Last year, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) and President Obama outlined numerous trade and investment initiatives with India at the U.S.-India Business Council Summit. Included in the plans was an initiative to invest nearly $2 billion for priority renewable energy projects in the country. Building off of this momentum, GE has announced that its Energy Consulting business has been chosen by IL&FS Energy Development Company Limited to examine the feasibility of integrated wind, solar and energy storage projects at its sites in Ramagiri (Andhra Pradesh) and Nana Layja (Gujarat), India.
“Energy storage technologies are essential to the integration of renewables. They help to address the variability of wind and solar PV generation and make renewable energy more acceptable to the grid,” said Sunil Wadhwa, managing director, IL&FS Energy. “For commercial deployment of these technologies, a robust regulatory framework needs to be in place. The flexibility and cost reductions that energy storage technologies provide to grid infrastructure would allow India to achieve an efficient, low-carbon intensity trajectory. The current challenge, however, is to address the initial high cost through a regulatory framework.”
IL&FS Energy, a subsidiary of Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services Limited (IL&FS)—one of the largest wind independent power producers in India—is at the forefront of the country’s renewable integration initiative. In 2015, IL&FS Energy signed a grant agreement with the USTDA to undertake a techno-economic feasibility study to investigate how it can best integrate wind and solar photovoltaic (PV) installations with energy storage solutions to create dispatchable, utility-scale renewable energy projects. As a part of the study, GE will design an integrated wind, solar and energy storage plant, estimate its capital and operating costs and develop a business plan that includes the viability gap funding that will be required for the commercialization of the project.
“Energy storage can be particularly helpful for integrating variable renewable generation in India since the technical infrastructure and market mechanisms available at the disposal of many other power grids are not yet available in the country. As the costs start to come down, energy storage will become an integral part of India’s grid,” said Sundar Venkataraman, technical director, GE’s Energy Consulting business. “By taking a look at the impact of renewable integration with energy storage systems on India’s power grid, we can provide valuable information to help the country best design its future grid.”
GE expects to complete the project this summer.