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Reports say that Greenko Energy’s upcoming Rajasthan project, a solar and wind power hybrid facility, would have a 2,520 MW pumped-hydroelectric plant as well. It would provide costeffective and utility-scale energy storage in synergy with solar and wind power.
The solar-wind-pumped hydro hybrid model needs replicating. Power from renewable energy sources is both intermittent and variable, and we do need innovative storage that is both energy- and cost-efficient. The idea is to provide power round-the-clock for grid stability and reliability.
Pumped hydro would make perfect sense at Greenko’s project site at Shahpur, Baran district, which has three large rivers. Note that utility-scale battery storage for grid power remains a costly proposition, although costs have fallen substantially over the years. India’s first grid-scale Li-ion battery power storage is at a substation located at Rohini, New Delhi, operated by Tata Power since March 2019, with capacity of a modest 10 MW.
The way forward, surely, is to boost research and development efforts for more efficient energy storage solutions, with new materials, better electronics and improved power technologies. But we do need to better leverage well-established technologies such as pumped storage to hugely step up capacity to bring down energy costs while securing grid security.
Innovations like using solar energy to heat salt and use that trapped heat to boil water and generate steam must be explored. In tandem, we need to rev up grid analytics to optimise and make efficient use of our energy storage systems as we duly raise power from renewable energy sources considerably going forward. Policy tools like renewable purchase obligations and time-ofday tariffs need strengthening. India must explore all options.
This piece appeared as an editorial opinion in the print edition of The Economic Times.