By Animesh Damani, Managing Partner, Artha Energy Resources
The Cabinet approval of the ₹18100 crore PLI scheme was a long time in the making.
Energy storage is not a new concept and batteries have been around for more than a century. However, the transition to new technologies and new requirements propelled by the move towards clean energy has made investments in new advanced energy storage systems a necessity. Advanced Chemistry Cell Batteries are the new generation of these advanced storage systems that are required to harness the grid produced energy and convert it into electricity when needed.
One of the key reasons for the slow uptake of electric vehicles in India, or of rooftop solar, has been the lack of systemised access to these advanced ESS. This does not mean that there was no access or awareness. It simply means that the solutions were either expensive or not in tandem with the demand of the sectors. The fact that there are multiple industries that will be consumers of these advanced storage solutions holds great promise for the growth of renewable energy in India.
A major segment that will benefit will be electric vehicles. The country has played a hide and seek with EVs for a long time. This is especially visible as EVs are becoming common in other markets around the world. The success of Tesla globally and its delayed entry into India is a clear example. Once the scheme is implemented, we can expect an expedited adoption of EVs in the country. The upgradation of our domestic battery manufacturing facilities will bring down costs and make EVs more affordable for the masses.
Another industry that is directly impacted is the renewable energy sector. A question that has always created uncertainty among consumers has been about harnessing solar power and other renewable energy when it is limited due to natural conditions. How do you get electricity at night if you have only solar power? Or when you have only had rains for days on end! The solutions to all these questions lie in the advanced Energy Storage Solutions. It allows for a greater grid flexibility and stability. It can supply power during peak times and charge during off-peak times, thereby managing variability caused by Renewable Energy and also taking advantage of dynamic pricing mechanisms. Grid balancing has been a major challenge as renewable penetration increases further. Grid connected energy storage systems can help mitigate these challenges and meet the changing consumption patterns and ensure a constant supply of electricity. 24×7!
The lack of investments in domestic manufacturing of ESS till date rendered the existing facilities incapable of matching the growing demand leading to our dependence on imports. The PLI scheme, with the direct investment of Rs 45,000 crores in these storage systems and target of 50 GWh of ACC manufacturing facilities, is that first step towards making our facilities at par with global counterparts and ensuring that we Make in India for India and the world, eventually.