Growth of renewable energy pushes up need for robust power-balancing infra

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The growth of renewable energy has boosted the need for developing power balancing infrastructure that can come to the rescue in the event of sudden fluctuations. This is an opportunity for developing battery-based balancing infrastructure that can ramp up or down power output in a very short period.

“There is an urgent need for developing infrastructure to support power distribution systems when a large quantity of renewable energy is integrated into the grid. Going by India’s goals, there will soon be at least 175 GW of renewable energy being pushed into the grid. But, unlike conventional energy, the forecasting of RE generation is tricky and is prone to vast fluctuations,” a power sector official told BusinessLine.

“At present, in the event of a sudden generation dip, the power distribution company will either resort to purchasing from the spot market or go for load shedding. Even in the spot market, the Discom will have to give at least a day’s notice. This liberty may not be available when dependence on renewable energy grows,” the official said.

“Currently roughly 7 percent of the country’s energy generation is from renewable energy. But it will be close to 15 percent very soon and then a sudden dip will require much more balancing power. This is something we are not ready for,” he added.

According to the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission, there is a need for 12.8 GW of spinning reserve to balance the country’s grid. Of this, 4 GW falls under the Primary category which can immediately be injected into the grid if there is a sudden dip.

“This can be a business opportunity for procurement of ancillary services on cost-plus principles. The Power System Operation Corporation may be the nodal agency to call for setting up the battery based balancing units. They can be spread across the country in small pockets and be ready to offer instantaneous balancing power,” the official said.

At present, the CERC’s rules are bent heavily towards conventional thermal power generators that depend on their spare capacities to meet the grid’s balancing requirements.

“This may be sufficient for now, but as more renewable energy enters the grid, the nature of balancing power will also have to evolve,” the official added.

sources@bussiness line

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