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Draft mission to kick-start renewable energy storage (Relevant for GS Prelims, GS Mains Paper III; Science & Technology)

Power grids currently do not integrate renewable energy sources
The draft National Energy Storage Mission expects to kick-start grid-connected energy storage in India, set up a regulatory framework, and encourage indigenous manufacture of batteries, according to a member of the expert committee set up by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) last month.

What is the target?
The draft sets a “realistic target” of 15-20 gigawatt hours (GWh) of grid-connected storage within the next five years, according to Debi Prasad Dash, director, India Energy Storage Alliance (IESA), an industry body that is a part of the committee. Power grids do not currently use storage options that would help in smoothly integrating renewable energy sources.

Why there is need of storage?
Renewable energy sources now make up almost one-fifth of India’s total installed power capacity. However, as power grids increase their share of solar and wind energy, the problem remains that the peak supply of renewable sources does not always meet peak demand. For instance, solar energy generation may be at its peak at noon, but unless stored, it will not be available when needed to light up homes at night. Moreover, renewable sources are inherently intermittent: there are days when the wind doesn’t blow, or the sky is cloudy.

Batteries could help store surplus energy during peak generation times but are more immediately needed to stabilise the grid when shifting between renewables and the base load thermal capacity. “Once the installed capacity of renewables reaches 100 GW [from the current 65 GW], it will become critical to incorporate storage options.

(Adapted from The Hindu)

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