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Surge in renewable power: Last opportunity for use of gas in the power sector in India
Oct 06: Now that renewable energy capacity is surging, it is an opportunity for gas-based power plants, with their ability to ramp up much faster than coal-fired stations, to plug the gap in supply when renewable power gets switched off in the evening.
8And this can well be the last and final opportunity for use of gas in power plants in India. if the bus is missed, then it will be missed forever.
8All kinds of alternatives to fill in the supply gap is being thought of, including pumped storage plants, batteries, compressed or even liquid air storage systems and flywheels.
8But all of them are not capable of taking on the challenge at hand. At least not in the immediate future.
8There is the real threat however of ordinary coal-based power plants to be used as peaking load stations with some equipment modifications. What is being investigated now are innovation in coal-based power plants for quick start-up, quick ramp up and ramp down of generation and sustained low load operation.
8A coal-based thermal power plant will have go through a burner upgrade, use new materials to handle thermal stresses in the superheater and reheater tubes and stronger monitoring of turbine blade vibrations and air distribution in the boiler to take care of exigencies.
8The way out is for a lot of spare coal-based thermal capacity to develop a flexible generation service, by using what will be a pre-defined ramp up and ramp down rate over a sustained period.
8A new thermal power generation policy matrix will have to be worked out.
8In case thermal power plants are able to take the load, along with demand-side changes and the necessary grid modification needed to take on the surge in renewable power, gas-based power plants may become redundant on account of high cost of gas.
8If that happens, that be the end of the story for gas-based power plants. This will also mean that gas suppliers will have to look at other sectors for uplift of gas. It will also significantly change gas demand projections in India.
8If coal-based thermal capacity is unable to take the load, gas power will be relevant until affordable alternatives are developed.
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