The study highlights the critical role of enhancing system flexibility and maintaining grid dependability through a spectrum of flexible resources, such as energy storage, demand response (load shifting), existing natural gas power plants used more flexibly, and electricity markets. Specifically, we find that the leastcost resource mix to meet India’s load in 2030 (the “Primary Least Cost Case”) consists primarily of a combination of RE and flexible resources as follows: 465 GW of RE (307 GWDC solar, 142 GW wind, and 15 GW other RE), 63 GW (252 GWh) of battery storage, 60 GW of load shifting to solar hours (50 GW agricultural + 10 GW industrial), and flexible operation of the existing natural gas fleet of 25 GW. A coal power plant capacity of 229 GW (23 GW net addition over 2020) is found to be cost-effective (Table ES1). The study signals investment opportunities that could spur creation of a robust pipeline of flexible resources, most notably battery storage. For example, the total investment required by 2030 for battery storage alone is Rs 300,000 Cr ($40 billion) for 63 GW (252 GWh) of batteries. If low-cost energy storage is not deployed at such scale, additional thermal investments beyond the 23 GW of net additions will be needed through 2030 to meet peak demand, but such assets will operate at low capacity factors.
Least-Cost Pathway for India’s Power System Investments through 2030
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