POWER UTILITY | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Asia charges up energy storage demand

India is now joining the bandwagon for its solar ambitions.

As Asia builds up its renewable energy capacity, the case for installing energy storage systems (ESS) is also becoming more compelling. Countries in the region that are scaling up their solar rooftop programmes and attempting to connect far-flung regions to the power grid are starting to appreciate the boons of an integrated ESS.

“Storage is becoming an increasingly important tool for integrating a rising share of variable renewable energy — including solar photovoltaic (PV) — into existing power systems,” says IRENA Research. “In the future, storage will probably play a major role in providing energy for island systems and for access in remote areas of the developing world, particularly when combined with solar PV.”

In Asia Pacific, some countries — namely Japan, South Korea, China, and Australia — have started to integrate ESS with solar PV and wind power plants to better control power output fluctuations, says Natthida Jongsuwanwattana, renewable energy engineer, Mott MacDonald.

Among these countries that have begun using ESS, Japan has the most experience in deployment for utility-scale generation as part of its effort to stabilise the weakly interconnected Hokkaido regional grid.

Jongsuwanwattana reckons one of the main benefits of integrating ESS is that it allows greater control of output from renewable power plants, albeit it will also increase the total investment cost of projects. The ESS can be used to store energy generation from solar PV plants during daytime and inject such storage energy to the distribution system when peak demand occurs during night time.

India has also joined the bandwagon in tapping into the potential of ESS, but more to support its rooftop solar programme.

AES India, a subsidiary of The AES Corporation, and Mitsubishi Corporation, recently entered a joint partnership to deliver India’s first grid-scale energy storage array to the electric grid. It will be operated by Tata Power Delhi Distribution Limited (Tata Power-DDL).

“For a rooftop solar programme to be successful, it is important for the distribution network to integrate it with energy storage solutions to take care of power generation spikes and fluctuations, system stability, reactive power compensation, and grid emergencies,” says Praveer Sinha, CEO and MD, Tata Power-DDL.

“Rapidly growing generation capacity will need large scale deployment of energy storage for transmission decongestion, protecting processing plants from grid frequency, and voltage drop triggered outages,” said Rajendra Shrivastav, president of AES India.

To ensure the optimisation of the ESS, project managers in Asian countries must seriously consider the associated costs for various battery sizes along with the curtailment loss in monetary units.

Jongsuwanwattana also recommends close coordination and data sharing between all relevant parties get most value out of the ESS integration.

“Strong collaboration among the grid utility, developers, ESS manufacturers, and all relevant parties is necessary. Developers may have to share data from operating renewable energy power plants with or without ESS for the grid utility to study the effects and characteristics of the renewable projects that influence the grid stability,” she says.

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