India's Race to Replace Diesel Generators
- Oct 25, 2021 4:39 pm GMT
Like many developing countries, India has power supply issues. Its growing cities and expanding population puts a strain on utility companies as demand grows. Often utilities struggle to provide 24/7 power to all their customers: outages are common. The customary solution to these challenges for different types of end-user, including factories, hospitals, shopping malls, residential complexes and government organizations, is to have large scale diesel generators to provide uninterrupted power. By some estimates there are over 70,000 MW of large DG sets in India. These generators emit heat, particulates, carbon dioxide, and other pollutants. Air quality in India's cities is often quite poor, and the generators contribute a substantial amount to this.
The best option to replace these generators with an up-to-date system is lithium ion batteries. A battery backup system can be charged either from the grid or from renewable systems like solar rooftop arrays. While a typical diesel generator operates during power outages – typically a few hours a month in India – the battery energy storage system connected to the grid can support the power infrastructure 24x7 by providing frequency and voltage support and can be a great resource for renewable energy (RE) and electric vehicle (EV) integration with the electricity distribution grid.
A cost analysis found that lithium ion batteries were up to a third cheaper than diesel generators per KWh. That is in addition to eliminating the discharge of pollutants.
Batteries can have a significant effect on load management, benefiting utilities. They can sell electricity back to the grid to assist in managing loads at peak times. They can also help with peak load shaving, where the user implements battery power support at peak times. Another area is system regulation: power system regulation or balancing can be done efficiently by a battery system by adjusting the momentary differences between demand and generation. Voltage support: grid operators are required to maintain the grid voltage within specified limits. Voltage support is especially valuable during peak load hours when distribution lines and transformers are generally over-loaded.
India's power requirement is expected to grow from the present 395 GW to 823 GW in 2030. This huge increase in capacity will need careful management. Replacement of diesel generators distributed across the country with modern battery systems is the fastest and cheapest route to build flexibility for the Indian grid.
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