Ways Energy Storage Is Fueling The Renewables Revolution?


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Across the world, there is an increased focus on renewable energy sources to combat the extreme impacts of climate change, and address the problems caused by a growing demand for power from an aging grid. Though significant progress has been made, there is still so much to be done to shift to a path toward a clean energy future. Accelerating development of solar and wind projects is a key to achieving renewables goals, but this is not enough. Storage solutions must be integrated to ensure renewable projects can deliver power when and where individuals and businesses need it, and minimize, or even eliminate, reliance on fossil fuels.

Energy storage systems can help ride‐through energy transition from hydrocarbon fuels to renewable sources. What are the ways to do it? Let’s find out…

Energy storage systems are on top gear in deployment for the last few years; this is mainly due to the penetration of distributed renewable generation into the electric grid and the drop in energy storage system cost. Most of the energy storage deployments are under Grid-scale/Utility-scale and Behind the meter.

Need for Grid-scale/Utility-scale energy storage

Renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, get more importance in global electricity generation due to their potential to reduce fossil fuel usage and greenhouse gas emissions in the electric sector. According to bp Statistical Review of World Energy 2020, renewable energy consumption (including biofuels but excluding hydro) grew by 12.1% in 2019.

Expected Behind the meter energy storage

The year 2020 shows a drastic change in electricity energy demand pattern, i.e., industrial loads significantly reducing, but the other sectors, including residential sectors, demonstrated growth in electricity demand. This change in electricity demand will have an impact on the renewable energy market. The market trends show that small-scale solar installations with energy storage will grow in this situation followed by behind the meter energy storage.

Other fueling factors

Battery energy storage is still a maturing technology, and technology advancements are getting adapted rapidly into the market. Even with this rapid development and recent improvements, the battery storage faces several limitations, including uncertainty in cost on both a kW and kWh basis, life cycle limitations, and raw materials availability. Globally, the energy industries are showing fast revival from the current crisis, in which renewable energy sectors were showing promising improvements. This will have a positive sign in energy storage, especially behind the meter energy storage.  

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By DIBIN CHANDRAN – Senior Engineer, Power & Renewables, Khatib & Alami

India’s current share of renewables in electricity generation is 8% which is expected to increase to  28% by 2040. According to the draft study by the CEA into the optimal generation mix for 2030,  India would need 34 GW of grid-connected battery storage producing 136 gigawatt hours (GWh)  by 2030. Among all the battery technologies Li-ion batteries hold the highest potential of cost reduction  because of economies of scale coming from the automotive industry. As per the experience curve  the cost of Li-ion batteries is dropping by 18% for every doubling of the capacity. It is, therefore,  expected that penetration of storage in energy mix will increase in following application areas:  

Load Levelling: Storage will smoothen the demand and supply mismatch.

Peak Shaving: Peak shaving is similar to load levelling, but mainly for the purpose of reducing  peak demand rather than for economy of operation.

Capacity Firming: The variable, intermittent power output from a renewable power  generation plant, such as wind or solar, can be maintained at a committed level for a period  of time. The energy storage system smoothens the output and controls the ramp rate  (MW/min) to eliminate rapid voltage and power swings on the electrical grid.

Frequency Regulation: Intermittent power generation from renewables and other sources,  along with variable loads cause deviations from nominal frequency in the grid. Energy storage  systems will restore the balance between supply and demand.

 Spinning Reserve: Thermal generators have to be kept running to meet the emergency supply  of higher than normal demand because of high response time. Compared to thermal  generators the batteries are nimbler and respond quickly.

DSM Charge Reduction: Reduce DSM charges by error reduction. Many states now have made day ahead scheduling mandatory and have tightened the error window and have  reduced the number of revisions possible in a day.

By AMITABH VERMA – President – Operations & Technology, Aditya Birla Renewables Limited

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There are innumerable ways in which ES could support and contribute to the development and deployment of renewables such as solar and wind in the renewable energy (RE) sector. Out of which the contribution of storages towards electrification, sustainability and energy resilience serves to fulfill the present need of the hour.

Contribution towards Energy Sustainability: – 

A lot of reputed organizations were involved in power purchase agreements (PPAs) and they seek reducing or eliminating the purchase or use of fossil fueled generation on 24/7 basis in the long run, though not instantly. By integrating ES, companies will be able to negotiate their shaped PPAs. (ie.,) both the companies’ load and  RE are time-shifted to match the companies’ business needs.

Supports Electrification : –

Increasing e-mobility sectors and the Electric vehicles (EVs) growth was estimated to be 57% by 2040 (Bloomberg New Energy Finance) and the same percentage was projected for the upsurge of light commercial vehicles (LCVs) in the U.S., Europe and China as well. Hence, an exponential demand will be created in near future for an extensive need for electrical power and charging stations, specifically from the RE sources.

Builds Energy Resilience :

Energy resilience is about ensuring that a business has a reliable, regular supply of energy and contingency measures in place in the event of a power failure. The major causes of resilience were unacquainted power surges, weather, natural disasters, accidents and even due to equipment failure. Intelligent ES provides on-site resilience to unplanned power disruptions, and also reduces dependencies on diesel backup.

It can be construed that ES technologies should refuel renewables in order to provide a 24-hour source of energy that competes with fossil fuel generation in a more efficient and an effective way to merge the demand-supply gaps in the RE production.

By DR. LOVELYN THERESA – Application Research Expert, Arbutus Consultants Pvt Ltd

In the past few years, with structured government support, renewable energy especially solar & wind have shown multi fold adoption rate and we have reached grid parity much before expected but due to inherent variable intermittent nature of RE, the sustainable large scale bulk adoption as an alternative to conventional firm& dispatchable sources, has certain limitations and constraints from the perspective of grid reliability & resilience. Energy storage solution when integrated with Renewable Energy provides clean, firm & dispatchable power to the grid and further increases grid flexibility, reliability & resilience.

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Energy storage technologies are revolutionizing the adoption of renewable energy in multiple ways with varieties of applications for the power sector, from rural electrification/microgrids, e-mobility and behind-the-meter applications to utility-scale usage. The value stack benefits of energy storage and its inherent nature to shift from load mode to generator mode and vice versa, make this as one of the most valuable, flexible & responsive solutions to grid operators/generators/consumers.

Further, the faster adoption of rooftop solar for residential customers has developed a new business opportunity for residential energy storage solutions. In India it is still at a nascent stage, but this could be another dark horse market with potential to completely overturn the present relationship between utilities/DISCOMS and retail consumers.

The impact of energy storage is far-reaching, as not only does it address the issues faced by large scale adoption of renewable energy, but it also fundamentally challenges the longstanding relationship between DISCOMS/utilities and their customers. The disruptive potential of energy storage extends across different value streams of energy and all the stakeholders will be impacted directly or indirectly in near future if not today.

By ASHISH KUMAR – GM, Energy Storage Solution, Amp Energy India

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