Grid Scale Battery Storage: The Need Of The Hour For India

Energy security is crucial to its economy’s progress as major installations such data centres, nuclear facilities, defence hubs and hospitals are dependent on power to function.

From large scale scarcity to a state of surplus, India has travelled a long way when it comes to meeting its energy goals. However, despite this significant progress, the country still hasn’t met its last mile goal and power cuts continue to be a reality for thousands of Indians. This situation can only be rectified with the help of efficient energy storage solutions. Also, as the country embarks on its path to decarbonisation, grid-scale energy storage technologies are poised to play a critical role in helping to integrate the 450 gigawatts (GW) of variable renewable energy (VRE) capacity into the grid by 2030. In fact, as per a new report by the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory, energy storage is set to play a significant role in India’s power system and the nation could deploy energy storage capacity in the range of 50 to 120 GW (160 – 800 GWh) within the next 10 years. All roads thus lead towards energy storage.

What is BESS?

Battery energy storage system (BESS) is a technology that enables power system operators and utilities to store energy for the purpose of using it later. In essence, it is an electrochemical device that charges itself by collecting energy from a grid or a power plant, and then discharges this stored energy at a later time when there is a demand for power. While the explanation of this technology sounds deceivingly simple, its benefits are enormous. To put it into perspective, one GWh (1,000-MWh) of battery capacity is sufficient enough to power 1 million homes for a period of one hour and approximately 30,000 electric cars!

Below are a few other reasons why grid scale battery storage solutions are crucial to India’s future energy goals.

Support Renewable Energy Sources: – By their very nature, renewable sources are intermittent and even the sunniest places on earth don’t receive sunlight 24×7. And when it comes to wind energy, excess of it is often generated in the middle of the night when there is low demand. Hence, there is a serious mismatch between renewable energy supply and electricity demand which peaks during evening hours when neither solar nor wind energy are produced rapidly. BESS can intervene here by charging and storing energy during periods when excess renewable energy is generated and discharging during periods of very high demand.

Helps in Load Leveling: – Electricity demand swings between highs and lows. Battery energy storage systems can help to meet these fluctuating energy requirements. With the help of BESS, system operators can easily charge batteries during periods of excess power generation and discharge these same batteries during periods of excess demand. This can help to facilitate a more efficient coordination and disbursal of resources.

Peak demand capacity: In order to meet power needs during periods of very high demand, utilities such as thermal power plants are fired up to meet demands for short periods of time. However, kick starting such utilities takes time and this leads to an increase in the carbon footprint that’s generated. In scenarios like this, BESS can help to ensure that peaking demand is met without the intervention of gas plants.

Grid Up gradation: Every time demand exceeds an existing grid’s capacity, there is a need for expensive and elaborate investments to upgrade the equipment and develop newer infrastructure. Deploying battery energy storage systems can help to buy grid operators some time and defer the need for new investments. Also, BESS installations are mobile in nature and can be relocated depending on the area they are needed in.

For any country, energy security is crucial to its economy’s progress as major installations such data centres, nuclear facilities, defence hubs and hospitals are dependent on power to function. In order to fend off cyber-attacks and other misdoings by bad actors, these installations have to be secure and protected. Energy security also signals to the world that India is ready for global investors and is on the way to becoming a reliable manufacturing hub for the world. The government of India and other stakeholders are firmly aligned on these goals and are thus providing the right push for battery energy storage systems (BESS) through moves such as the PLI schem

Source: Business World