India steps up efforts to develop cost-effective clean energy storage capacities

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New Delhi: India is fast moving towards its target of installing 175 GW of renewable energy by 2022, but its benefit can be reaped only through cost-effective storage capacities. The Centre has, therefore, stepped up efforts to find solutions which can be scalable and reach the common man. Underlining India’s renewable energy growth , the science & technology ministry has recently set up a clean energy knowledge network, involving four R&D centres, to provide a strong backbone of research technologies for developing renewable energy conservation and storage facilities and equipment. The four centres which will contribute to the development of national research network for next-generation materials for energy storage are IIT Delhi , IIT Bombay , IISc Bangalore and Nonferrous Materials Technology Development Centre (NFTDC), Hyderabad. These centres constitute knowledge networks of more than 20 elite institutions and 80 research personnel working on materials and next generation devices in batteries, super capacitors, solid state hydrogen storage and fuel cells. «Accelerated discovery of energy materials has the potential to make clean energy harnessing more efficient and affordable,» said Ashutosh Sharma, department of science & technology (DST) secretary. He in his message to one of such centres at IIT Delhi said, «The centre would develop materials which can address the issues of variability and uncertainty intrinsic to clean energy sources and provide research led disruptive solution». The current efforts will be in sync with India’s commitment to find such solutions under the Mission Innovation network which had got its shape in the wake of the Paris Agreement on climate change in December, 2015. «Since the country has taken multiple steps to decentralise renewable energy (mainly solar and biomass) production, the move to find cost effective storage solutions will help in increasing footprints of clean energy among small and medium producers such as farmers and residential complexes,» said an official of environment ministry. The government’s target of installing 175 GW of renewable energy by 2022 includes 100 GW from solar, 60 GW from wind, 10 GW from biomass and 5 GW from small hydro-power. «The government’s budget announcement that the ‘Annadata’ (farmers) can also be ‘Urjadata’ (energy producers) will get traction if the country develops cost-effective storage capacities. Efforts are being made where farmers can install small solar facilities in villages and provide electricity to the clusters of houses, » said the official while talking about the ultimate goal of such efforts through interventions from the DST.
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