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"Having Wind-Solar hybrids with co-located storage batteries should be one of the crucial energy infrastructure strategies to be adopted by the country"

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In conversation with Mr. Rajsekhar Budhavarapu, COO, IL&FS Energy Development Company Limited

What are your views on the recent results of REWA & Kadapa Solar Park Tender and how this will impact the future bidding rounds for solar tenders in India?

I think it’s brilliant what has happened at REWA solar park and also at NTPC Kadapa Solar Park. The prices that were discovered are ground breaking. And, they are going to drop even further. But if you compare it with the recent bid that happened at the SECI CTU connected wind bid,the Rs. 3.46/kWh,is infact cheaper than that of solar bids. This is because everything at this Wind bid was done by the private sector with no institutional or government help as provided/done at the solar parks at the REWA or at the NTPC Kadapa solar park.

What are your views on way forward for solar park tenders in India?

I think it is a very robust way to structure power infrastructure projects as it provides lesser risks for investors, developers and manufactures to participate. But also, one needs to reflect for a smarter approach to adopt, if you are going to spend 20,000 crores for 20GWs new Solar Parksfor power evacuation. How best can we utilize the transmission lines at the Solar Parks between sunset and sunrise? We should consider integrating Wind into Solar parks (or vice-versa) so that you have a better utilization of external power evacuation so that the cost of generation realised would be lower. Additionally, by co-locating modern energy storage batteries at these hybrid projects, one will be able to time shift the generation dispatch from Wind and Solar to match the grid peak demand and also be providing a lot many grid ancillary benefits. Having Wind-Solar hybrids with co-located storage batteries should be one of the crucial energy infrastructure strategies to be adopted by the country, in its efforts to meet COP21 commitments of adding 160 GW of variable renewable energy generation by 2022 in a peak 240-260 GW peak system. Only such an approach will not destabilize the grid and cause grid power management issues (a.k.a Californian Duck Curve – which may be a Giraffe curve kind of an enhanced problem for India).

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