Policymakers must stop deliberating and take decisive action if India is to access the country’s estimated 300GWh of storage opportunity in the next four years, Rahul Walawalkar, executive director of the India Energy Storage Alliance, told ESJ earlier this month.

Electric vehicles, behind the meter and grid scale energy storage are key applications to help the Indian government meet wind and solar targets as well as meeting the energy access goals set up by the prime minister, Narendra Modi.

Cost is seen as one factor derailing rapid adoption of storage in the country.

At the same time, there are other challenges on implementing the policies, Walawalkar said.

“We are spending too much time in just discussions and debating various options, rather than implementing projects that should be built.

“We also need the removal of barriers such as higher GST  (the global sales tax is 17%) (18% for batteries versus 5% for solar) and import duties for kick starting the market for advanced energy storage in India.

“It is not sufficient to just set a goal for 2030. We need to have a systematic approach to ensure that Indian industry can transition and we can attract the global investments required for this transition.”

The country’s solar+ storage market is anticipated to become a viable solution for off grid as well as for managing peak loads within 12-18 months, which in turn is expected to fuel exponential growth for storage.

However, Walawalkar said that while the country is waiting for deployment of grid-scale energy storage, the distributed advanced storage deployment had already crossed the 1GWh benchmark thanks to telecom and related sector applications.

Energy storage has the potential to help the Indian government to meet various policy priorities such as National Solar Mission, National Electric Mobility Mission, and Mission for energy access.

A committee, led by the secretary of India’s Ministry of Power and New and Renewable Energy Shri Kumar, is drafting the National Energy Storage Mission, which is due to be launched next month.

The government of India also has a goal of at least 30% of its vehicles running on electric by 2030 — a big task as four-wheel EV sales slumped by 40% in the country.

To meet this goal, and depending on how the charging infrastructure is created and associated policies are developed, this may require substantial new generation capacity, said Walawalkar.

“If we can have sufficient public charging facilities which can be used for charging EVs during the day, then this can actually solve a problem of low net loads during the times when maximum solar energy is being produced.

“Energy storage is a key component of this and there is a number of ways in which EV adoption could be transformative for the grid. With better tariff structures and the use of right storage technologies in EVs, we could also use EVs as distributed storage and provide grid balancing services.”

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