Indian state’s chief minister marks start of construction at hybrid solar-wind-pumped hydro storage plant

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Construction has begun on a major hybrid renewable energy and storage plant in Andhra Pradesh, India, with the state’s chief minister ceremonially helping to lay the project’s concrete foundation.

India-headquartered independent power producer (IPP) Greenko is building the single location project in Andhra Pradesh’s Kurnool District. It comprises 3,000MW of solar PV, 550MW of wind power generation and 1,680MW/10,800MWh of pumped hydro energy storage (PHES) for a total 5,230MW.

What has been dubbed by Greenko as the world’s largest integrated renewable energy storage (IRES) plant in the world to date kicked off construction works yesterday as Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy performed the first pour of concrete.

The minister said the project is creating history and would be a “trigger and a blueprint for the rest of India”.

“This project demonstrates how the use of fossil fuels will increasingly take a back seat and renewable energy will lead the way in the future,” Reddy said.

“I appreciate the innovation and initiative undertaken by Greenko in setting up this facility which will provide clean energy round the clock.”

The minister also noted that Andhra Pradesh offers support to companies seeking to invest in the transition to low carbon energy, with the state’s topography holding the potential to host 33GW of renewable energy capacity.

Greenko said it is making an investment worth about US$3 billion to build the hybrid plant.

The IPP has signed up numerous industrial and utility off-takers and formed partnerships with other power companies to market and sell the plant’s energy. That includes a partnership with IPP Ayana Renewable Power to offer industrial customers 24/7 renewable energy under a replicable template contract, a similar agreement with Adani and a 975MW contract to sell energy to metals company ArcelorMittal.

Greenko’s project won an Indian government tender in 2018 and was highlighted by industry experts as the lowest cost bid to win a renewables-plus-storage project contract anywhere in the world at the time, with a tariff of US$0.054/kWh.

The IPP is in the shared ownership of its two founders, sovereign wealth funds from Singapore and Abu Dhabi, along with Japan’s Orix Corporation. In 2020, Orix acquired 20% of the company for an investment of more than US$980 million, which left Greenko valued at about US$5.75 billion.

Greenko has ambitions to deploy 50GWh of energy storage by 2025 and 100GWh by 2027 as well as 10GW of green hydrogen facilities. The company’s CEO, MD and founder Anil Chalamalasetty yesterday echoed minister Reddy’s words in highlighting Andhra Pradesh’s renewable energy potential and said the state would become “an energy storage capital of India” as well as a sustainable manufacturing hub.

Driven largely by national policy goals for decarbonisation that require the deployment of at least 500GW of renewable energy, India is fast becoming a hot market for energy storage, including batteries as well as pumped hydro. Large tenders for battery storage hosted by government-backed entities are being held, while the government is also maintaining a supportive stance towards growing battery manufacturing capacity in the country.

Greenko said its project is expected to be commissioned by the latter part of 2023.

In April, Energy-Storage.news reported that JSW Energy of Indian conglomerate JSW Group signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the state government of Chhattisgarh for a 1GW PHES plant. Company CEO Prashant Jain said that JSW Energy aims, like Greenko, to directly pair PHES with solar and wind plants to create firm dispatchable renewable power.

On 22 June 2022, Energy-Storage.news and Clean Horizon will host a webinar explaining and analysing the current and future business models for energy storage in India, with guest speakers including Dr Rahul Walawalkar of the India Energy Storage Alliance (IESA) and Bharath Reddy from the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI). Sign up to attend, free of charge, here.

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