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Fluence targets growth potential in India, forming JV with independent power producer ReNew Power

Fluence Cube, the company’s sixth generation battery storage solution, launched in 2020. Image: Fluence.

Fluence is forming a new company with independent power producer (IPP) ReNew Power, aimed at providing energy storage solutions in India. 

Energy storage technology provider Fluence, which also offers digital asset management and energy trading software for the renewable energy sector, delivered the country’s first operational grid-scale energy storage system, a 10MW lithium-ion battery energy storage system (BESS) inaugurated in 2019

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While that remains one of only a small handful of mostly distributed projects across India, a boom in installations is forecasted for the coming years and the JV, which will be 50:50 owned by Fluence and ReNew Power and expected to be up and running in the second half of this year, is targeting that potential. 

The first project the pair will work on will be Fluence’s supply of a 150MWh BESS for a 300MW Peak Power project in the Indian state of Karnataka. ReNew Power won a government tender for the project, which hybridises solar, wind and battery storage to supply power to the grid at peak times.  

ReNew Power has a portfolio of more than 100 operational utility-scale solar PV and wind plants in India as well as distributed solar energy plants serving more than 150 commercial and industrial (C&I) customers. 

The company has also claimed something of a head-start advantage in the energy storage sector. In addition to the Peak Power project, it is also building a “first of a kind” Round-The-Clock (RTC) renewable energy project. There is a 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA) in place for the project with the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI). 

As the name suggests, the RTC project will supply 24/7 renewable energy with a combination of wind power generation, solar PV and batteries. 

Last August the IPP listed on the NASDAQ exchange after a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) merger, generating US$610 million in net proceeds for ReNew Power’s parent company ReNew Energy Global. Two months after that Fluence got its own stock exchange listing via an IPO

Of the new JV, ReNew and Fluence will offer battery-based energy storage solutions to a range of customers in the Indian market, including engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) and asset management services.

“India’s energy transition and its ambition to achieve net zero by 2070 calls for strong and rapid storage integration with the grid,” ReNew Power CEO and chairman Sumant Sinha said, adding that the new JV will bring localised solutions to the market.

“I expect it to set new milestones for the storage industry in India,” Sinha said. 

With India targeting 450GW of solar and wind renewable generation capacity by 2030, its need for energy storage is likely to be great. The country’s Central Electricity Authority has projected the energy storage market will reach 27GW/108GWh by the end of this decade.

A few days ago, reported that potential manufacturers of ‘advanced chemistry cell’ batteries within India had submitted 130GWh of bids for a government incentive programme designed to support the creation of about 50GWh of gigafactories. 

While electric vehicles (EVs) will be an obvious and major focus for electrification with batteries, the government Ministry of Heavy Industries also emphasised the importance of a domestic energy storage industry in launching that tender programme. 

The government has also said it is committed to encouraging downstream deployment of storage as well as upstream manufacturing capabilities in the country. 

Various government agency tenders for energy storage procurement are underway or expected, so far mostly focused on renewables-plus-storage but with interest growing in standalone storage too. The Central Electricity Authority has also drafted plans to enable participation for energy storage and demand response in the ancillary services market

“We will support the country’s ambitious climate goals in a capital-efficient manner by localising our products to align with specific market needs, making our patented technologies and designs available to the joint venture and increasing the made-in-India content over time,” Fluence CEO Manuel Pérez Dubuc said. 

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