Integration of renewable energy in India – its challenges & solutions
With the increasing emphasis on the need for sustainable sources of energy, India has been taking steps toward installing systems for this particular concept. Even the Indian states having higher renewable resources have a higher share of variable renewable energy than most countries. There are large inequalities among the state with respect to them accessing renewable sources of energy. The top 10 states with a higher share of solar and wind energy have to be – Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana, Punjab, and Kerala.
While talking about renewable sources of energy, on one side Indian states have higher renewable sources of energy out of which 29% of annual electricity generation in Karnataka comes from solar and wind energy. The same is 20%, 18%, and 14% in Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, and Gujarat respectively. Whereas on the other hand, many states in India are facing system integration challenges. This is so because states with higher sustainable sources of energy have higher variable renewable energy (VRE).
CEAI, Consulting engineers association of India, talks about the 3rd largest energy-consuming country in the world and the principal challenges it has been facing in today’s era.
India faces difficulties in energy access, integration of renewable energy, and emissions reduction.
Recent studies show the main factors included while facing the integration of renewable energy – to name a few: short-term frequency variations and local voltage issues, increased variability of hourly demand, and the increased need requirements due to the impact of solar on net demand.
CEAI explains the power system transformation in India which is the new step taken forward for the integration of renewable energy systems and a solution to overcome the above challenges. This power system transformation is supported by transforming the electricity demand from passive consumption to more proactive participation. In simple words here, the different sectors will come into place. For example agriculture sector – has already been an important character in balancing the power supply and demand through involuntary irrigation load shifting. This provides a low-cost power system flexibility in India through high-level windmills and solar.
When it comes to the residential sector, shifting toward digital metering and smart homes has proven to be of good limiting interoperability and a better consumer choice.
Another system to help put in place for renewable energy would be the rooftop solar power supply. While many of the largest solar-powered countries have focused mainly on rooftop installation, India’s solar power is generated through large plants installed on the ground. This is soon to change as the potential land prices are expected to rise which enables rooftop solar in India to connect with the new system.
Along with these steps toward the power system transformation Integration in India, the states are also worried about the existing coal-fired power plants. A stricter set of rules are put in place with respect to emissions. To imply these stricter emission standards, coal plants are to be reviewed again.
These coal plants, particularly, are predicted to operate less since the new renewable technologies supply more generation hence leading to reduced revenues.
As stated by the – Policies Scenario (STEPS) of the International Energy Agency (IEA) World Energy Outlook (WEO), “coal capacity in the Indian power system will increase to 269 GW by 2030 compared to 235 GW in 2019” hence stating that the use of these coal plants will change drastically by 2030 by shifting the use to frequent operation near minimum and maximum output levels.
Analysis based on this particular IEA model suggests that additional power trading across states is an effective renewable integration solution that could help reduce curtailment by around 2.5% by 2030.
With all the challenges and the steps put forward, CEAI, still aims to put forward the facts and new systems that support India’s step towards the commitment to a goal of 450 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2030.
With all the above integration on new power systems, India is also boosting its great energy production through, as mentioned earlier, not just fully functioning Systems of renewable energy but also through traditional ways of wind, solar and hydro projects which also is supporting the reduction of fossil fuels.