The price of setting up storage sites for renewable energy needs to come down significantly for the global transition to green energy, president of the nodal body, International Solar Alliance (ISA) and the union minister of power & new and renewable energy, Raj Kumar Singh has said.
“Renewable energy by itself won’t give you a base load. The Sun doesn’t shine at night, but you still need energy. On days when the wind doesn’t blow, you still need energy. So, you need storage. But storage is expensive and it will remain so unless all of us come together to create volumes,” observed Singh.
Speaking at the 5th Assembly of ISA in New Delhi on Wednesday, Singh said India was committed to increasing the generation of renewable energy as well as enhancing the production of equipment required to achieve that goal.
“We need to continue doing that and we also need the whole world to join us in setting up storage. And we also need to move away from lithium-ion to other chemistries to diversify our supply chains,” he stated.
Singh said the disruption caused to global supply chains in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic was a lesson for the world and every effort must be made to expand them.
“The supply chains are skewed and concentrated in one or two countries. Therefore, they need to be dispersed. We are taking steps to do that so far as solar is concerned. And that is needed even for storage,” he said.
He informed the global assembly that India already had a 20 GW capacity for the manufacturing of cells and modules, which would increase to 90 GW by 2030. The country would also attract more manufacturers by offering them access to its huge market as well as incentives under the Productivity Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme.
Battery storage and pumped hydro to provide a new base load
Singh was of the view that it was not the expensive nuclear energy but battery storage and pumped hydro that would provide the base load going forward. Once the average efficiency of solar power improved, the price of electricity would decline further.
“Already the price of solar is less than the price of thermal. You have solar available at $2.5, which is very competitive. If we had storage then fossil fuels would have been ruled out straight away. Once you increase efficiencies the price of solar will further come down to $2 and then you can afford to pay slightly more for storage to have round-the-clock power,” he averred.
Singh said that the world had stepped into a brave new era of energy security, with ISA driving that transformation. That situation was occasioned by untrammelled market dynamics combined with energy cartels who thought this was a good time to make profits.
Together with other dignitaries, Singh also released three flagship ISA reports addressing the issues of technology, markets and investments.
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