A new technology will enable thermal power plants to start up in as little as an hour, a fraction of the 24 hours currently needed, allowing for greater integration of renewable energy sources in the national electricity production system, which now runs primarily on coal.
Thermal plants retrofitted with this equipment can start generation as soon as power from solar units starts to reduce with decreasing sunlight, replacing it with coal-fired electricity. It will balance power flow into the network and keep it stable. Such flexibility isn’t possible now since thermal power plants need 24 hours to start and cannot replace a fall in solar generation at a short interval. Last week, India Power Corporation Ltd (IPCL) and Germany-based Uniper floated an equal joint venture company, India Uniper Power Services, which will source this proprietary technology from Uniper and offer it to Indian plants. “It is being successfully used at Uniper power station at Ratcliffe in the UK. Ratcliffe daily uses start and stop cycles in response to renewable generation.