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Denmark helps India prepare its energy system for a boom in renewables

A newly initiated pilot project on securing a successful integration of renewables in India’s energy system could be the steppingstone for a transition of great global importance.

The gains made in Denmark’s green transition are the most impactful when they are shared beyond borders. A great example of this is The Danish Energy Agency’s facilitation of government-to-government partnerships through the Centre for Global Cooperation. The partnerships encompass 24 countries that represent 70% of global greenhouse gas emissions, and they hold no shortage of success stories of how Danish experiences and skills aid in spurring green progress. A recent addition to the list of promising endeavours is a pilot-project on integration of renewables in Karnataka, India.

Green ties between Denmark and India

Since 2018, Denmark and India have cooperated on energy. Initially, the cooperation was focused on offshore wind through a Strategic Sector Cooperation. In 2020, the collaboration was expanded to include long-term energy planning and scenarios as well as flexibility and integration of renewable energy.  Under the tagline “Denmark has the skills, and India has the scale”, The India-Danish Energy Partnership (INDEP) was launched.

Today, INDEP marks the centerpiece for the government-to-government cooperation on energy between India and Denmark. INDEP is a 5-year programme running from 2020-2024.

Read more about INDEP

Danish integration skills on an Indian scale

As the world’s third largest CO2 emitter and energy consumer, it is hard to understate the significance of accelerating the green transition in India. The Indian government has recognized this opportunity by setting an ambitious goal of installing 500 GW of non-fossil energy capacity and achieving a 50% of non-fossil fuel share in the electricity production capacity by 2030. Successful integration of renewables into our energy systems is a common global challenge, and one that Denmark has extensive experience with. Denmark has Europe’s highest security of supply with electricity in the socket 99.996% of the time, while more than half of our electricity consumption is covered by renewable energy.

As part of the India-Danish Energy Partnership (INDEP), the pilot project “Development of Short-term forecasting model for day-ahead/real-time solar and wind forecasting for Karnataka” marks an important step towards realising the Indian ambitions on renewables. The project centres around applying learnings from the Danish approach to forecasting of renewable energy production in the state of Karnataka.

Forecasting plays an integral part in the integration of renewables and maintaining the stability of the energy system as the daily schedules of production and consumption are based on forecasted data. The fluctuating nature of wind and solar in the system comes with uncertainty, which can lead to large imbalances in a real-time operation if the forecasts are inaccurate. This can result in wrong and unsuitable dispatch which consequently increases the cost during real-time operation, as more expensive energy units must accommodate the imbalances. Consumers ultimately end up bearing the burden of inaccuracy. The state of Karnataka, which has a relatively high share of renewables in their energy system, is currently experiencing these challenges.

To combat them, the Danish Energy Agency and the Danish TSO Energinet have partnered with energy authorities in Karnataka to develop a day-ahead and real-time solar and wind power forecasting model which will include balancing and curtailment information.

The Indo-Danish energy collaboration

India and Denmark’s Green Strategic Partnership paves the way for green growth and new business opportunities.

We have gathered all you need to know about the green partnership, and brought together inspiring green energy solutions from Danish experts within the field.

Read more about the publication

A mutual mission

While Denmark takes on an advising role in the pilot project, a mutual exchange of knowledge and expertise is vital to ensure a successful partnership, as Ana Turk, an advisor on the project from the Danish Energy Agency, explains:

We realise it’s really important to be familiar with both energy systems to pull this off. So, they need to know us, how we operate and what our areas of expertise are. And conversely, we need to know theirs. This is crucial in establishing the trust needed for sustainable collaboration.”

To this end, several preparatory workshops were held between the project’s partners before the project officially began. From January 9th to January 13th, The Danish Energy Agency went on a technical mission to Bangalore to launch the project and develop the first iteration of the forecasting model. This was the crucial first step of the project, which is set to run until the end of 2023. Throughout the year, the model will be trained, its performance will be continually monitored, and an automatic component will be added. In the end, the goal is to present the state of Karnataka with an automated, accurate forecasting model, which reduces reliance on balancing, reduces curtailment and reduces balancing costs.

Palpable potential for impact

If the project succeeds, it can prove to be immensely impactful. If the state of Karnataka incorporates the model in everyday operations, the over 60 million people who live in the state would experience the benefits of a cost-effective, sustainable energy system with high security of supply. Ideally, the success of the forecasting model could lead to national transformation, Ana Turk explains:

If they successfully incorporate the model in Karnataka, then the methodology of the model can in principle be transferred to other states, as the model is built to be applicable throughout India. This would greatly impact India’s green transition on a national scale, which in turn has global significance.”

The IEA estimates that India will be one of the world’s largest markets for renewable energy in the coming years and electricity consumption is expected to triple by 2040 – equating to more than EU’s total electricity consumption today. And the projects under INDEP are a testament to how countries can come together to realise such potential to the benefit of us all.

Of course, coming from different cultures and experiences, we may have different politics and opinions. But ultimately, we face the same issues going forward in the green transition. If a foundational trust is built, which the Center for Global Cooperation and the Danish Energy Agency values highly, everyone should be able to see that partnering can lead to something greater,“ Ana Turk says about the future prospect for this and similar cross-border energy partnerships.

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