August 12, 2021: The Indian government is putting up billions of dollars of cash, offering tenders and incentives to battery firms to put in place more than 50GWh of storage a year over the next few years.
Policies in line with the country’s aims to Aatma Nirbar Bharat — Make in India — include a $2.5 billion ‘Production Linked Incentive’ scheme to achieve manufacturing capacity of 50GWh of advanced chemistry cell (ACC) battery storage and 5GWh of Niche ACC; floating tenders for 4,000MWh of battery storage; and a 2,000MWh standalone energy system.
“While several companies have already started investing in battery packs, the capacities of these facilities are too small when compared to global averages, and there still is negligible investment in manufacturing, along with value addition, of ACCs in India,” says the PLI announcement.
“All the demand of the ACCs is currently being met through imports in India. The National Programme on ACC Battery Storage will reduce import dependence. It will also support the Aatma Nirbar Bharat initiative.”
ACC battery storage manufacturers will be selected through a transparent competitive bidding process, and the manufacturing facility will have to be commissioned within a period of two years.
“With the approval of the PLI scheme many global companies are looking at entering the Indian market,” says Debi Prasad Dash, Executive Director with the India Energy Storage Alliance. “Companies such as Tata Chemical and TDK have acquired the land for setting up the gigafactories. Both companies are leading India’s energy storage market.
“Some of the major companies planning to set up cell manufacturing plants in India include Exicom, Tata Chemical, TDK, TDSG, Amara Raja, etc.”
“Under Niche ACC, alternative technologies such as sodium-based, zinc air and aluminium batteries will get a boost, having better battery density, cycle life and safety. So the market looks quite promising for domestic and international players.”
In July, the government announced it would float tenders for four regional load dispatch centres, at 1,000MWh each, for smoothing grid fluctuations as renewable sources are increasingly installed.
Also in July, the state-owned Solar Energy Corporation of India said it would launch a tender, expected to be published at the end of August, for another 2,000MWh of energy storage systems.
Dash says most of the tenders are technology agnostic. “They do not mention any specific battery chemistry, just requirements. If one wants to, and is capable, projects can be done with lead-acid batteries as well,” he said.