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Wärtsilä believes energy storage is ‘only answer’ to India’s grid problems

Wärtsilä said that India would benefit from instant-start, fast ramping technologies such as battery storage. Credit: Wartsila

Finland-based power firm Wärtsilä, which is active in the renewable energy and energy storage markets, plans to enter the Indian energy storage market, citing “looming” grid management challenges in the country.

Some Indian states, particularly in the south where energy demand is lower, already have high penetrations of renewable energy and grid integration is becoming increasingly stressed. Curtailment is a regular feature of wind and solar operators' lives in the state of Tamil Nadu for example.

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In a release, Wärtsilä stated that India also faces peak energy shortages in certain states, at certain hours of the day, and during some seasons. The firm also believes that stand-alone energy storage is “the only answer” to these problems. It also claims that the need for flexibility has been acknowledge by Indian planners, electricity authorities and regulators who the Finnish company said have realised that widening networks to allow for inter-state transmission and better geographical distribution of power is not the only answer.

Instead, Wärtsilä said that India would benefit from “instant-start, fast ramping technologies such as battery storage and gas-powered plants based on IC Engines”.

It may also be an opportune time to enter the Indian space, given that the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) is currently debating how and whether to introduce a mandate for solar and wind projects above a certain size to be coupled with energy storage. Energy-Storage.News also understands that the CEA is also considering moving from a 15 minute forecasting window to just 5 minutes for solar and wind plants – surely another boon for storage providers.

The firm entered the solar space in March 2016. Later, in May 2017, after acquiring utility-scale energy storage software and solutions firm Greensmith Energy Management Systems, Wärtsilä increased its focus on stationary storage systems, hybrid systems as well as software. In the same month it launched hybrid and standalone energy storage systems, targeting areas where it saw “high market potential”, including remote microgrids and solar PV integration.

Javier Cavada Camino, president, energy solutions, and executive vice-president of Wärtsilä Corporation, said: “We are very excited to be able to introduce these new solutions to our customers in India. Adding energy storage technology enables customers to have instant power while saving fuel and maintenance costs. The growing capacity of renewable generation, including solar PV, becomes more sustainable and attractive when integrated with advanced energy storage.”

Neeraj Sharma, president and managing director, Wärtsilä India, said: “Wärtsilä energy storage solutions will significantly improve efficiency by increasing back-up capacity and creating new opportunities in electricity markets. Energy storage has become an integral part of every power system, with features like frequency support and reserves, peak demand management, demand charge reduction (for the Commercial & Industrial segment) and energy shifting. Customer benefits include peak demand management, demand charge reduction (C&I), electricity market opportunities and back-up capacity.”

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