Cities are hubs of economic, social, and technological assets that are critical to addressing climate challenges. With the unplanned urbanization of most developing countries, electric utilities frequently struggle to provide reliable and uninterrupted power supply to all of their customers. This situation necessitates the installation of large diesel generator (DG) sets for backup power in commercial buildings, government and private office buildings, industrial areas, IT parks, shopping malls, hotels, hospitals, educational campuses, and residential complexes. When grid power is unavailable, most DG sets start automatically. In India, megawatt (MW) scale DG sets are installed in large buildings.
According to some estimates, India has over 70,000 MW of large DG sets. In addition to noise pollution, DG sets emit heat, particulate matter, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and hydrocarbons.
The new rules and guidelines to prohibit the usage of high-polluting DG sets
In 2018, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) of India prohibited the use of DG sets in the National Capital Region (NCR) between October and March. Many other Indian cities with high pollution levels are also likely to outlaw the use of DG sets in the near future. Commercial buildings, hotels, hospitals, and data centers, among others, cannot afford to be without power for more than a few seconds, so the replacement must be highly efficient, cost-effective, pollution-free, and instantaneous backup power sources.
The best alternative for DG set
There are many alternatives to DG sets, such as gas turbines, Battery Storage Systems, and hydrogen fuel cells, but the best option right now is Su-vastika’s Lithium-ion based Energy Storage System/ESS due to technological maturity, reliability, safety, and efficiency.
A battery backup system can be powered by the grid or by solar rooftop photovoltaic (RTPV) systems. While a typical DG set operates during power outages, which are only a few hours per month, the Su-vastika grid-connected energy storage system can support the grid 24×7 by providing frequency and voltage support and can be a great resource for renewable energy (RE) and electric vehicle (EV) integration with the electricity distribution grid.
According to the cost-benefit analysis, the cost of generating power with a DG set is currently INR 29.07 per kWh, whereas it is INR 15.17 with ESS. In a cost-benefit analysis, the ESS by Su-vastika not only saves money but also eliminates carbon and other pollutants emissions.
There are three business models for replacing DG sets with ESS:
- Controlled by electric utilities
- The building owns it and leases it to the electric utility for grid support; and
- Third parties or Independent Power Producers own it (IPP).
The Benefits of ESS Over DG Set
- ESS provides instant backup power.
One of the key advantages of ESS is that DG sets break when there is a power outage, whereas ESS does not. This technology begins instantly without any breaks or jerks. While DG sets require nearly a minute to restart power via the generator, ESS is automatic and seamless.
- ESS has a low operating cost.
It is important to note that the cost of running a diesel generator is three times or more than three times the cost of power supplied by the power utility, making ESS a unique and less expensive solution when compared to the cost of running a diesel generator.
Because the ESS has a battery as a backup, the consumption per unit of power delivered is further reduced in the case of 50 percent or 70 percent loading of the ESS, whereas in the case of diesel generators, the cost has no impact if the load is reduced because diesel consumption does not vary much in the case of load reduction.
- ESS has a longer life expectancy.
The diesel generator has a life of 10 years, after which the maintenance cost becomes very high, whereas the ESS has a life of 50 years, and the battery can last from 7 to 10 years, which is a significant saving in terms of running costs.
- ESS is simpler and less expensive to maintain.
Because diesel generators have moving parts and require a battery to start, they must be serviced every 300 hours. We need an attendant to fill the diesel and maintain the DG set, whereas the ESS requires no attendant because it has no moving parts compared to the DG set.
- ESS is solar-powered.
If we add a Solar feature to the ESS that allows the batteries to be charged using solar power, the cost of the system can be recovered in 2 to 3 years because the cost of power generation is very low and the solar panels last up to 25 years, lowering the running cost even further.
There is no alternative to such a low electricity cost because the Solar-based ESS can be installed in various places where there is space for solar panels and solar can be properly utilized, and the cost to produce the electricity will be very low. Even if power is available on the grid, this system will be able to run on solar and battery power, if power is available by cutting the power and running on battery solar power to save the cost of electricity even if power is available on the grid as the cost of power, will be very low compared to the cost of Grid power per unit.
The capacity of the Indian power system is expected to increase from 395 GW to 823 GW by 2030 and 1584 GW by 2040. 869 GW of the 1584 GW is expected to be renewable energy (RE) resources. Given the higher proportion of renewable energy in the generation portfolio, the IEA estimates that the Indian power system will have 85% flexibility by 2040, which will be a huge challenge to manage. Building flexibility into the power system is thus a top priority, and BESS is one of the most dependable resources for increasing grid flexibility. During times of excess generation, electricity can be stored in batteries and discharged during peak hours.
The fastest and cheapest way to build flexibility for the Indian grid is to replace DG sets distributed across the country with Su-vastika’s Storage System. The reduction in emissions from DG sets will also aid in meeting the NDC targets.