India Plans 10 GW Solar-based Pumped Hydro Storage Capacity

India is planning to initiate work on several fronts to maximise the use of renewable energy at least cost possible.

Officials of the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) recently told media outlets that the central government is planning to set up 10 GW of pumped storage capacity across the country. The entire plan is expected to require a total investment of Rs 80,000 crore (US$12 billion).

The officials explained that solar power will be combined with hydro power pumped storage to maximise the use of renewable energy and keep the carbon footprint of power generation minimal.

Solar power projects shall be set up cross to water reservoirs. During daytime, a part of the solar power generated shall be used to pump the water up the hill while during the night the water shall be released downhill to generate hydro power in the conventional manner.

This process that also negate the requirement to store solar power in batteries. The officials stated using lithium-ion batteries to store solar power would increase the tariff of electricity by around Rs 10/kWh (US¢15/kWh) whereas a pumped storage system would result in a tariff increase of just Rs 0.30-0.40/kWh (US¢0.45-0.60/kWh). Thus, the main aim, of stabilising the grid while increasing the use of renewable energy will be achieved at a very low cost.

The total potential of setting up pumped storage capacity in India estimated to be around 90 GW. The CEA is believed to have identified sites to set up 10 GW pumped storage capacity.

India is experimenting with a number of ways to integrate renewable energy projects into its power grid. The Solar Energy Corporation of India recently announced plans to hold first auctions for storage-enabled solar power projects. The government is also working to set up dedicated transmission lines for renewable energy projects.

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