Webinar Highlights Evolving Opportunities for Distributed Energy Resources, Battery Energy Storage Systems

The Asia LEDS Partnership’s Grid Renewable Energy Community of Practice organised a webinar on 8 June 2023 to highlight the impact of distributed energy resources (DER) on power systems, and the policy gaps and potential barriers that exist for their large-scale proliferation. Experts from the renewable energy sector shared their valuable insights and experiences, highlighting the significant influence of DERs and the application of Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS) in the growth and integration of renewable energy within the power system.

Mr. Ranpal Singh, Group Head, Tata Power, spoke about his organisation’s contribution to the renewable energy space, including the installation of electric vehicle charging stations, rooftop solar, solar pumps for irrigation, renewable microgrids and home automation. He stated that for the power system to be resilient, it should have the ability to anticipate, resist, absorb, respond to, adapt to and recover from disturbances such as power outages and network damage.

Mr Singh mentioned about pilot actions undertaken in the recent times to enhance such resilience, including the installation of a community-level storage system with distribution transformers, as well as pole-mounted BESS. Additionally, he explained about the Automated Demand Response pilot project that was undertaken in 2016 to assess the effectiveness of the technology and to manage grid-stress situations. The lessons learned from the pilot emphasised the importance of robust infrastructure, including smart metering, as well as improvements in communication and awareness generation to gain consumer buy-in. Based on the lessons learnt from the ADR pilot initiative, it is planned to scale up.

Speaking on the key barriers to DER deployment, Mr. Abhishek Ranjan, Senior Vice President, Strategy and Head, ReNew Power Private Ltd., mentioned technical, regulatory and commercial obstacles. He also spoke about various acts, policies and regulations in India to illustrate institutional transformation. Further, he has explained the importance of the Distributed System Operators (DSOs) and their role in proliferation of DERs. DSOs are expected to carryout real-time situational analysis, forecast demand and supply; manage local grid by dispatching DER; also DSOs play a key role in managing local energy market and flexibility, with integration of the wholesale energy market.

The concepts of virtual net metering (community solar) and group net metering, which serve as regulatory examples in Delhi, India, were introduced as hybrids of grid and net metering. The discussion also touched upon the role of local-level electricity markets in various countries, including India, and highlighted the four pillars of market design, which are scheduling and dispatch, flexibility, settlement and the coordination between transmission system operators and distribution system operators.

Mr. Nimish Vora, Director, PricewaterhouseCoopers India, spoke about policy gaps and potential barriers for DERs. He said that utilities consider net metering as a threat to the business model of most countries. Governments have taken several measures by which DERs have been up taken. DERs could be used to offset diesel use in irrigation; provide power to remote places; day time load centers (such as schools, public offices, etc) can use power from DER and can be seen as a win-win situation for user and the electric utilities. He also explained about the constraints/policy gaps faced in the countries such as Nepal, Bangladesh, India, etc.

In certain cases from Vietnam and India, incentives are given to establish DER. Once the guaranteed maintenance period are over, the maintenance of DER systems are compromised. Further, he added that the power utilities could give customers access to their load profile data (as in the case of the Philippines0 which may help them to off set power using DER. He had provided suggestions to scale up DERs such as the capacity size of DER could depend upon the energy required, connected voltage levels and backflow constraints; stable tariff structures should ensure power is not free and that there are visible periods of tariff applicability; there should be performance monitoring systems in DERs for assessing subsidy impacts; and access to finance should be improved through priority sector lending norms.

Speaking on BESS, Mr. Naveen Nagpal, Assistant Vice President, BSES Rajdhani Power Limited (BRPL), highlighted the need for power storage, and described the implementation of six sites-where BESS installation was done and microgrid was established, creating the first virtual power plant in India. , Also he explained the use cases of BESS systems. A comprehensive assessment of the lessons learned across various stages was shared, including the design, execution, project management and operational aspects. He added that the benchmark for battery storage capacity varies based on the location, usage, and voltage level, depending on the size of the installation.

The recording for the webinar can be accessed via this link.



















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