12th July, 2022

As the power grids decarbonize with intermittent renewable energy sources like solar and wind, the need for Energy storage becomes more prominent. The total amount of capacity can be modeled based on the projected generation and consumption profiles over the next decades. In fact, for the Indian grid, the Central Energy agency has projected a quantum of ~25 GW/100 GWh of Energy storage on India’s electrical network by FY 2029/30 to be able to adequately integrate the increasing renewables and load on the grid.

While at a macro system level this provides a good indication of the quantum of storage needed to balance supply and demand at any instance, the need for a more micro, locational study is important to identify the exact location within the electrical network where this storage capacity would add maximum value. In this article we look at the merits of integrating Energy storage at different points along the power value chain.

1. Generation –

ESS integrated with Utility scale renewable energy generating facilities, be it solar or wind, have thus far been the most popular location for placing an ESS. This can be seen through various tenders issued under the ‘Round the clock’ and ‘Peak tariff’ constructs. Following are some of the benefits of integrating an ESS co-located with a power generating station

Advantages –

  • Predictable Power injection into the grid from intermittent generating plants
  • Provides insurance against policy changes in the future for the financier as it potentially enables selling on different markets
  • Large volumes offered by utility scale storage drives down overall cost of storage within the network
  • Higher Plant Load Factor (PLF)

2. Transmission –

Standalone ESS integrated with transmission networks create large warehouses of energy which can help defer investments in new transmission routes as the electrical demand increases. We foresee a large number of standalone Energy storage projects being announced by central and state transmission companies going forward. Transmission companies also very often act as financially stable counterparties which could act as a catalyst for adoption of energy storage during this early phase of BESS adoption when the battery prices still remain high.

Advantages –

  • Congestion management enabling higher injection of RE as well as increase in electrical demand
  • Providing extremely fast ancillary services
  • Capex deferral for transmission assets
  • Enhancing redundancy and resilience of transmission networks

3. Distribution –

ESS integrated at both Medium voltage and low voltage distribution levels coupled with a good cloud based software (DERMS)*, can add significant flexibility to the distribution network. These distribution connected ESS can act as network level UPS systems that enable higher grid uptime (thereby higher SAIFI, SAIDI metrics), that is critical to the growth of most businesses. Since distribution is the last mile of the power network and is closest to the loads.

ESS connected at this level offers distinct advantages as follows:

  • Higher quality of power (voltage, power factor) to the consumer, enabling higher life of all electrical appliances connected to the network
  • Avoidance of creation of new distribution infrastructure disrupting urban life (for eg. digging roads for cable laying etc.)
  • Digitalisation of the distribution network as much of the Low voltage levels of our power systems lack online network monitoring

4. Behind the Consumer’s (C&I) Meter –

ESS offers varied value propositions to various industrial and commercial facilities based on the type of electrical load, quality of power and capacity to increase solar. For eg. for industries with large surge and spike loads, ESS helps reduce demand charges often based on the maximum load during a 15 minute time block, while for industries which witness frequent power outages, it acts as an alternative to running polluting Diesel gensets.

Advantages –

  • Energy cost optimization as the number of sources to purchase power from (Rooftop Solar, grid, Open Access, Captive, IEX, DGset etc.) keeps increasing
  • Enabling higher local RE integration for climate conscious companies
  • Reducing dependence on Diesel Gensets

If you are a Generation, T&D or any kind of business looking to reduce energy costs, AmpereHour, through its in-house simulation tools, can help you assess the viability of integrating a BESS within your network.