Energy Storage: The Evolving Technology

India’s energy storage market is in a growing phase. According to the IESA estimates, India has the potential to integrate over 300 GWh of energy storage during 2018-25.

With a rising focus on the effective integration of renewable energy, the importance of electric vehicles and reliable energy supply, energy storage is becoming an increasingly significant means in the electricity ecosystem. Ever since the existence of an electrical grid, grid operators have been looking for ways to safely and efficiently store energy so that it can be supplied and consumed on demand. Over 170 grid scale energy storage technologies (excluding PHES) are either commercially available and or are under development across different regions worldwide. The energy storage technologies landscape is distributed across a variety of systems to ensure we meet our everyday energy needs. This includes mechanical storage like pumped hydro storage, flywheels, compressed air and electrochemical storage such as lead acid, advanced lead acid, lithium ion chemistries, sodium-based batteries, nickel-based batteries and flow batteries. Advancements in fuel cells and traditional thermal storage are also relevant to various emerging applications. It is also worth noting that energy storage is resource neutral i.e. it allows us to use electricity more efficiently, regardless of the power source. Whether the energy production is from a thermal power plant or wind power from a field of turbines, energy storage technologies can capture the energy and make it available when it is needed most. It also provides quality and reliable power to the end consumers.

World Energy Storage Day is celebrated annually on 22nd September to highlight the importance of energy storage in the energy and transportation sector, its potential and its impact on the sustainability of global energy resources. It was introduced in 2017 by Global Energy Storage Alliance to build awareness about the growing energy storage market, uses of energy storage and advancements in energy storage technologies.

The Government of India has come up with an ambitious target of installing 175 GW of renewables by 2022 and 24×7 power for all by creating an efficient, resilient and financially sustainable power sector. Likewise, in COP 21, India has committed to generate 40 per cent power from clean energy sources by 2032. This objective, along with clean energy access, has become the centre of all plans around economic development and environment. A major application of energy storage lies in the integration of intermittent renewable energy sources for applications including wind power and solar energy. In grids with a significant share of wind generation, irregularity and variability in generation output due to unpredictable changes in wind patterns can lead to imbalances between generation and load that in turn result in irregularities in grid frequency. Energy storage can provide a quick response to such imbalances and irregularities without the harmful emissions and negative environmental effects of most conventional solutions. Also, since wind power systems are often located in remote areas that are poorly connected by transmission and distribution systems, sometimes operators may be asked to curtail production, resulting in loss of energy production opportunity. Alternatively, system operators may be required to invest in expanding the transmission and distribution infrastructure. An Energy Storage system located in proximity to wind generation can allow excess energy to be stored and delivered timely upon ease of transmission. It can also be used to store the energy generated during periods of low demand (and favourable wind conditions) and deliver it during periods of high demand. With the recent focus on electric mobility, India is more dependent on battery and energy storage technologies. Battery-based energy storage provides the flexibility and agility to better integrate intermittent solar and wind energy resources into India’s electric grid and ensure high-quality power for consumers.

India’s energy storage market is in a growing phase. According to the IESA estimates, India has the potential to integrate over 300 GWh of energy storage during 2018-25. This includes existing applications such as backup power but also newer applications like wind and solar integration, frequency regulation, peak management, transmission and distribution deferral, diesel replacement and electric vehicles. The current size of the energy storage segment in India is estimated at over 15 GWh which is expected to grow by 12 per cent to 15 per cent year on year. In recent months various tenders by SECI, BESCOM, NTPC, NLC, CEL, GEDA and others were floated in states like Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, West Bengal and Andaman & Nicobar Islands.

The Indian energy storage market is currently flooded with multiple energy storage projects in the first quarter of 2019. Presently, India already installed 14 MWh of large-scale storage for grid and renewable integration though pilot and demonstration projects at different locations. Apart from these commissioned projects, round 50 MWh of energy storage projects in India are on the verge of tender allocation or at the construction stage. Islands like Andaman & Nicobar and Lakshadweep are seeing a large number of the tender announcement on energy storage by difference agencies like SECI, REIL, NTPC, NLC and others. CEA and CERC have already recommended the inclusion of energy storage with solar and wind hybrids, so we also anticipate that in addition to the 3.6 GWh storage project, other hybrid tenders will also have an opportunity for storage technologies to be included.

India is expected to attract investment in 3 to 5 Giga factories for advanced Li-ion batteries, attracting over $3 billion investments in the next 3 years. Already, over 1 GWh of annual assembling capacity is being set up for converting imported Li-ion cells into battery modules by various Indian and global companies in India. In this regard, many Indian companies are eying to enter India’s storage market while a few Indian companies are also diversifying their existing business into energy storage space. Looking at potential India has to create a 10-15 GWh capacity by 2022. And as this happens, ancillary development including module development, containers, transformers, inverters could need an equal amount of investment, taking the total potential to $6 billion.

India is also focusing on domestic manufacturing for all types of energy storage technologies including advanced lead acid, thermal storage and ultra-capacitors apart from Li-ion batteries. Ministry of Science and Technology is also keen to accelerate domestic R&D capabilities to support this growing industry through Mission Innovation. States such as Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Gujarat are showing interest in attracting investments from companies to set up units in this space. In March 2019, GoI approved setting up of National Mission on Transformative Mobility and Battery Storage to drive clean, connected, shared and sustainable mobility initiatives in the country creation of the Phased Manufacturing Programme (PMP) valid for five years till 2024 to support setting up of a few large scale, export competitive integrated batteries and cell manufacturing giga plants in India. This aims to provide a push to the entire e-mobility ecosystem that includes electric vehicle manufacturers, charging infrastructure development companies, fleet operators, service providers, etc. NITI Aayog is also working on PMP to catalyse cell manufacturing and EV component in India. Recently, India and Bolivia signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the development and industrial use of lithium for the production of lithium-ion batteries. Bureau of Indian Standards efforts on generating energy storage standards will create the benchmark for quality and will boost the Indian energy storage and electric vehicle market.

Currently, India has 1 GWh of Li-ion assembling facility and 4-5 institutions are in discussion to put up cell manufacturing facilities in the next 2-3 years. The current cost of the Li-ion battery pack is at US$ 250-350 per KWh as compared to US$ 1,000 per kWh in 2011. Li-ion battery accounts for 40-50 per cent of the overall cost of the EV and is the most expensive component of EV. Indigenous manufacturing will bring down the cost of Li-ion batteries and to further bring down the cost of EVs. All the foremost OEMs are currently importing batteries from China, Taiwan and Korea. Various Indian companies have already entered into the cell to pack assembling. But there is a huge opportunity in India for Li-ion cell manufacturing India.

We are at a critical stage for building a manufacturing ecosystem for advanced energy storage technologies in India. Around the globe, over 200 GWh of advanced energy storage manufacturing capacity is already built and another 200 GWh of new capacity will be built within the next three to five years.

In the month of September, IESA celebrated India Energy Storage Week (IESW) on the occasion of 3rd World Energy Storage Day with a myriad of activities like India Energy Storage & EV Technology Forum, 3rd India Energy Storage & EV Policy Forum, IESA Investment Forum & start-up competition and Masterclass on energy storage manufacturing. More than 200 industry leaders gathered at IESW to celebrate 3rd World Energy storage Day in Delhi and Mumbai respectively. From 23rd September to 27th September the week-long activity saw representatives working on Technology, R&D, Policy and Investment collaborated and shared their thoughts on the future of storage. The five-day long celebration of IESW and the discussions held in the same indicates the importance of storage and the critical role the technology will play in the achievement of India’s energy security. All the discussions held in the sessions stressed on indigenous manufacturing, setting up of appropriate standards, procedures and laying out of proper policies and regulatory frameworks to make storage deployment sustainable over the long run. With appropriate government support, industry participation, India will be one of the top markets for energy storage adoption and manufacturing.

Debi Prasad Dash,
Executive Director,
India Energy Storage Alliance (IESA)

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