The Strategist

Reliance, BP can start an energy storage business

08/22/2017 - 15:13

Reliance Industries Ltd., owned by India's richest man Mukesh Ambani, is considering entering the energy storage business in partnership with BP Plc. to expand its presence in the growing renewable energy industry in the country, Bloomberg reported citing two sources familiar with the situation.

Mukesh Ambani. Photo by World Economic Forum
Mukesh Ambani. Photo by World Economic Forum
According to the agency's interlocutors, the companies are considering a plan for creating energy storage projects near solar and wind power plants. The decision on investments and implementation will be made in December, the sources specified.

The development in the field of energy storage is consistent with efforts of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to increase the country's dependence on renewable energy. By 2030, it is planned to sell only electric vehicles in India.

World oil giants, such as Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Total SA and Exxon Mobil Corp., are investing in new energy technologies for modernization of electricity grids and creation of fuels from renewable resources. Reliance has been striving to enter this business since 2009, when the company first announced plans for alternative energy.

In June, Reliance and BP announced that they are expanding their partnership to sell traditional fuels, and are also exploring opportunities in the field of clean energy. Last month, Mint newspaper reported that Reliance plans to sell liquefied natural gas at its retail outlets and create charging stations for electric vehicles.

The production of solar energy in India increased fourfold from December 2014 to about 13 gigawatts. Wind power generation reached almost 33 gigawatts compared to 22.5 gigawatts in the same period. The Government of Modi is committed to generating an additional 87 gigawatts of solar energy and 28 gigawatts of wind energy by 2022 to increase the total renewable energy generation in India to 175 gigawatts.

According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, the annual growth rate of renewable energy production in India (excluding hydropower) amounted to 15% from 2013 to 2016, compared with 12.5% growth in the generation at coal-fired plants.

To stimulate clean energy, the Government of India has launched online courses for solar energy professionals. They can master principles of creation of photovoltaic power systems, solar energy systems engineering, testing and commissioning of solar power plants, as well as their maintenance.

Despite the rapid development of markets for "green" energy in India and the United States, the leader is still China. In 2016, the total capacity of all solar power plants in this country has reached 77.42 GW. By 2020, China has set a goal to achieve at least 110 GW of solar power. The country has invested in renewable energy projects around the world a record $ 32 billion in 2016, and plans to add at least $ 361 billion by 2020.