Govt flips the switch to 20-year power plan

Govt flips the switch to 20-year power plan

Shifting focus to power transmission, the Narendra Modi government would soon launch a 20-year plan for the sector to keep pace with growing generation and its poll promise of '24x7 power for all'. The plan, titled 'Perspective Transmission Plan for 20 Years' is being circulated to all states and sector stakeholders for their feedback.

The total investment envisaged is Rs 2.6 lakh crore during the 13th Plan (period). According to the current draft, Rs 1.6 lakh crore investment in transmission would come from states and the balance Rs 1 lakh crore from the Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (PGCIL).

Power ministry officials, however, said the project allotment would undergo changes, with PGCIL having overcapacity projects and the government pushing for more private investment in the sector. Also, the Green Corridors project, which entails an alternate transmission network for renewable energy, is being revised, keeping up with the plan to add 1,75,000 Mw of renewable power.

Transmission projects, totalling Rs 1 lakh crore, would be outbid in the coming six months through a tariff-based competitive bidding (TBCB), Minister for Coal, Power and Renewable Energy Piyush Goyal, said recently.

The expected transmission network by the end of the 12th Plan period in 2017 will be 3,60,000 circuit kilometres (Ckm) though the current status is 37,140 Ckm.

Around 113 Gw of generation capacity is likely to be added in the remaining period of the 12th Plan and about 100 Gw during the 3rd Plan. According to the latest data, in 2014-15, 3.1 billion units of electricity were lost on power trading platforms due to transmission congestion.

The final draft of the transmission plan would be ready by September and projects would be outbid accordingly. The plan was prepared last year by the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) along with the Power System Operation Corporation Limited (POSOCO) and state-owned power transmission company PGCIL.

The government is planning to increase the size of projects and the scope of work in transmission to prevent congestion in the network. Interstate lines, with a capacity of around 56,000 Mw, are being planned to be built by end of the 13th Plan. The focus would be on new technology such as high voltage direct current (HVDC) and the load forecast would be improved.

"The five-year planning for transmission led to congestion and confusion in the supply network. States were not on board with no forecast of load; demand and transmission were not planned in tandem with power generation as the latter was de-licensed," said a senior power ministry official.

The ministry is also working on the plan of a general network access (GNA) for power transmission. "This is in line with the massive growth of power generation and transmission falling back. But for any plan around transmission, the states need to be on board. We are discussing the plan threadbare with the states," said a government official in the know.

The GNA is a kind of transmission network planning. It aims at developing transmission system such that available power can be transmitted smoothly. It would not be necessary to know in advance the destination of supply for a power generation plant.

The Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC), in its latest report on congestion in the power supply, had also advocated the same.

"One of the reasons for this constraint has also been the fact that while in the last 10 years, private sector capacity addition has led to their share in the total generation capacity rising to 35 per cent, ahead of central sector generation capacity, the private sector constitutes hardly three per cent of the total capacity in transmission.

The process of transmission capacity enhancement through public as well as private sector routes has to be accelerated," said the CERC report on congestion in transmission.

Power Finance Corporation would be outbidding eight critical transmission lines connecting coal-rich east to north and central India in the coming months.

The four major lines - total investment of Rs 4,000 crore - that went under the hammer last week, saw big names pulling out of the bidding process despite being qualified.

Source: Business Standard

SMART GRID Bulletin March 2017


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