Greenko wins NTPC energy storage tender in India with pumped hydro proposal


Greenko has won a technology agnostic tender hosted by NTPC Renewable Energy in India to provide long-duration energy storage.

Clean energy independent power producer (IPP) Greenko presented the lowest priced bid in a reverse auction hosted by NTPC Renewable Energy Limited (NTPC REL), a subsidiary of state-owned power company NTPC.

Greenko’s winning submission is for a 500MW/3,000MWh pumped hydro energy storage (PHES) plant. It will serve NTPC REL under a 25-year contract, with the power generation company seeking to use the long-duration energy storage (LDES) resource to offer 24/7 ‘round-the-clock’ clean energy to customers such as large corporates and utilities.

Greenko has already become known as a developer of PHES in India, somewhat reviving the fortunes of a legacy technology that offers large capacity energy storage at low cost – if the sites with the right space, topography and access to electricity network infrastructure can be found for it.

The company claimed to be developing some 50GWh of PHES at various sites in India, some of it already underway, such as a project in Andhra Pradesh’s Kurnool District which combines 1,680MW/10,800MWh of pumped hydro with 3,000MW of solar PV and 550MW of wind generation.

Construction on that plant, worth US$3 billion investment, began in May this year. At the time of its contract award in 2018, it was thought to be the lowest priced bid for a renewables-plus-storage plant anywhere in the world, at US$0.054/kWh.

Greenko is using its buildout of PHES to create its own 100% renewable energy supply offerings, including in partnership with major Indian renewables players like Ayana Renewable Power and an off-take deal with metals company ArcelorMittal.

Cost of storage ‘as low as US$29/MWh’

The IPP said last week that its bid in the NTPC REL tender beat away competition from project bids that included a broad range of technologies, including lithium-ion and sodium-sulfur batteries, compressed air energy storage (CAES) and other pumped hydro developments.

NTPC REL had been looking for projects to be sited anywhere in India, with a minimum of 100MW/600MWh output/capacity, up to 500MW/3,000MWh. Already-commissioned resources were not eligible, although plants under construction were, as long as they were not already included in a state or national scheme.

Greenko claimed the tender to be “an inflection point in the global energy transition journey,” establishing a model for soliciting long-duration storage by renewable energy generators and procuring low-carbon energy resources. It also, the company claimed, established PHES “as the preferred and lowest cost long-duration energy storage solution”.

The cost of its bid was equivalent to US$58/MWh on the basis of the PHES plant performing a single daily cycle, which Greenko noted is roughly half the cost of recently tendered lithium-ion battery storage projects in the country. If factoring in that PHES could deliver more than one cycle per day, the cost comes down to as little as US$29/MWh, Greenko claimed.

NTPC and various other government entities in India have begun tendering for energy storage in a bid to stimulate the market and offer long-term stability for private investors into the renewable energy space. The launch of tenders over the past year or so has been described as marking the start of India’s “energy storage revolution”.’ publisher Solar Media will host the 1st Energy Storage Summit Asia, 11-12 July 2023 in Singapore. The event will help give clarity on this nascent, yet quickly growing market, bringing together a community of credible independent generators, policymakers, banks, funds, off-takers and technology providers. For more information, go to the website.

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