Five conditions that can lead to higher energy storage deployment in South Asia

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The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), a US Department of Energy national lab, has released a new report discussing the five conditions that can lead to an increase in energy storage deployment across South Asia.

The conditions include:

  • Low solar energy and battery energy storage system costs – A decrease in both solar energy and battery energy storage technologies could enable an increase in the solar capacity installation by 55% and storage capacity deployment by 79%.
  • Low battery cost – This would result in a 28% increase in solar capacity and 44% in energy storage capacity.
  • Low solar PV cost – A 28% increase in solar capacity is likely to result, whilst energy storage deployment will increase by 32%
  • No new fossil fuel – In addition to reducing carbon emissions, this would expand energy storage capacity rollout by 52%.
  • Low Pumped storage hydropower would result in a 1% increase in solar capacity additions and a 26% increase in energy storage deployment.

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On the other hand, factors including high battery costs, no gas power additions, no energy storage operating reserves, no energy storage time-shifting value, and no energy storage capacity credit will result in decreases in energy storage deployment, according to the study.

The launch of the report comes at a time energy storage rollout has become critical for utilities to be able to expand their portfolio of renewables for decarbonisation. For instance, the Indian government setting a target 175GW of solar and wind energy capacity by 2022, which can be achieved if energy storage deployment is intensified.

In addition, energy storage would enable:

  1. Energy time-shifting throughout the day to reduce curtailment of renewable energy and reduce the cost of electricity during peak demand
  2. Provision of reliable capacity for long-term system reliability, helping offset the need for new coal-fired power plants
  3. Provision of on-call operating reserves needed to manage grid frequency.

However, supporting regulation is needed to ensure an increased deployment of energy storage, an essential standard for optimal grid operations in future.

In all the scenarios studied by NREL, storage rollout will increase from current levels in India through 2030 and 2050, thereby showing the critical role the technology will play in future energy business cases.

In Bangladesh, energy storage is expected to help reduce reliance on expensive, high-polluting diesel- and fuel-oil-fired power plants to manage demand and provide peaking power.

In Bhutan and Nepal, which mainly rely on hydropower, energy storage can be used to optimise the domestic use of hydropower and increase energy exported to India, a development that could help increase foreign currency earnings.

Ilya Chernyakhovskiy, researcher 111-decision support analysis at NREL, said: “This study shows how a level playing field for energy storage to compete with conventional technologies can lead to an increase in renewable energy deployment, reduced air emissions from the power sector, and lower costs for electricity.

“While we didn’t evaluate energy storage versus other emerging technologies, such as demand response, electric vehicles, or distributed energy resources, the results of this study make clear that cost-effective energy storage in South Asia is right around the corner.”

Find out more about the study.