Green energy goals are clear in mind, but is India ready for the technology?

India’s green energy goals for the next few years may be clear cut, but the country may need to focus more on related technologies to achieve its eco-friendly goals.

On the one hand, it invests in the research and development of superior technology for the production of coal-based electricity, the results of which have been very delayed; on the other hand, the major battery recharging and energy storage policies are still lacking.

In 2011, the government announced its intention to invest in Advanced Ultra Super Critical (AUSC) technology for thermal power and its first plant was expected to be ready in 2017. However, this It was only in August 2016 that the Cabinet Committee for Economic Affairs approved an R&D project proposal for the development of Advanced Ultra Super Critical (AUSC) technology for thermal power plants with an estimated cost of Rs.1554 crore and a time cycle of two and a half years. State-run BHEL and NTPC are working on this project. According to industry sources, most other countries appear to have abandoned the technology for a variety of reasons, including a bleak future for coal-fired power generation and the high costs associated with generating electricity at the using such technology. It also means that India will have to develop this technology locally.

India as of December 2017 had an installed capacity of 192.97 gigawatts (GW) of thermal capacity. It is committed to making coal-based generation efficient as part of the Paris climate agreement. AUSC technology involves bringing vapor temperatures up to 700°C, while ultra supercritical technology involves a temperature of 600°C, higher vapor temperature achieves better energy efficiency.

“The United States has abandoned this thermal power technology, as this technology is hardly used anymore. India will have to use coal as a source of electricity generation at least for the next two to three decades. The difficulty India would face is not in boiler technology but in steam turbine technology because the companies that India sources technology for turbines from do not operate at AUSC level. Japan was looking at it before, but not now,” said MS Unnikrishnan, Managing Director and CEO of Thermax. Also, Unnikrishnan points out, India could benefit from this research investment if we are able to get a result in the next two to three years.

An email query sent to NTPC and BHEL on Monday went unanswered.

The Central Electricity Authority (CEA) has estimated that the country may not need new thermal capacity in the next ten years. “For the next ten years, we have said that we will not invest in a new coal plant. If during this period energy storage technologies are put in place, we may not need to more coal. I’m not sure if a conversation about AUSC is relevant, we’ll have to wait and watch,” said Amarthaluru Subba Rao, Executive Director – Finance and Strategy at CLP India. Subba Rao warns that capacity India’s current thermal also faces a modernization challenge.”Upgrading existing plants to meet new emissions standards is going to be a phenomenal journey and if it will be possible to manage the cost structure. Maybe AUSC’s R&D investments are a backup plan if energy storage has not been developed in ten years,” he added.

An efficient energy storage system will help balance the grid for supply and demand anomalies. Energy storage systems, to some extent, can help eliminate the unreliability of renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power, where energy generated when the sun shines can be stored for a subsequent use at night or on cloudy days. However, key policies to promote energy storage are lacking in the country.

“We have seen how data storage has evolved; we will now see the same thing in the energy storage space. There are talks about energy storage, but there are no clear policies. Currently, the commercial viability of energy storage does not exist,” Subbarao added. The CLP, Subbarao added, also invests in finding alternative energy solutions globally. Closer to home, various companies such as Tata Power and JSW Energy have drawn up plans for battery charging and energy storage. However, there may be more needs from the government.

At the Energy storage India (ESI) 2018 event on Thursday, Suresh Prabhu, Minister of Trade and Industry, said, “Energy storage has the potential to change the dynamics of the energy profile of the world and, therefore, energy storage is an essential part of the global energy strategy. We should be the leaders, we should invest in R&D. »

Energy storage systems are essential to ensure efficient use of renewable energy sources in the country. India plans to have a total renewable energy capacity of 175 gigawatts by 2022. According to CEA data, India’s total installed renewable energy capacity as of September 2017 was 60.15 GW, of which solar power is 14.7 GW and wind power 32.70 GW.

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