Tata Power takes a step forward on implementing energy storage in India

New Delhi: Tata Power, India’s largest integrated power utility, in collaboration with The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), a not-for-profit, policy research think-tank, organised a Webinar on “Energy Storage Applications in Power System” on 16th June 2021. The Webinar was inaugurated by Dr Praveer Sinha, CEO & MD, Tata Power and witnessed an encouraged participation of over 120 prominent industry leaders and senior government officials from regulatory bodies.

These include Mr. Sanjay Kumar, Honourable Chairperson Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC), Mr. K. Ramanathan, TERI, Mr Randheer Singh, NITI Aayog, Mr Shashank Jewalikar, Maharashtra State Electricity Transmission Co. Ltd. (MSETCL), Mr Naveen Singh, Sterlite Power and Mr Rupam Raja, Fluence Energy and also CEOs of other power utilities in Maharashtra.

The main objective behind the webinar was to set up a foundation in the direction of implementing Energy Storage systems in India. It largely focused on conversations about the need for energy storage, the various applications in India, case studies of battery energy storage systems (BESS) in India and other developed countries and some of the business models used for the same.

Dr Praveer Sinha’s inaugural talk emphasised on the importance of battery storage and how it plays a vital role. He also mentioned about a few applications of energy storage like frequency regulation, meeting peak demands, replacement of DG sets etc. The keynote address by Mr. Sanjay Kumar, MERC stressed upon the aspect of energy security and the need for increasing the share of renewable generation in order to tackle climate change. He also expressed the need for reaching out to people and getting their acceptance for storage technologies.

Mr. K. Ramanathan, TERI talked about the importance of energy storage systems in the energy transition program, especially in greening the power sector besides in ensuring 24×7 reliable power to all at affordable prices. The choice of storage technology should be based on functional requirements, cost economics, end of use disposal, availability of raw materials, gestation period, etc. He added that in recent years batteries are becoming increasingly popular, especially in distribution systems. Citing a few examples from abroad and India, he said that battery systems can play a role in development of micro-grids, increasing resilience of urban grids and in improving power supply to rural areas.

Mr Nilesh Kane, Tata Power presented a case study of the 10 MW BESS installed at TPDDL, Delhi and showcased various forms of application of BESS – as a grid utility, community storage, pole mounted BESS etc. Tata Power also has a mini BESS plant in rage on few KWs used as replacement of existing DG sets and plans to explore more BESS projects subject to statutory and regulatory approval.

On the other hand, industry leaders also touched upon various other conversations such as the overview of the Indian Grid, key initiatives undertaken in India, various models of battery application across the globe such as virtual transmission lines, role of energy storage in the grid for generation, transmission, distribution and the need of BESS model for deployment of energy storage as a grid element. Presentations were made by stakeholders from TERI, Tata Power, Fluence Energy, on different perspective of energy storage, by highlighting various applications of the technology at different levels, including micro-grid and utility-scale storage systems.

As far as the market potential for energy storage in India is concerned, the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) published a Report in Jan’20 on Optimal Generation Capacity Mix for 2029-30, predicting installed capacity of 27 GW/108 GWh of Battery Energy Storage System (BESS).

Tata Power is transitioning towards a renewables-rich future. Energy storage has the capability to reserve energy produced in surplus energy generation time and utilise it when it is needed, when renewable generation is not available. This will help the company to reach its carbon neutrality goals. At present, the company uses Lithium ion Batteries (Li-NMC) batteries for 10MW/10MWh BESS and community energy storage system of 150 kW/528 kW, it uses lead acid and advanced lead acid batteries for micro-grids and aims to explore the use of flow batteries as well for micro-grid application.

Besides this, technological improvements in energy storage systems (ESS) helps to reduce the cost of deployment and increase the range of applications and services that ESS can provide to the power system. For example, ESS can provide various services such as energy arbitrage, fast response services and capacity to meet peak demand, integrate higher levels of intermittent renewable generation sources such as solar & wind and deferring costly grid investments to meet short term peak electricity demand.

With rapid change of pace witnessed in power system with renewable generation in the last decades, large scale energy storage as well as distributed energy storage will play a critical role in the power sector in near future.