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Home » Project Report » Growing consensus for Hydropower generation and storage

Growing consensus for Hydropower generation and storage

November 30, 2022 6:39 pm

Growing consensus for Hydropower  generation and storage
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India’s involvement with hydropower began in 1902 with the development of the Shivasamudram hydropower project (42 MW) in Karnataka in collaboration with Boving London, a British Engineering Company.
The present installed capacity of small hydro
After more than a century, India’s current installed capacity as of September 30, 2022, is approximately 46,850 MW, while renewable energy’s current installed capacity is 1,18,080 MW. The hydropower capacity addition target for 2022 is 1080 MW, but only 120 MW had been added to the grid as of the end of September 2022.
Small hydro has an installed capacity of 4,899 MW, whereas solar has an installed capacity of 60,814 MW. Central utilities currently account for 15,665 MW of hydropower in India, state SEBs account for 27,254 MW, and the private sector accounts for 3,931 MW.
What is striking is the country’s modest pace in adding hydroelectric capacity. This is due to various factors previously studied and written about by prominent industry figures. Free power to states; a lack of debt injection; statutory clearances and delays in their implementation; local concerns; land acquisition and compensation; and afforestation plans, among other things, have long hampered the development of this sector. Thermal power will continue to be the country’s principal source of base load electricity, and phasing it out gradually in the coming years must be observed in its execution.
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Advantages of Hydropower storage
Hydropower has several advantages. Hydropower and pumped storage will be critical in assisting with climate change mitigation. This would be achievable by providing necessary power, storage, and flexibility services.
The International Hydropower Association (IHA) claims, “hydropower is the world’s greatest source of low-carbon electricity and the overlooked behemoth of renewables. In 2021, hydropower will generate approximately 16 percent of global electricity (4,252TWh), roughly the same as all other renewables combined.” True to its reputation, hydropower is the cleanest and greenest renewable energy source and the future of storage via pumped storage plants.
Energy storage for fuel-based power sources
Battery storage is not only expensive, but it also has scalability and recycling issues. Wind and renewable solar sources alone cannot sustain the green movement of the globe on their own. Falling back on fossil fuel-based power sources is not a good solution as it defeats the very purpose of the fight against climate change. Hydropower is fed by water to generate it and has minimal impact on the environment and the ecosystem. In the end, and the long term, the solution to fossil fuel replacement is hydropower.
According to IHA, various studies have indicated more than enough global potential to achieve 1,200 GW of hydropower by 2050. Tapping it will be key to unlocking the globe’s net zero ambitions that are being heralded by the COP series of conferences on climate change.
Available storage technologies
There is currently accessible technology for implementing hydropower and pumped storage technologies, so there is no need to reinvent the wheel on this front. The growing global consensus is that hydropower is the greatest viable prospect for addressing storage challenges resulting from renewable energy addition. Pumped storage facilities are widely recognised as the most practical and sustainable solution to grid stability issues and one of the cleanest forms of storage technology available today. Pumped storage, also known as the “world’s water battery,” is an ideal natural companion to wind and solar. It already accounts for more than 90 percent of global storage capacity and energy stored in grid-scale applications.
India is likewise started on this road, with central and state utilities already identifying and earmarking over 100 such pumped storage plant sites for future installation. Some initiatives are already in the planning stages, primarily pushed by the business sector. The Pinnapuram project in Andhra Pradesh is building the world’s first integrated renewable energy storage facility (IRESP). Many more are on the way.
New technologies like improvised batteries, electrolysers, and smaller turbines are also expected to emerge to tackle climate change. However, the need for long-duration energy storage (LDES) is currently of lower priority than pumped storage plants.
Hydro projects worldwide, including India, have an ageing fleet, with numerous projects commissioned since 1950. However, because of the nature of these hydropower plants, they do not need to be decommissioned and removed. They can readily be modernised and improved for future generations, provided there is enough water and effective water-conducting systems are in place. In contrast to other projects, such as thermal or solar cells, this offers hydropower plants a thumbs up.
According to the IHA, hydropower is the second cheapest renewable energy across its life cycle. Various parties who have been arguing otherwise must dispel the idea that hydropower is the most expensive kind of renewable energy. According to the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), “the levelised cost of electricity (LCOE) for hydropower is lower than the cheapest new fossil fuel-fired option, and hydropower is one of the lowest-cost electricity technologies in existence.”
In the Indian context, hydropower is predicted to increase rapidly in the future, complementing solar and wind power sources. With an ambitious renewable capacity addition target of 500 GW by 2030, we anticipate a spate of hydropower and pumped storage projects entering the execution phase, the movement of which we can already see.
Expertise shared by Neelav Samrat De General Manager & HOD-Market Management, ANDRITZ Hydro Pvt. Ltd.
Data and information sources: Central Electricity Authority (CEA), International Hydropower Association (IHA), International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
(Disclaimer: The opinions and views mentioned in the article are those of the author only and do not reflect in any way, those of the organisation.)

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