The Energy Storage Report 2024

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Taking stock of energy storage in India in 2023

By Dr Rahul Walawalkar, president, India Energy Storage Alliance
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The India Energy Storage Alliance (IESA) has long been dedicated to supporting and promoting the industry, while helping policymakers and regulators to better understand and collaborate with it. New Delhi recently played host to the group’s flagship event, India Energy Storage Week, and Dr Rahul Walawalkar, founder & president of IESA, gives us an exclusive recap.  

The India Energy Storage Week, or IESW, the annual event organised by India Energy Storage Alliance, is the definitive event for the energy storage and e-mobility industry in India.

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The 2023 edition was spread across five days, with each day devoted to a particular topic: e-mobility, green hydrogen, stationary storage, technical aspects and manufacturing and R&D.

IESW in numbers

Just quickly, before we get onto the topics that were discussed and some of the insights we learned from hosting and attending the event, some numbers to highlight the growing scale and scope of India Energy Storage Week:

Demonstrating the country’s commitment to sustainable and green solutions, the expo saw participation from more than 500 world-class organisations from over 25 countries, including India, UK, USA, UAE, Australia, China, Germany, Singapore, France, Italy, Israel and Sri Lanka, and 100+ CXOs from the e-mobility and green hydrogen ecosystem, 100+ start-ups, 50+ women energy leaders, and 8+ government ministries.

From the policy side, top government bureaucrats, scientists and international authorities including Tarun Kapoor, special adviser to the PM, Ghanashyam Prasad of the Central Electricity Authority, Sudhendu Sinha from NITI Aayog, Hanif Qureshi from the Ministry of Heavy Industries, Dinesh Jagdale from Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), Abhay Bakre from the Bureau of Energy Efficiency, Vishal Kapoor of EESL, Ajay Mathur of the International Solar Alliance, S R Narasimhan of Grid India, Dr Sunita Satyapal of the US Department of Energy (DOE), Dr Preeti Banzal from Office of Principal Scientific Advisor, India, and Dr Ashish Lele from National Chemicals Laboratory, graced the occasion and participated in the deliberations.

Speakers included industry bigwigs such as Vijayanand Samudrala and Vikramadithya Gourineni from Amara Raja Batteries, Bud Collins from American Battery Solutions, Vikram Handa of Epsilon Advance Materials, Vikram Gulati of Toyota Kirloskar Motors, Derek Shah of L&T, Gert Meylemans of EuroBAT, Julia Souder of Long Duration Energy Storage Council, Dr Anuradha Ganesh from Cummins, Anil Rajanna of Fluence, Bernd Frank of MKS Atotech, Terry Mohn of Australian Microgrid Centre of Excellence and Stephen Fernands of Customized Energy Solutions (USA).

A glittering award ceremony on the third day saw Shri Suresh Prabhu, former Union power minister, gave away the IESA Industry Excellence Awards.

Top takeaways from five days of top-class discussion

Now to the substance of the sessions. Here are the top takeaways from the deliberations at IESW 2023:

Manufacturing supply chain

  • India is expected to get over 150GWh of domestic cell manufacturing by 2030 up from the original target of 50GWh by 2027 set up through the Advanced Chemistry Cell Production Linked Incentives (ACC PLI) announced by NITI Aayog and Ministry of Heavy Industries.
  • Ministry of Power and Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) is also considering additional PLI for 25-50GWh for supporting technologies suitable for stationary energy storage later this year.
  • NITI Aayog, the national public policy think tank for accelerating growth and economic development, is evaluating need for possible support for developing complete ecosystem for entire supply chain for not just the domestic ‘gigafactories’ but also for making India an export hub for processed materials for global gigafactories with focus on US and Europe.
  • Batteries need recycling, and hydrometallurgy is still the way to do it. Copper, aluminum and graphite are common to all battery chemistries, and represent more than 65% of recovered materials. India is forecast to face a cumulative demand for 75GWh of recycling by 2030.

Power and energy storage

  • India could well exceed the ‘50% by 2030’ target for renewable energy generation. The country’s success recently even found favor with Frencesco La Camara, the head of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). Government officials say the country is looking to bid out 50GW of renewable projects every year by 2030.
  • India’s solar and wind assets are concentrated in the western and southern part of the country. IESA and various government agencies estimate the country will need at least 160GWh of energy storage capacity by 2030.
  • India is one of the first countries to start focusing on need for long-duration energy storage (LDES), with a series of tenders for six hours of energy storage already released. Pumped hydro energy storage (PHES) and newer forms of long-duration storage technologies are expected to compete for these tenders.
  • Battery storage opportunities in India remain high, and the government is actively seeking opportunities for cooperating and partnering with other countries. The issues of energy transition and energy security find mention in the G20 forum as well. The World Bank is providing a US$1 billion facility to State Bank of India (SBI) for financing energy storage, similar to its previous facility, provided for supporting rooftop solar.

E-mobility

  • India has witnessed strong growth of EVs across the two-wheeled, three-wheeled and four-wheel vehicle segments during past year. More products are expected to be launched in the coming months, making this an exciting time for prospective consumers. At the same time, changes in the FAME (‘Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric and Hybrid Vehicles in India’) policy incentives could provide some challenges for the industry.
  • IESA and the International Copper Association India jointly released two reports covering India’s EV supply chain and India’s EV battery supply chain, outlining the ecosystems, short- and long-term demand, market shares and battery chemistries, before mapping the path to indigenisation.
  • Battery swapping for two-wheelers works, but interoperability needs a deeper look. Batteries shouldn’t just work across different bikes of similar power, but different bikes of different powers. That demands flexible power discharge capabilities.
  • Hydrogen is still the green fuel answer for commercial and long distance transport needs. But the question remains: How do we get there? Greater engagement is required between academia, policy and industry to chart this roadmap. The absence of hydrogen refuelling infrastructure remains a major hurdle. Also, the color of your hydrogen matters. Recent policy moves that empowered the government to launch a carbon trading scheme will support and promote green hydrogen, by enabling decarbonisation potential and facilitating revenue through carbon trading. 

The road ahead for India’s energy storage sector

With the industry still nascent, everybody needs to work together. IESA signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Singapore Battery Consortium for global collaboration on technology transfer, bilateral partnership and joint research opportunities, and a second MoU with the Electronics Sector Skills Council of India for joint training programmes.

It’s time to applaud the women leaders that are contributing to the growth of the clean energy industry in India. More than 50 of them gathered at the Women in Energy roundtable to network and share insights to increase women participation across the sector.

Globally too, the renewables segment is much more women-friendly than other areas, even within the energy industry.

As Suparna Singh, Head of Corporate Strategy Special Projects, Larsen & Toubro, said, “Women have been an integral part of nature and have been at the forefront of conservation and sustainability. If the energy transition movement has to accelerate and be sustainable, then the voices, ideas and actions of women have to be necessarily included.”

About the Author

Dr Rahul Walwalkar is founder and president of the India Energy Storage Alliance (IESA), as well as president and managing director of Customized Energy Solutions. He has previously served as member of the Board of Directors of the US Energy Storage Association (ESA) for six years and was elected Vice Chair for the Global Energy Storage Alliance (GESA) in 2014. IESA is focused on the development of advanced energy storage, green hydrogen, and e-mobility technologies in India. Founded in 2012, by Customized Energy Solutions, IESA’s vision is to make India a global hub for R&D, manufacturing, and adoption of advanced energy storage, e-mobility, and green hydrogen technologies.

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