Energy Storage: A Game Changer For Renewables

*This is sponsored content by Ministry of New and Renewable Energy

India, undoubtedly, is on the path to becoming one of the global leaders in the renewable energy sector. Being ranked fourth in the wind and fifth in solar, India is gradually transitioning from fossil fuels to renewables. This ongoing revolution is creating demand for new storage technologies and options to integrate clean energy into the power system. It is heralding a change where India is transitioning rapidly to renewables.

Storage technologies will allow for more reliable and flexible operation of the electricity distribution and transmission grids, enhancing electric power quality and making renewable energy user-friendly. Overall, it would be a cost-effective solution in the long-run to lessen the requirement for backup capacities by storing the solar power during the day and feeding it back into the system after sunset.

What is needed is the ramping up of energy storage technologies, especially at a time when hopes are high for a major shift to electric mobility. It is being projected that within the next five to seven years, electric vehicles, on a cost-competitive basis, would outpace fossil fuel-based transportation. Therefore, the pressure is on electric mobility to help bring down the country’s dependence on imported fossil fuels, thereby improving India’s energy security.

To fulfill the goal of large-scale deployment of electric vehicles, India will require cutting edge battery manufacturing technology, and timely actions in capturing the fast-evolving technological landscape in energy storage.

A joint report on India’s Energy Storage Mission by the NITI Aayog and American think-tank Rocky Mountain Institute, state that India’s demand for batteries to meet its mobility transformation goals will support global-scale production that could place the country among the world’s leading battery manufacturers. By 2030, India could account for more than one-third of the global market for batteries for electric vehicles.

Look at the global trends. As per International Renewable Energy Agency’s report “Electricity Storage And Renewables: Costs And Markets to 2030”, published in October 2017, a total of 176 GW of electricity storage was operational in 2017. Of this, chemical storage accounted for only about 2 GW. This was, however, the fastest growing segment. Lithium-ion batteries comprise the majority of new battery capacity being installed globally. The prices of lithium-ion batteries have fallen from $1,000 /kWh in the year 2010 to $209/kWh in 2017. Bloomberg projections state that prices are set to decline to $100/kWh by 2025 and $75/kWh by 2030.

Considering the global scenario, India is aiming at creating an environment for battery manufacturing growth, scaling both supply chain strategies and battery cell manufacturing.

With this view, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy is working on the National Energy Storage Mission and has initiated an array of initiatives to encourage manufacturing, innovation, cost reduction, and spurring deployment in various end-use applications.

Currently, efforts are being made to indigenously develop energy storage technologies and systems for electricity and mobility applications apart from ensuring the availability of high performance and affordable storage solutions that will enable rapid electrification of transport and seamless integration of renewables into the grid. Plans are afoot to set up large-scale integrated energy storage manufacturing clusters and undertaking the development of pumped hydro storage in conjunction with other sources of renewable energy, wherever feasible.

The priorities are set for the future. The sector, however, is highly complex. Multiple technology options and deployment solutions are available. These are undergoing rapid transitions and therefore demands focused and forward-looking mission approach.

We have our task cut out for us. India must put in place a mechanism that will seamlessly integrate technology advances to industry on a real-time basis. We need to support the industry as it adopts technology for large scale manufacturing of energy storage systems. India’s ultimate efforts must be focused on developing globally competitive energy storage technologies and products that cater to meeting domestic demand and securing global market share.

On October 4, at a technical session at the 2nd global RE-INVEST 2018, an eminent international panel will deliberate on different aspects of energy storage like technology choices, regulatory needs, indigenous manufacturing, and other related issues of energy storage. As the best minds convene, the moment is opportune to form mutually-beneficial partnerships promoting cost-effective and scalable innovation in energy storage.