The Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI), a public sector under India’s Ministry of New & Renewable Energy, has issued the tender for establishing a Standalone Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) with a storage capacity of 1000 megawatt-hours (MWh) or 500 MW for two hours, as reported by The Hindu on April 16. The BESS scheme can collect solar energy during the daytime and provide electricity to the grid at night. This represents the first auction for BESS in India and is also part of the country’s short-term target of building 4,000 MWh of power storage capacity. Between 2029 and 2030, India’s Central Electricity Authority (CEA) aims for a battery storage capacity of 108,000 MWh or 27,000 MW for four hours.
The BESS would enable India to use renewable power for meeting its power demand at night, as the country’s nighttime power demand is mainly fulfilled by coal-fired power plants at present. At the COP26 global climate summit last year, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi committed that the country will have 500 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy capacity by 2030, while the country had a renewable capacity of 151.4 GW at the end of 2021. To fulfill the commitment, India’s BESS will need to reach a capacity of 252,000 MWh or 63,000 MW according to a report by the Observer Research Foundation. However, the surging global lithium prices have brought uncertainty to India’s plan to ramp up the deployment of BESS, as the system is primarily based on lithium-ion batteries.