all discussions and plans. With platforms like Energy Storage India 2019, energy storage ecosystem is bound to get newer avenues, thought exchange, and effective roadmaps for advanced energy storage technologies, regulatory and policy issues, integration of renewables, electric vehicles and transportation, Make in India programmes, rural microgrids and off grids, campus microgrid for smart cities, and a lot more. A tremendous amount of awareness needs to be created among consumers with an emphasis on the long-lasting positive effects of adopting alternative energy solutions. The government and industry together can develop a favourable investment scenario to build a storage system for dependable energy distribution.
If India wants to become a global renewables powerhouse, the country has to lead the energy storage initiative and power the future without the harmful effects of pollution.