USAID–India’s new clean energy project, Greening the Grid, aims to support the Government of India in managing the large-scale integration of renewable energy into the Indian power grid.
Last week, the Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP) at the World Bank announced $300,000 in co-funding to a project that is also funded by the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). USAID–India’s new clean energy project, Greening the Grid, aims to support the Government of India in managing the large-scale integration of renewable energy into the Indian power grid. This project is being implemented in partnership with India’s Ministry of Power. One component of Greening the Grid is to conduct a series of grid integration studies, which identify potential grid reliability concerns in systems with high renewable energy levels. The grid studies will evaluate the impacts of achieving 2022 renewable energy deployment targets and assess actions that can cost-effectively improve the integration of this renewable energy. The co-financing of this project is part of a growing body of collaborative work announced by the CEM and ESMAP.
Under the initial USAID funding, a team from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory are already working with the Power System Operation Corporation, the Power Grid Corporation of India Limited, the Central Electricity Authority, and participating states (Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh), to develop and validate a unit commitment and dispatch electric grid model, create multiple future (2022 and beyond) scenarios with varying expectations of renewable capacity deployment, and evaluate the cost impacts of measures to integrate renewable energy (e.g., changes to dispatch rules and improvements in forecasting). Three studies will be conducted: a national system study and a more in-depth analysis of two regional systems (western and southern). The ESMAP funding will directly support the national grid study.
The funding from ESMAP will also allow the team to go far beyond the initial regional grid-integration studies and create modeling scenarios and reports to provide a rich picture to decision makers in India. These funds will also support capacity-building, helping create a team of modelers in India that can continue with additional scenarios and studies required by the government or other stakeholders in the future. Last year, the CEM 21st Century Power Partnership funded two fellowships for energy modelers from India to visit U.S. national laboratories and work with energy modeling teams to develop data sets for the Greening the Grid studies.
The analytical work funded by ESMAP could be leveraged for designing and implementing upcoming solar park projects in the country, as several scenarios will look at solar park issues. In addition, the World Bank has several renewable energy projects in development, and this new modeling capability can be leveraged to answer questions as these specific projects progress.
With NREL conducting a growing number of international grid integration studies, this can be a win–win activity for all the parties involved. Most important, the client countries will benefit from these synergistic projects and coordinated technical assistance. This coordination is currently being supported by having Nate Blair, a Group Manager within the Strategic Energy Analysis Center at NREL, as a secondee from the NREL to the ESMAP team as well. In that capacity, Mr. Blair will facilitate communication and assist with managing contracts and procurement processes.