India to offer $452 million in incentives for battery storage

NEW DELHI (Reuters) -India will offer $452 million in incentives to companies to set up battery storage projects, in a bid to boost the country’s green energy capacity, a top minister said on Wednesday.

Battery storage projects are critical to India’s ambitious plan to expand its renewable energy capacity to 500 gigawatts (GW) by 2030 from 178 GW at present. They enable storage of energy from solar, wind and other renewables, so it can be released when power is needed most.

The programme will support storage capacity of 4,000 megawatt hours (MWh), to be developed by 2030-31, Information Minister Anurag Thakur told reporters.

Several Indian conglomerates, including Reliance Industries, Adani Power and JSW Energy, have plans to set up large-scale battery plants.

The government will provide so-called viability gap funding – incentives to cover risks for developers of critical infrastructure projects that are or may turn out to be economically unviable – in the form of grants.

The federal cabinet approved the programme on Wednesday, Thakur said, adding that incentives worth up to 40% of capital costs will be provided to companies setting up manufacturing units.

The proposal was announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her budget speech on Feb. 1. India currently has 37 MWh of battery storage capacity.

($1 = 83.1573 Indian rupees)

(Reporting by Sarita Chaganti Singh, Shivam Patel in New Delhi; editing by Christina Fincher and Tomasz Janowski)