US energy giant AES bets big on India’s green corridor

M Ramesh Chennai | Updated on January 20, 2018 Published on May 27, 2016

AES has storage systems ranging from 100 kW to 1 GW, which can store enough energy to last up to four hours

Sees expanding demand for its storage systems

Encouraged by its first sale of a 10 MW storage system to Panasonic India, US-headquartered energy major AES Corp is in talks with Indian renewable energy companies and electricity transmission and distribution utilities (discoms) for more business.

Last month, AES’s energy storage division announced it would set up a 10 MW lithium ion-based battery storage system for Panasonic India at the Japanese company’s manufacturing facility in Jhajjar, Haryana — the largest-ever storage system to be installed in India so far.

Panasonic deal

Manish Kumar, Managing Director, Energy Storage, AES, described the deal as the company’s first step India.

Speaking to BusinessLine on phone from Washington, he said many Indian renewable energy companies and discoms are in talks with the company to buy its storage solutions.

Major applications

Kumar finds a market in two major applications — storing energy produced by wind and solar power plants for later use, as well as in managing the grid. He expects the ‘green energy corridor’ project (putting in place systems so that the transmission lines are able to transmit large scale electricity generated by wind and solar plants) to need storage systems, too.

AES has storage systems ranging from 100 kW to 1 GW. These can store enough energy to last up to four hours.

Local sourcing

Kumar said a system could cost $1,000 a kW, which works out to $1 million (₹6.7 crore) a MW, but the company is exploring opportunities to save costs by sourcing as many components as possible, such as switchgears and transformers, from within India.

AES’s systems typically give out 88 to 92 per cent of the energy put in.

Today, AES uses lithium ion batteries to store energy. For the 10 MW system that is being readied for Panasonic India, the batteries will be supplied by Panasonic itself.

“The project combines Panasonic’s capabilities as India’s leading lithium ion battery supplier with AES Energy Storage’s experience,” said an AES press release.

Kumar believes lithium ion technology is mature and reliable, but the company is open to using other technologies — flow batteries, for instance — in its systems.

Published on May 27, 2016
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