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India looks to install demonstration projects for integrating renewables

India looks to be the latest country to examine installing energy storage at the top level, with the Power Grid Corporation of India (PGCIL) actively seeking demonstration projects and the country’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) inviting comments from stakeholders ahead of similar plans.

Last week, MNRE issued a request for comments, observations and feedback on a draft ‘Expression of Interest for Energy Storage Demonstration Projects for Supporting Renewable Energy Generation’. The ministry referred to the important role energy storage could provide in assisting the integration of renewable energy sources. It will consider both small- and grid-scale projects.

In the initial Expression of Interest, the ministry has asked for comment and feedback from all stakeholders including developers, academia, electric utility companies and industry, setting a 10 August deadline for submissions.

MNRE says it hopes that demonstration projects will help shape a focused programme to develop technical knowledge and to form an assessment of the market for energy storage in India. The ministry also says that through the programme it hopes to generate awareness of the possible economic benefits of providing energy storage as well as examining how financing structures could work.

The invitation from MNRE to stakeholders will look at installing four demonstration projects. These will examine key types and uses of energy storage, beginning with the integration of large scale wind and solar resources into India’s transmission grids. MNRE will also look at proposals for demonstration projects working with rural micro-grids, micro-grids for commercial, industrial, residential, defense and other applications and also at large-scale standalone storage systems. The news follows last week’s publication by MNRE of guidelines for the next round of its national solar programme, expected to begin later this year.

The India Energy Storage Alliance will host an 'open webinar' on the two proposals by MNRE and PGCIL on 30 July.
PGCIL on the other hand, is inviting tenders for three categories of 500kW/250kWh energy storage demonstration projects. It will examine lithium-ion, advanced lead acid, with the third category of projects to include large-scale sodium nickel chloride (molten salt), alkaline, and flow batteries. Citing a predicted 33GW of renewable energy to be added to the grid by the end of 2017, PGCIL says batteries could “ensure stability of the grid balancing mechanisms".

The India Energy Storage Alliance (IESA), which describes itself as “an open platform for all the key players in the entire Energy Storage gamut” claims its own work has been instrumental in the background behind the launch of the proposals. IESA referred to a number of collaborations with MNRE and PGCIL that it said had led to the latest announcement, including offering training workshops to utility officials and regulators on the latest developments in smart grid technology.

IESA will host a web seminar on 30 July to brief any interested parties on the PGCIL and MNRE proposals. IESA was formed by Indian company Customized Energy Solutions.

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