Workshop Highlights Benefits of Scaling Up Energy Storage Applications

ICLEI South Asia’s “Strategies for Enabling Energy Storage in Indian Cities” project aimed at exploring and identifying specific use-cases and applications for BESS, particularly to support the renewable energy (RE) and electric vehicle (EV) transition, in Surat and Rajkot. Five use-cases for BESS were identified, in which its utility was analysed and a technical pre-feasibility analysis was carried out. To share the results of the analysis and to seek inputs from local stakeholders, the final project workshop was conducted in Ahmedabad on the 26th of August 2022.

The workshop was attended by more than 70 participants from the state government, as well as the city governments of Surat, Rajkot, Ahmedabad and Vadodara, electricity distribution companies or DISCOMs, urban and energy sector practitioners, and other key stakeholders. The participants provided various insights on the implications, challenges, benefits and the way forward for strategies and interventions to scale up BESS deployment in cities. The project also identified strategies and policy interventions to promote demand for energy storage at the city-scale, by leveraging urban planning and energy planning linkages. ICLEI South Asia collaborated with the Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC), Rajkot Municipal Corporation (RMC) and local stakeholders on this project.

Both cities have set ambitious targets for the integration of RE and are also model cities for the deployment of electric mobility and related charging infrastructure to achieve their climate goals. The intermittency and variability in RE generation poses challenges in power demand and supply management, while high concentrations of EV charging can overload the local power grid. This adds to the complexities in grid planning and operations for DISCOMs.

The role of BESS can be pivotal to achieving the grid flexibility required to integrate the growing RE and EV deployments. The implementation of BESS for behind-the-meter (BtM) applications like EV charging stations, municipal services and at end-consumer premises (industrial, commercial and residential) can help reduce the peak load, energy consumption from the grid, along with maximising the utilisation of RE and also serve as a power backup to run the operations during grid outages. Front-of-the-meter (FtM) BESS has various applications, ranging from providing ancillary services support and optimising RE generation to the deferral of investments in grid infrastructure upgrade.

Based on consultations with urban and power sector stakeholders in Gujarat, five use-cases were shortlisted for Rajkot and Surat.

For these shortlisted use-cases, an assessment framework was developed to assist stakeholders in preliminary scoping of BESS deployment and pre-feasibility analysis was undertaken. BESS was seen to offer multiple benefits across applications, including reduction in peak demand of facilities, maximising self-consumption from RE generation, provision of power backup during grid outages and help to reduce load on distribution transformers.  It was found to have good potential for end-consumers such as municipal utilities, commercial and industrial facilities with high energy demand, especially when deployed alongside RE systems and where there are large-size standby diesel generator sets. On the power distribution side, BESS has value for DISCOMs for managing peak loads and deferring investments in network upgrades.

In the final project workshop, based on detailed city-specific assessments for BESS adoption, opportunities and gaps in the project cities, the assessment framework for BESS use-cases and the results of the pre-feasibility analysis were presented and discussed. Applicable business models for BESS deployment were also discussed. Senior officials from the Climate Change Department, Government of Gujarat, emphasised the importance of BESS for supporting the integration of increasing renewables into the power grid and to better manage load from the uptake of EVs. SMC and RMC presented their achievements and targets for the deployment of RE, and uptake of EVs and associated charging infrastructure, underscoring opportunities for BESS to support their ambitions in these areas. BSES Rajdhani Power Limited, Delhi, presented a case study to highlight practical use-cases of BESS and the benefits that are being realised from six BESS pilots that have been implemented in its power distribution network.

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