The Government of India has released draft guidelines to promote the development of pumped storage projects in the country, and are seeking comments from stakeholders by the end of this month.

The Ministry of Power released the draft guidelines on 15 February, and have asked for comments and suggestions from state governments and other stakeholders within 15 days.

With pumped storage plants expected to play a key role in grid stabilization and to help meet peaking power demand, the government said it felt the need to formulate a separate guideline to promote its development.

To date, the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) estimates that the on-river pumped storage potential is 103GW in India, with a large number of off-river pumped storage potential also available. The government is proposing suitable support to be extended to identify and evaluate this potential.

In India, there are currently eight projects (4745.60MW) in operation, four projects (2780MW) under construction, and 24 projects (26630MW) allotted by States

which are under different stages of development. The draft National Electricity Plan (NEP) published by the CEA indicates that 18.8GW of pumped storage projects and 51.5GW of BESS (5 hour) are required to integrate planned renewable energy capacity addition to 2032.

The guidelines released by the government highlight the advantages, and the barriers, of pumped storage development. It also discusses the measures already taken to promote development, which include: utilization of financial and project execution capabilities; energy storage obligation; waiver of ISTS charges; and budgetary support for enabling infrastructure.

The Government is proposing to allot sites for development in three ways:  on a nomination basis to CPSUs and State PSUs; allotment through competitive bidding; and allotment through TBCB. It is also suggesting that developers pay no upfront premium for project allocation, but that construction must take place within two years of the date of allotment or the government has the right to cancel. 

Other measures for development suggested include a number of market reforms and tax and duty breaks, and exemption from the Free Power obligation.  There is also suggestion that the projects may be exempt from Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and public hearing and may only require preparation of an Environment Management Plan (EMP).

The guidelines also mention the possibility of utilizing discarded mines as development sites for new projects. 

You can view the full guidelines here.