DecarbonisationEnergy

Round-The-Clock Projects that combine renewable energy with the battery storage are the way of the future

With the use of battery storage, renewable energy distribution round-the-clock (RTC) overcomes the intermittency linked with solar and wind, that creates electricity only when there is sufficient sunshine and wind. These projects offer generation flexibility to satisfy the peak loads of the distribution firms (DISCOM), which fluctuate with the seasons and change over time. They can give DISCOMs the option to dynamically request firm, hourly energy to match the shifting demand curve because they have considerable energy storage capacity. DISCOMs have expressed interest in the renewable RTC projects because there is no chance of fuel price increases.

Because costs are high due to the costly battery energy storage technologies, the price revealed in RTC auctions is significantly higher than typical wind and solar energy projects. SECI will announce the winner of 400 MW renewable RTC competition in May 2020. At a rate of 2.90 ($0.038)/kWh, ReNew Power was able to win the auction for the whole 400 MW tendered capacity. The project is still in the works.

Battery Prices are Expensive

“Developers will have to construct more than the asserted ability to handle the monthly CUF of 70 percent and the yearly CUF of 80% of RTC projects,” Vibhuti Garg, who serves as the Senior Energy Specialist at the International Institute for the Sustainable Development, said when asked about the battery costs and its impact on RTC projects. Even if batteries are now pricey, they will continue to be used.” She predicted that as the number of installations grows, battery storage system prices will fall, making these projects economical within a few years.

According to a ReNew Power spokesman, the prohibitive expense of establishing battery storage systems is the fundamental reason RTC solutions are not yet appealing to most developers. However, he observed that the battery costs would come down in the future as a result of new technology and competition, making RTC renewable initiatives more appealing and widespread.

“I feel new battery technologies should be studied,” Vallisaranya Guruprasad, whose business Tata Power won the Solar Energy Corporation of India’s (SECI) auction for the 20 MW solar power facility with a 50 MWh BESS in Ladakh, said during a recent Mercom webinar on energy storage systems. Energy storage systems would be more widely adopted if batteries had reduced production costs and were more recyclable.”

Better Regulations

According to Vallisaranya, the government should establish a framework to encourage the adoption of energy storage devices, similar to the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission, which was established to promote solar energy in India. Even the battery’s 28 percent goods and services tax (GST) remains a deterrent to widespread adoption.

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