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Wind-Solar hybrid projects have been hailed as the most viable option to manage intermittency issues faced by standalone wind and solar power sources.
India has approximately 1.3 GW of solar capacity installed under hybrid power projects and about 11 GW in the pipeline across the country.
Hybrid projects go a long way in optimizing land and transmission systems and providing a longer-duration power supply.
States like Rajasthan, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, and Haryana have seen the most hybrid project developments. While other states are slowly picking up on the pace for hybrid projects, the segment has a lot of ground to cover.
The Mercom India Solar Summit 2022, being held on July 28-29 in New Delhi, dedicated a session to discuss issues relating to hybrid projects.
Titled ‘Potential of Hybrid Projects in India,’ the session had panelists Rajesh Prabhakar Zoldeo, Chief Commercial Officer, Sembcorp; and Mithun Dubey, VP Sales Renewables, ReConnect Energy, discussing the potential of wind-solar projects in India, policies required to boost their deployment, and the challenges.
Priya Sanjay, Managing Director, Mercom India, moderated the session.
Zoldeo believes that people have become more cost-sensitive with the evolution of the renewable energy sector. “With grid integration in focus, everyone is asking for the actual price of renewable energy projects. With hybrid, once the wind is added and storage, many questions about standalone projects are answered. DISCOMs prefer hybrid projects as they are easy to integrate into the grid. Hybrid provides a better solution for consumers who wish to acquire power through ISTS, where no banking is allowed. C&I consumers are slowly moving towards renewable power as it helps them with their ESG and RE Power targets. Also, with round-the-clock renewable energy options through hybrid, it becomes very economical. “
Dubey said forecasting power is easy with hybrid projects. “Forecasting is needed for generation, demand, and consumption. The need of the hour is forecasting for better grid correctability. The accuracy of the hybrid projects versus standalone wind or solar is better because of the minimum deviation. The regulations in India stress more on grid stability, and with the DSM regulations in place, this has become more stringent. The forecasting has been more accurate in the last few years with more data interventions by independent power producers and original equipment manufacturers. This also depends on whether the projects are co-located or separate.”
Challenges with Hybrid Projects
Zoldeo opined that the issues with hybrid and standalone wind and solar projects were the same. “Issues like land availability and connectivity remain the same through all the power projects. There are certain states like Rajasthan, where solar generation is better than wind, and Karnataka, where wind generation is better than solar. This makes it difficult to co-locate the projects. Also, with wind energy, forecasting remains challenging, leading to under-injection. This leads to generators paying four times the penalty for not meeting the forecasted injection. With hybrid, it is always a risk as consumers expect 100% predictable power. Over time, we have faced curtailment issues with our projects across different states. Setting up connectivity for these projects also remains challenging, but with the ISTS waiver, this challenge can be easily addressed.”
Addressing the forecasting issues regarding wind energy, Dubey said, “IPPs are now working on multiple layers even before participating in the project, where they analyze the data beforehand. Wind energy especially has been sporadic over the last few years and can be addressed only with the help of more data interventions.”
The way forward
Zoldeo welcomed the recent notification, which extended the time for wind project commissioning to 24 months. “The regulation was much needed, as it is easy when it comes to solar, but with wind, where we have to procure the heavy wind turbines and then set up evacuation for the Energy generated, it takes more than 18 months. In addition, setting up new substations for these projects also takes a lot of time. The benefit of hybrid is that in places where more wind energy is generated, it can be traded at exchanges. So it works in favor of the developer when hybrid projects are not co-located. “
Dubey said, “We as a team are collecting data, forecasting the Energy, and then consulting with the dispatch centres to help maintain the grid stability. We have also started with weather forecasting and operational interventions that help hybrid projects. We have set up REMCs (Renewable Energy Management Centres), which help boost the RE generation by providing data to agencies like the dispatch centres and POSOCO, who fix issues depending on the forecast of REMCs, making hybrid projects more efficient through the grid.”
The Mercom India Solar Summit will cover topics such as manufacturing, technological innovations, solar for C&I, large-scale solar development, and sector financing on Day 2 on July 29.
You can register for the Day 2 of the event here.