Could the grid stymie India’s storage plans?

Pumped hydro might not be the best option for long-term storage in India (pic:

Pumped hydro might not be the best option for long-term storage in India (pic:


By Jason Deign

Doubts over the strength of the grid have called into question a USD$17.2bn plan to build 10GW of pumped hydro storage in India.

Central Electricity Authority chairman SD Dubey unveiled the five-to-six-year pumped hydro programme last month.

The administration would be adopting pumped hydro to store excess power from India’s growing renewable energy sector because the storage medium is cheaper than batteries, he said.

But being able to store energy in pumped hydro reserves depends upon getting it to the dams in the first place.

And observers have questioned whether India’s grid is up to the task, particularly since it is already groaning under the impact of solar energy. 
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India gets hydrogen fuel cell bus

The Tata Motors Starbus Fuel Cell bus features hydrogen fuel cell technology

The Tata Motors Starbus Fuel Cell bus features hydrogen fuel cell technology. Photo credit: Tata Motors

The aptly-named Starbus went through its paces at the Liquid Propulsion System Centre of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in Bangalore earlier this week, reports The Times Of India.
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Rail drives Indian battery boom

Battery giant Saft has just announced that it has cut the ribbon on a new factory in Bidadi, Bangalore, with its partner Amalgamations. The factory, which will double Saft’s local capacity, will produce advanced rechargeable nickel batteries for industrial uses. Among these will be aircraft (Saft products are certified for use by the Indian Airforce), mobile telecoms and what the company describes as “mega power plants”.

Interestingly, one big factor spurring the factory opening is public rail transport. According to the company’s press office: “The Bangalore plant incorporates all the resources required to support the Indian operations of major railway OEMs: from design to manufacturing and commissioning of battery solutions.

“It positions Saft to benefit from the large investments in the Indian railway market, anticipated for at least the next five years.”

Saft batteries are already to be found in the rolling stock of India’s booming city metro systems and it is heartening to think that at least somewhere in the world it is public transport, not the private vehicle, that is stimulating energy storage growth.

Electrovaya wins Indian business on PM’s tour

Advanced battery manufacturer Electrovaya has announced the signing of two memorandums of understanding for its lithium-ion batteries, signed while accompanying Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper on a trade mission to India. One agreement is with existing customer Hero Eco, to supply more batteries for its electric bikes in Europe, North America and India.

The other is with new client Environ Energy (a.k.a. Bhaskar Solar, part of a USD$4 billion Indian conglomerate), to supply batteries for telecommunications applications.

West Bengal invests in pumped hydro

As reported in The Hindu, the Indian state of West Bengal is planning to more than double its current pumped hydro energy storage capacity from 900MW to 1900MW. The new capacity will come in the shape of a single pumping station in the Purulia region of West Bengal and at a cost of nearly half a billion dollars investment from the state government.

Pumped hydro has the lion’s share of global energy storage capacity, but faces the problems of massive initial investment and tricky location requirements. Given the ongoing economic crisis, how do you see the giant of energy storage shaping up in the next few years and decades? Let us know.

Panacis targets mobile tower operators in India for energy storage

With 400,000 mobile towers already built and 250,000 planned, one of the fastest growing mobile markets in the world represents a golden opportunity for the Canadian-based producer of lithium battery systems.

By partnering with TaraSpan – a provider of entry strategies to India for technology companies – Panacis, Inc. hopes its modular 3.3KWhr battery systems will be a perfect fit to replace the country’s current reliance on diesel generators to provide the power for its mobile towers.