Renewables may face grid management challenge

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India’s massive power grid system needs re-balancing to deal with the fluctuating/erratic nature of power generated from renewable energy flowing into the system and keep supply in sync with demand, says experts.

The concern comes as India pushes for an ambitious renewable target of 175 GW by 2022.

As more variable power generation sources are added into the grid, the more difficult this balancing becomes.

The fluctuating nature of renewable energy, be it solar or wind, is a problem for any grid in the world. For the Indian grid — which is generally unstable, managed manually and experiences shortfalls instead of having reserves and alternatives — like the grids in developed countries, the growing renewable capacity will become a major issue over the next 3-5 years, experts say.

“If only renewable capacity is coming up, its nature will start having greater impact on the grid. The impact is not there now because there is enough of thermal capacity and it helps in balancing,” Kuljit Singh, Transactions Partner (Infrastructure), EY, told BusinessLine.

The share of renewable-based capacity in the overall power generation capacity in India stood at 17.5 per cent as on March 31, 2017. Given low output of renewable-based plants, this translates into just 10-15 per cent of the total generation mix.

Globally, the grid starts experiencing issues when renewables cross 20-30 per cent in the power generation mix, requiring significant investments in transmission or peaker plants.

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