Managing the power grid ramping challenges critical to success of India’s renewable energy targets

Power grids operators around the world have been experiencing challenges in operating the grid with increasing penetration of Variable Generation (VG) sources like Solar PV and Wind. Variability in one form of generation must always be compensated with other forms of generation at all times to ensure grid stability. This paper focuses on the diurnal variability introduced into the Indian power grid and the consequent increase in ramping requirements due to the 175GW by 2022 renewable energy target enunciated by the Government of India. Ramping requirements were quantified for 3 potential renewable energy penetration levels on the grid by the year 2027. Nine separate solution alternatives are created using Coal, Natural Gas and Renewable & Emerging technologies as solution options to meet the identified ramping needs. Energy-mix and carbon prices are calculated for each of the solution scenarios and compared with the baseline scenario computed from the Intended Nationally determined Contribution (INDC) adopted by India in COP22. The paper concludes that the most energy cost and carbon price efficient paths for India to integrate ambitious RE capacity into India’s power grid would be to convert and operate existing coal plants as peaker plants instead of as base load plants.