SME Times News Bureau | 18 Jan, 2018
technologies have strategic importance for India’s energy security, in the
background of the country’s target to achieve 100 GW of solar powered energy by
2022, said Dr. Rahul Walawalkar, Executive Director, India Energy Storage Alliance
& Vice Chair, Global Energy Storage Alliance and President & MD,
Customized Energy Solutions India Pvt. Ltd.
Excerpts of the
Please describe the
vision, mission and goals of IESA (India Energy Storage Alliance) to take Indian
Energy Storage space to next level.
Dr. Rahul Walawalkar:
Energy storage can play an important role into renewable integration, energy
access, electric mobility and smart cities initiatives by the Government. We
believe that energy storage technologies have potential to significantly
contribute to transformation of Indian electric grid towards a greener,
resilient and reliable grid with in next decade.
IESA (India Energy
Storage Alliance) was launched in 2012 to create awareness and accelerate
adoption of Energy Storage Technologies in India, through an active dialogue
among the various stakeholders including consumers, technology providers and
policy makers. Since the launch, our network has grown rapidly and currently
has 75+ members who are exploring opportunities for energy storage, microgrids
and EVs. Our members include good mix of energy storage technology providers,
power conversion system providers, system integrations, project developers,
large users, potential investors as well as research institutions. Today IESA
has become the leading body to address the need for a robust energy storage
ecosystem in the country. It aims to make India a global hub for research and
manufacturing of advanced energy storage technologies by 2022.
Being the networking
hub for energy storage industry in India, IESA’s experience and expertise cuts
across all segments ranging from energy storage, electric vehicles &
charging infrastructure, micro-grids, renewable energy integration etc. IESA is
getting great response from the energy storage industry worldwide and is
quickly gaining a strong foothold across various stakeholders and technology
IESA is also
strengthening the knowledge pool of industry through partnership with leading
research universities and its publications such as Emerging Tech Radio (ETR)
podcast, Emerging Technology News (ETN) magazine, Weekly Newsletters and
various Industry reports.
IESA has strategic
alliances with 20+ global and national associations including China National
Energy Storage Alliance (CNESA), Energy Storage Alliance USA (ESA), California
Energy Storage alliance (CESA), Germany Energy Storage Alliance (BVES), Energy
Storage Canada (ESC), Australian Energy Storage Alliance (AESA) and many more.
IESA is also the founding member of Global Energy Storage Alliance.
India has set the target to achieve
100 GW of solar powered energy by 2022. What would be the contribution of IESA?
Dr. Rahul Walawalkar: With the ambitious
target of installing 100 GW of solar by 2022, Energy Storage technologies have
strategic importance for India’s energy security and clean energy future. Aim
of IESA’s Knowledge Partner Network (KPN) network is to help members understand
the various energy storage technologies, business applicationsand intertwined
policy/regulatory issues. IESA team works with these members to help them make
an informed decision on technology adoption and target markets.
We are also working
with policy makers and regulators. We have been part of Renewable Integration
Task force for Ministry of Power and CEA during 2013-14, part of Energy Storage
and Hybrids standing committee for Ministry of New and Renewable Energy since
2014 and are also working with CEA, CERC and Forum of Regulators to enable
adoption of these emerging technologies in India.
IESA is also playing
a key role in promoting India as a destination for R&D collaboration and
manufacturing. We organize technology tours for international companies and
have also organized Energy Storage India, the international conference and expo
dedicated to energy storage since 2013.
What is the vision behind introducing
Energy Storage India (ESI) in the country? What all the industry can expect
with ESI 2018?
Dr. Rahul Walawalkar: India is anticipated
to become one of the best markets for the adoption of energy storage
technologies due to several drivers like the fastest growing economy,
increasing share of renewables, transmission constraints, need for providing
24x7 quality power and electric mobility mission.
Energy Storage India
(ESI) is the leading international conference and expo addressing the need for
energy storage, micro-grids & Electric Vehicle solutions in India.
Organised annually, ESI provides first-class networking event to drive energy
storage market expansion in profitable applications – highlighting the
synergies, inter-relationships and new business opportunities for transmission,
distribution, customer-sited, micro-grids/campuses and e-mobility applications.
ESI 2018 is going to
be bigger and better with more than 1000+ industry experts, 100+ speakers, 50+
exhibitors and partners participating from over 25 countries across the globe.
‘Implementing Energy Storage Mission’ will be the theme for this year. We have
focused sessions on renewable integration, electric vehicles, C&I
applications, microgrids, innovation and make in India. ESI 2018 will also host
dedicated workshops that will cover energy storage technologies, safety and
standards, operation & maintenance, economic analysis and sizing of storage
projects as well as introduction to manufacturing of li-ion batteries.
We are also hosting
1st startup competition in India dedicated to energy storage, microgrids and
EVs. Over 20 top investors focusing on this sector will participate in this
initiative apart from over 50 IESA member companies.
International Conference & Expo on Energy Storage and Microgrids is
scheduled from January 11 – 12, 2018 along with Pre – Conference Workshops on
January 10, 2018 2018 at India Habitat Centre, New Delhi, India.
What are the key challenges of the
energy storage segment in India? How IESA will address these challenges?
Dr. Rahul Walawalkar: Policy makers in
India have recognized the potential of energy storage that can help the Indian
government to meet various policy priorities such as National Solar Mission,
National Electric Mobility Mission and Mission for energy access. According to
the policy makers the biggest challenge for storage is the higher upfront cost.
Globally the prices for storage technologies are reducing rapidly and have
fallen by 90% in past ten years. We are also confident that with local
manufacturing, we can accelerate this cost reduction.
At the same time,
there are other challenges remain on the policy front. Currently various
policies that influence energy storage sector are being controlled by different
ministries such as energy access by MOP, renewable integration by MNRE,
electric vehicle by NITI Aayog, Department of heavy Industries and Ministry of
Road transport, R&D by Department of
Science & technology & Niti Aayog etc. Due to this, although well
intentioned, there are discrepancies in the direction provided by different
groups, which is causing uncertainty for investment community. As an example microgrids using distributed
renewable energy sources and energy storage can be scaled up in coming years to
provide 24* 7 energy access to remote communities. But MOP has been focusing
lot of efforts only on grid expansion without a comprehensive policy to include
grid connected microgrids. On the other hand Saubhagya initiative has indicated
a shift in focus from microgrids to stand alone solar lighting, which is a
significant scale back from ambitions of honourable Prime Minister Modi of 24*7
power for all citizens of India by 2019.
At grid scale,
energy storage has been proven as most cost effective solution for providing
ancillary services to the grid and enabling greater renewable penetration.
Unfortunately CERC is debating implementation of ancillary services for over 3
years and still in a mode of doing pilots with conventional generators, while
globally enough test data is available on performance of thermal plants for
providing ancillary services such as frequency regulation and how energy
storage can be a superior, cleaner and cheaper alternative.
intervention required is need for transparent price signal for electricity that
values the peaking power and flexibility. We also need removal of barriers such
as higher GST (18% for batteries vs 5% for solar) and import duties for kick
starting market for advanced energy storage in India.
Currently most of
the investment decisions for power sector are being driven by average levelized
costs, while there are various applications, where the marginal costs of
current technologies or solutions being planned is significantly higher even
that current cost of storage technologies. E.g. diesel replacement is a low
hanging fruit, but due to various subsidies given to island consumers, they are
not witnessing the true cost of power from such sources. Also even in case of
areas where diesel generators are used, there is an opportunity to improve
efficiency by increasing loading of the generators for certain hours and
shutting them down for other times where
solar + storage can meet the load. On part loaded condition the marginal cost
of electricity from diesel generator could be higher than 20 Rs / kWh, but due
to lack of policy certainty and delays in decision making, we are yet to
achieve goals set up for Greening the Islands.
transportation, we need to have a clear strategy for addressing the need for
charging infrastructure. Then only India can mainstream electric vehicles. Also
for this market to grow, we need to focus on building local manufacturing eco
system as well as invest in skill development for ensuring after sales support.
IESA has launched
focused initiatives to work with policy makers to address each of this
challenges such as MICRO – the Microgrid Initiative for Campus and Rural
Opportunities and MOVE – Moving Onward to Vehicle Electrification to focus,
apart from our work with MNRE Standing committee on energy storage & hybrid
How energy storage will affect the
renewable market and end users at large?
Dr. Rahul Walawalkar: India has an
ambitious plan of 160 GW renewables by 2022 including 40 GW of rooftop solar,
60 GW of grid scale solar and 60 GW of wind. The key challenge for reaching
these targets would be the ability of the grid to integrate variability
associated with these renewables as well as huge investment required for
upgrading the T&D infrastructure.
Energy storage can
help in better integration of these renewable by providing multiple values to
the system such as optimizing T&D investments, addressing forecasting
errors in wind and solar generation for more accurate scheduling, addressing
local reliability issues by providing reactive power support and also enabling
end users for managing peak load and more efficient utilization of distributed
With the rapid
reduction in cost of both solar and storage, customers can see solar + storage
as alternative for peak power from grid at the same time, utilities can avoid
investments in peaker capacity, optimize T&D investments or eliminate load
shedding by utilizing these resources.
What lies in future for battery and
energy storage space with a growing Electric Vehicle (EV) market in the
Dr. Rahul Walawalkar: Apart from the
opportunities for advanced energy storage for stationary and distributed
applications, new area of electric vehicle has emerged as a high potential area
in past year. The EV market in India is gradually booming. The energy storage
unit is the most important component of any EV, whether it’s a two-wheeler, a
three-wheeler, a four-wheeler, or commercial vehicles such as buses. NITI
Aayog’s estimate that India’s market for EV batteries could be worth as much as
a $300 billion in a 100% EV Nation is very ambitious. We have already started
seeing adoption of EVs for public transport such as eRickshaws and taxis. EESL
has issued the largest single order of 10,000 EVs in 2017. We also anticipate
close to 3000 eBus tenders to come out for various states in 2018. IESA estimates that in the next five years
the EV battery market will be worth a minimum of between $30 billion to $40
billion. This has a tremendous potential for growth if the right and consistent
policies are developed by Indian government.
Current focus by
NITI Aayog and Road and Transport ministry is a welcome step. But some of the
decisions such as including Hybrid Electric Vehicles in higher GST bracket of
43% is a disappointment for industry. Hybrid electric vehicles could have been
a perfect transition for adoption of Electric Vehicles which also requires
charging infrastructure which would take at least few years to develop across
EV market has a
potential for encouraging investments in domestic manufacturing base as well.
Indian Auto Industry is a perfect example of Make in India and same lessons can
be adopted for making India a global hub for advanced energy storage
manufacturing by 2022. But we are competing with huge investments being made in
China, US, South Korea and Europe, where companies are investing in 35 – 50 GWh
of Li-Ion manufacturing capacities. IESA estimates that by 2020, India needs to
build at least 5-10 GWh of li-ion cell manufacturing capacity, to give Indian
industry a chance to compete in global supply chain. Else we will end up
following the path where India has become one of the largest markets for
computers, solar panels and telephones, without having any significant domestic
manufacturing capability with over 90% of critical components getting imported.
IESA believes that with the right focus from government
Will upcoming micro-grid and
electric mobility concepts transform Indian energy storage market?
Dr. Rahul Walawalkar: Rural
electrification was one of many ‘unique’ issues in India where we believed that
emerging technologies can help India in leapfrogging development. Over 200
million rural Indians do not have access to the grid access; whilst just over
another 200 million have a poor connection to the grid. These far-fetched
places and rural areas have the largest potential for micro-grids to give a
IESA has launched
MICRO, the Microgrid Initiative for Campus and Rural Opportunities last year
with a goal of bringing down levelized cost of energy by 30-50% by 2020. We
also believe that apart from energy access, campus microgrids can be a perfect
solutions for smart cities & townships. Campus microgrids can be crucial
for providing grid resiliency and power quality while optimizing need for
peaking capacity in generation and distribution network. This initiative has
been selected by USAID as one of the innovative clean energy projects under
Pace Setter Fund and recently European Space Agency has parted with IESA to
explore role of space based tools and satellite data for improving micro grids
in India. Global Energy Storage Alliance is also supporting this initiative. So
with support from 70 + IESA member companies, we are confident that energy storage
and micro grids have potential to transform India’s electric grid in next 5-10
Government of India
has clearly decided to priorities electric vehicles. Energy Storage is a key
component of this and there are number of ways in which EV adoption could be
transformative for the grid. 1st, EVs could present substantial load for the
electric grid which in past year has become surplus on generation. 2nd with
better tariff structures and use of right storage technologies in EVs, we could
also use EVs as distributed storage and provide grid balancing services. This
transformation can not only help in
greening the transportation fleet by reducing diesel / petrol consumption and
associated emissions, but can also help in greening the grid if EVs are used
for better integration of renewable resources in grid.
What are your expansion plans for
Dr. Rahul Walawalkar: Customized Energy
Solutions launched India Energy Storage Alliance in 2012 to accelerate adoption
of energy storage and micro grids in India. IESA’s vision is to make India a
global leader in adoption of energy storage, micro grids and EVs. We also want
to make India a global hub for manufacturing of these emerging technologies by
2020. For growth of the industry; we are working on 11 initiatives:
1. Inputs for NITI
Aayog & Invest India for energy storage manufacturing policy: We are
continuing to work with NITI Aayog to launch a comprehensive energy storage
mission for India. We also hosted a CXO roundtable during ESI2017 and are
compiling inputs for various policymakers.
2. Inputs to CERC,
CEA, MNRE and MOP for energy storage policy framework: We provided inputs to
CERC and other policy makers over past 5 years, and most recently also hosted a
full day event with FICCI and TERI to help gather stakeholder inputs in response
to the CERC staff paper on energy storage.
3. Energy Storage
Standards Roadmap: We are working with UL and all key manufacturers to launch
Energy Storage Standards Roadmap for India. We supported a battery technology
summit organized by UL in this regard last year in Delhi and hosted a special
technical workshop Mumbai during ESI 2017. IESA is also part of BIS standards
committee and expect the 1st set of
standards to be released in early 2018.
4. MICRO - Micro
grid Initiative for Campus and Rural Opportunities: We have set a goal of
reducing cost of electricity from micro grids in India by 30% to 50% in the
next 3 years and are working to bring together various stakeholders to achieve
this dream. Phase 1 of the initiative focuses on energy access for remote
communities and Phase 2 will focus on the campus micro grids.
5. Utility working
group: We are part of Electric Power Research Institute’s Energy Storage
Integration Council that has worked for past 3 years towards addressing grid
integration challenges related to storage. We are now trying to bring together
some of the progressive utilities in India such as Tata Power, Tata Power
Delhi, Reliance Energy, CSE and BESCOM to build on this for address similar
issues in India.
6. CES-Global Energy
Storage Index: This is a sectorial index for global energy storage market and
is developed by Customized Energy Solutions. It is designed to track the energy
storage industry comprising technology manufacturers, energy storage solutions
providers, raw material providers, component suppliers and power electronics
companies. This Index includes companies from across the globe including USA,
China, Japan, South Korea, Switzerland, India and Canada etc.
7. India Energy
Storage Database (IESDB): IESDB is a database of energy storage and micro grid
projects as well as manufacturing, recycling and EV charging stations in India.
This is currently under BETA test, and we are working with IESA members to
populate useful data to show the status of energy storage industry in India.
8. IESA Energy
Storage Hotline (1-800-123-3519): Considering the need for addressing consumer
questions on energy storage technology adoption, IESA launched Energy Storage
Hotline and Ask Experts forum earlier this year where users can ask experts
about storage technologies or applications to our panel of experts.
9. IESA Skill
development initiative: IESA is working with select industry associations such
as IEEMA and top research universities such as VJTI, TERI and GERMI to address
need for training and skill development for the sector.
10. Energy Storage
and Microgrid focused incubator at VJTI, Mumbai: We are partnering with VJTI
and IIT Mumbai to launch an incubator focused on developing next generation
storage and micro grid technologies. This incubator is one of the ~60 incubator
proposals selected for final screening from over 3600 proposals that NITI Aayog
11. MOVE: this is a
new initiative to help India move towards vehicle electrification and build a
robust ecosystem for EV manufacturing. We will be working with various
stakeholders in the mobility sector to address barriers and focus on the
aspects related to batteries for EVs and charging infrastructure.