If the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) programmes to increase solar manufacture were the main focus of the Union Budget for the Power Sector last year, the emphasis for this year's Budget, or Budget 2023, will almost certainly be on renewable energy storage and transmission. The electricity ministry has proposed a viability gap funding (VGF) provision for battery energy storage systems in addition to pressing for the projected green corridor between Ladakh and Haryana to be included in the forthcoming Budget (BESS).
Power Secretary Alok Kumar has said: “As part of the Budget proposals sent by the power ministry to the finance ministry, we have requested for VGF for battery storage systems to be announced. Next, we have also requested for a budgetary allocation for the Pang-Kaithal green energy transmission line to be set up.”
The green energy transmission corridor is being planned between Pang in Ladakh and Kaithal in Haryana and is likely to span 900 kilometres. The corridor is being planned specifically to evacuate at least 13 gigawatts of power from the 10 GW
renewable energy (RE) park being planned in Leh and another 4 GW through wind energy systems to be built in the union territory. The RE park in Ladakh is a marquee project; it was first announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2018-19. Officials involved in the project said the transmission line will also have a 12 GWh battery energy storage component and will cost Rs 22,000-25,000 crore. To boost battery energy storage system (BESS), the power ministry has asked for a budgetary allocation of Rs 3,500 crore to offer VGF for BESS of a total capacity of 4,000 MWh, Kumar said.
Battery storage, or battery energy storage systems (BESS), are devices that enable energy from renewables, like solar and wind, to be stored and then released when power demand peaks. As India scales up its renewable energy capacity, battery storage systems are gaining importance as a solution to reduce the intermittency of renewable energy projects to provide continuous power. In July 2022, India added an Energy Storage Obligation to its existing Renewable Purchase Obligation policy for the first time.
In Budget 2022, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had announced that the government will launch sovereign green bonds and increase the funding under the production-linked investment (PLI) scheme for domestic solar cells and module manufacturing to Rs 24,000 crore from Rs 4,500 crore. Ahead of Budget 2023, the Reserve Bank of India on January 6, announced that it will, for the first time, issue Sovereign Green Bonds (SgrBs) worth Rs 16,000 crore, in two tranches of Rs 8,000 crore each in the current financial year.
"An additional allocation of Rs 19,500 crore for PLI scheme for manufacturing of high-efficiency (solar) modules with priority of fully integrate manufacturing units for polysilicon to solar PV modules will be made," Sitharaman said. "This will facilitate domestic manufacturing for the ambitious goal of 280 GW of installed solar capacity by 2030." The additional PLI of Rs 19,500 crore was approved by the Union Cabinet on September 21, 2022, for the production of high-efficiency solar modules.