The transformation of traditional power systems to encompass diverse renewable energy sources is a critical topic in the drive to decarbonize the energy sector. Expecting the unexpected from climate change adds another dimension to this issue, thus requiring power systems to be flexible to variable loads and energy source fluctuations. The path forward for each nation is unique, and requires country-specific formulations. The Government of India has created a visionary target of 175 GW of renewable energy by 2022. This includes a targeted increase of wind energy from 29 to 60 GW, and an increase in solar from 9 to 100 GW from 2017 to 2022 respectively. Solar and wind generation is expected to significantly rise within the Indian power system. The Government of India, together with 21st Century Power Partnerships, aims to use advanced modeling techniques to establish smart grid solutions, as illustrated by this case study.
The development of advanced modeling techniques was one of the primary focal points of this partnership. By training in-house personnel, teams were able to quickly spot trends that were in line with India’s national perspective.
Findings from this modeling study have lead to multiple new power sector operational plans, based on the futuristic targeted energy goals. It was shown that balancing the load and generation with 100 GW of solar and 60 GW of wind was achievable with 15-minute operational timescales with minimal renewable energy curtailment. The biggest impact is that this reduced curtailment of renewable energy will lead a decrease in the use of thermal plants from 70% to 55%. Furthermore, making progress toward continuously reducing coal capacity is possible as it was learnt that retiring 20% of coal capacity (46 GW) would not adversely affect the system flexibility as long as adequate intra-state transmission was achieved. By receiving advanced training, the Indian modeling team will continue to make forward strides in building power flexibility in to India’s grid.