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Solar Energy Corporation of India launching 1,000MWh energy storage tender

SECI exhibiting at a renewable energy investment trade event a few years ago. Image: SECI.

A pilot tender for 1,000MWh of battery storage is being readied for launch by the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI).

Prospective participants in a competitive bidding process have been invited to respond to an Expression of Interest (EOI) which SECI announced yesterday. Through the tender, 500MW / 1,000MWh of standalone battery energy storage systems (BESS) would be connected to the Indian inter-state transmission system (ISTS).

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The corporation is a Government of India Enterprise administratively controlled by the state’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE). As such, it supports major policy goals like the National Solar Mission and India’s targeted deployment of 450GW of renewable energy by the 2029-2030 financial year (FY2029-2030). 

The country has already reached 100GW of renewable energy capacity and renewables have become the “most affordable and cheapest source for annual energy requirements,” a document issued by SECI accompanying the EOI call said. 

However, the increasing penetration of variable renewable generation into the energy mix presents supply-demand mismatch issues and system stability challenges. The country’s Central Electricity Authority (CEA) has modelled that there will be 27,000MW of four-hour duration battery storage (108,000MWh) required by FY2029-2030 and 10,151MW of pumped hydro to meet the renewables integration and ancillary services needs of the electricity sector. 

SECI said it has received interest in using energy storage systems on-demand during both peak and off-peak hours, from prospective ‘Buying Entities’ around India. In light of this, the corporation has set up the new tender.

Successful bidders will enter into Battery Storage Purchase Agreements (BSPA) with SECI, with the bidding process to be conducted on a tariff-based competitive basis. 

At this stage, prospective bidders are being invited to submit comments to SECI by 27 October and a pre-bid conference will be held the following day. SECI will then issue a formal Request for Selection (RFS), kicking off the tender process.  

Further details can be downloaded from the SECI website here

In July, it had originally been thought the SECI pilot tender would be for 2,000MWh of capacity under 25-year contracts. But despite this, there is set to be plenty more capacity for developers to compete for, as the CEA modelling strongly implies.

The tender is among a wave of similar procurements and contracts in India, including several already underway and various others alluded to by government ministers over the past few months. State-owned power company NTPC, historically better known for generating energy from coal has already launched its own 1,000MWh tender process

Minister of Power and New and Renewable Energy RK Singh said in July that four tenders of 1,000MWh each across Regional Load Dispatch Centres (RLDCs) will be forthcoming. Then, in September Ministry of Power joint secretary Ghanshyam Prasad spoke at the World Energy Storage Day online conference and said that the government would be launching its first tender in a matter of weeks. 

In India and elsewhere, the “story of renewables is not complete without storage,” Prasad said.

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