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New Delhi: In a push to India’s green energy plans, state-run NTPC Ltd has floated a global tender for setting up a 1,000-megawatt hour (MWh) grid-scale battery storage system.

The plan involves designing, building, and operating such a system and also offers a co-investment partnership. One GWh (1,000-MWh) of battery capacity is sufficient to power 1 million homes for an hour and around 30,000 electric cars.

Large battery storages can help India’s electricity grids, given the country’s ambitious clean energy targets and the intermittent nature of electricity from clean energy sources such as solar and wind. In such a scenario, storage holds the key for providing on-demand electricity from wind and solar projects.

According to the expression of interest (EoI) floated on Saturday, India’s largest power generation utility “intends to set up 1000 MWh of Grid-scale Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) at single/split across multiple NTPC power plants in India. In this regard, NTPC Limited invites Expression of Interest (EoI) from any Indian/Global Company/their Consortium/Affiliates/Representatives."

As part of its energy transition efforts, India is working towards electrification of the economy by developing action plans for the greening of electricity. According to India’s apex power sector planning body Central Electricity Authority (CEA), by 2030, the country’s power requirement would be 817GW, more than half of which would be clean energy.

“CEA’s Optimal Generation mix report outlines the need for 27 GW of grid-scale battery energy storage systems by 2030 with four hours storage," the EoI said.

The NTPC Group has an installed power generation capacity of 65.81 GW through 70 power projects and has 18 GW under construction. NTPC plans to invest 1 trillion between 2019 and 2024 to become a 130GW power producer by 2032. Of this, 60 GW will come from renewable energy sources. The PSU on Sunday announced its target of 10% reduction in net energy intensity as part of its energy compact goals.

“This EOI is to assess commercialization prospects of Setting up Grid- scale Battery Energy Storage System. The BESS shall be set up within NTPC power plant premises. After identifying the APPLICANTs through EoI who are interested in setting up 1000 MWh Grid-scale Battery Energy Storage System, Request for Proposals (RfP) for undertaking project(s) at single/split across multiple NTPC plants shall be invited separately for setting up the facilities and scalable model for further additional requirements," the EoI added.

There is growing traction for India’s playbook for developing a battery storage ecosystem that involves setting up 50-gigawatt hour (GWh) manufacturing capacity for advanced chemistry cell batteries by attracting investments totaling 45,000 crore.

Mint reported on 3 June about Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), Adani Group, Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd, Tata Chemicals, Larsen and Toubro Ltd, Greeenko Group, Renew Power, and a joint venture (JV) led by Japan’s Suzuki Motor Corp. among companies who have shown interest in building lithium-ion cell manufacturing plants in India.

“Grid-scale battery energy storage systems (BESS) have been the subject of intensive research in the recent times in India owing primarily to the emerging challenge of integrating large amounts of variable renewable energy (VRE) in the power grid," the EoI said.

The last date for submission for EoIs is 10 August. NTPC has around 4GW of renewable capacity, mostly solar, and plans to add at least 5GW solar capacity within two years.

“Amongst the most promising business models of BESS that’s likely to emerge in the future is its integration with existing large power plants, which are required to be flexibly operated to provide either firm, schedulable power or reliable and balancing support to the grid," the EoI said.

Battery makers are seeking to take advantage of the government’s 18,100 crore production linked incentive (PLI) scheme to make lithium-ion cells. A case in point being RIL that last week announced its plans to set up an Advanced Energy Storage Giga Factory.

“NTPC’s conventional fleet will increasingly be required to operate flexibly to support the grid, as VRE penetration invariably increases in India’s power system under its policy driven initiative to increase its share of installed capacity from non- fossil fuel power sources by 2030 and beyond," the EoI added.

India is working on a raft of measures including ethanol blending with fossil fuels, green mobility, battery storage and green hydrogen to help reduce pollution and facilitate commitments made at COP-21, the UN Climate Change Conference held in France in 2015.

NTPC recently floated a global EoI for setting up two pilot projects; standalone fuel-cell-based backup power system and a microgrid system, with hydrogen production using electrolyser.

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