Powering progress: Is energy storage part of India's next green revolution?
The original Green Revolution of the 1960s modernized agricultural production in order to feed and sustain India's growing population. Is a new green revolution underway to change how the country brings power to its people?
Younger storage technologies, such as electrochemical systems, enable the effective integration of variable renewable energies into the network. They can also enhance the efficiency of hydropower plants by bringing generation scheduling response times down from 8–12 hours to only 15 minutes—and by storing any excess energy that would otherwise be wasted.
The new generation of storage solutions are a disruptive force within the energy system. They’re also bringing innovation into the energy market. India will need to consider the optimal mix of storage technologies to meet its needs, from handling projected demand to increasing renewables and guaranteeing energy reliability, resilience, and affordability.
What factors should influence India's storage technology decision?
Potential investors—and, ultimately, the whole value chain—should look at options through three lenses:
1. Prioritizing applications
The choice of a storage technology depends on the specific role it fulfills in the energy system. Is the primary aim peak load management or frequency regulation? Is powering e-mobility or network reliability the number one objective? Suitable technologies can be identified by prioritizing the requirements of storage applications at grid-scale, small-scale, and off-grid. As each storage technology can serve a range of applications, factors such as round-trip efficiency and cycle life will also factor into the equation.
2. Predicting future costs
Using knowledge of historical storage technology price trends to predict the future is another valuable decision-support exercise. As few technologies other than pumped hydro storage have reached maturity, costs will continue reducing with experience and volume. Overall price reduction estimates for newer technologies range from 12%–15% a year, with some costs expected to drop by as much as 50% within the next five years.
3. Ensuring energy security
In evaluating the most suitable technologies, it’s important to keep energy security top of mind. The availability of resources to meet demand has huge significance for domestic manufacturing. Stakeholders should ask questions about each technology’s availability and provenance. While it's unlikely any country can be totally independent in terms of storage system supply, it's important not to compromise local development opportunities and raw material security through an over-dependence on imported technologies.
Energy storage + renewables = India’s new power couple
As India's population grows and its energy industry expands, the need to plan for future energy demand becomes more acute. A smart energy storage strategy that takes full advantage of renewables will help power India’s green energy transition.