2021-01-18
Energy Storage not a distant reality in India: Can power backup at customer end support grid stability?

Energy Storage not a distant reality in India: Can power backup at customer end support grid stability?

Remember this scene from the Bollywood movie 3 Idiots? Indeed it was a hilarious scene, where the main character Rancho (Aamir Khan) started explaining the concept of an inverter that can take power from all the car batteries in the parking lot outside a wedding reception and can provide back-up power for the ceremony. We all laughed at it, as he was the uninvited guest at the wedding and with this excuse he was trying to explain this presence at the ceremony!

Just imagine, the way Rancho explained if all the back-up power systems like UPS and inverters with batteries at our commercial complexes and industries can be connected to the grid to provide frequency regulation ancillary services. The overall ESS (Energy Storage System) cost can be much lesser than we expect if we can achieve this task of integrating all the backup infrastructure at our consumer's end and instead provide a stable and reliable grid to the country. Similar models can be applied in many countries in Africa and Asia where the power backup market is fairly large due to the poor grid infrastructure.

In India alone, the power back upmarket is estimated to be over $4 billion, out of which UPS, inverter and battery market is expected to be around $1.7 billion, which is huge. This size of the market is good enough to provide ancillary services in the scale of 1 GW. On top of this, advancement in battery technologies and smart grid solutions can really enable this concept and can bring great benefits.

However, currently, there is no market for Frequency Control Ancillary Services in India. Hence, the ESS market for this application does not exist. But the market has huge potential for the future since the government is considering the introduction of policies on this front. Ancillary power supply market will be worth 3 to 4 GW in India. And ESS can account for almost 25 to 30 % of this market. Hence an ESS market worth almost 1 GW might open up in the next five years just for ancillary service application.