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India approves first commercial BESS: 20 MW/ 40 MWh BESS at Kilokari sub-station, Delhi

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India has approved its first commercial standalone Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) project, marking a milestone in the country's progress towards clean and renewable energy. 

The Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) issued regulatory approval to a 20 MW/ 40 MWh BESS at the 33/11 kV Kilokari sub-station belonging to BSES Rajdhani Power Ltd, the largest power distribution company in Delhi with close to 30 lakh consumers. The project will enable 24/7 power for over 12,000 low-income consumers.

The Kilokari project is a result of active engagement between three parties: the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet (GEAPP), which offered a concessional loan amounting to 70 percent of the total project cost, and power players IndiGrid and BSES Rajdhani Power.

Saurabh Kumar, Vice President – India, GEAPP, commented on the development: "Through our concessional financing and strategic partnerships, we are driving innovation and sustainability in India's energy landscape." 

The Kilokari BESS is India's first commercial standalone BESS project at the distribution level and will play a pivotal role in facilitating the uptake of low-cost Variable Renewable Energy (VRE). India has a relatively higher VRE penetration --- exceeding 12 percent in certain regions --- underscoring the urgent need for integration of BESS projects into the country's power distribution network. 

GEAPP is targeting 1 GW of BESS commitments in India by 2026, aligning with the country's ambitions of deploying 47 GW of BESS capacity by 2032. 

Harsh Shah, CEO of IndiGrid, commented in a release: "BESS is a key focus area for us, recognizing its indispensable role in shaping the future of clean energy in India."

A spokesperson for BSES said: "The regulatory approval of the BRPL BESS project marks a significant milestone in our efforts to integrate renewable energy sources into the grid and enhance reliability for our consumers. This project exemplifies our commitment to embracing cutting-edge technologies to meet the evolving needs of our customers while advancing towards a cleaner, more sustainable energy future."

As per the agreement, the special project vehicle housing the project --- Kilokari BESS Pvt Ltd --- will be paid by BRPL through a fixed-capacity tariff (in Indian Rupees/ MW/ month terms), on availability basis irrespective of the actual consumption. The SPV itself is owned by IndiGrid and Ampere-hour Energy. 

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