May 15 2018 | Focus


As the economic activity in the country moves in top gear the demand for electricity is on the rise and the time has come to prepare for meeting the future requirement as well. The Government of India has embarked on number of development programme such as ‘Make in India’, ‘Smart Cities’, ‘Sagarmala’, ‘Bharatmala’ and many more. The move is towards urbanisation and making India a global manufacturing hub. All these are clearly pointing to the need to generate, transmit and distribute large number of electricity units for businesses and households. India has surplus power generation capacity but is struggling with building adequate infrastructure for supplying electricity to all needy people. The Government of India has launched a scheme called "Power for All" and intends to provide electricity to one and all. Sandeep Sharma takes a look at the Power Transmission segment...

Power is the main driving force behind the wheels of industrial and economic growth. It is one of the most critical and vital element of infrastructure development as most of the sectors are completely dependent on the electricity available. India’s power sector is one of the most diversified and rapidly growing sector in the world. The power generation is based on both conventional sources such as coal, lignite, natural gas, oil, hydro and nuclear power to non-conventional sources such as wind, solar, agricultural and domestic waste. Off late the focus has shifted more on the use of renewables for generating electricity. Solar power generation programmes are at the forefront of the Government policy and implementation. Electricity demand is on the rise and future requirement calls for urgent steps today sprucing up the power infrastructure. In order to meet the increasing demand for electricity in the country, massive addition to the installed generating capacity is required. The National Electricity Plan of 2018 states that the country does not need additional non-renewable power plants in the utility sector until 2027, with the commissioning of 50,025 MW coal-based power plants under construction and achieving 275,000 MW total installed renewable power capacity.

In India, both the central and state governments are responsible for the development of the electricity sector. Each state has power generation and transmission companies. The central power generation utilities include NTPC, NHPC, THDC, NEEPCO, SJVN, NLC, etc. Powergrid is the Central Transmission Utility. The country has been demarcated into Eastern, Western, Northern, North Eastern and Southern region. The first four regions mentioned have been synchronously interconnected and operate as a Central grid. The Southern region is asynchronously connected to the Central Grid through HVDC links.

According to Central Electricity Authority (CEA), the installed capacity to generate power in India is 3,44,002 MW as on 31st March, 2018. Out of this the Private sector contribution is the highest at 45.2 percent, while the Central Sector utilities could contribute 30.2 percent amounting to 103,975 MW and the State sector utilities share was 84,517 MW amounting to 24.6 per cent. During the fiscal year 2016-17, the gross electricity generated by utilities in India was 1,236.39 TWh and the total electricity generation (utilities and non-utilities) in the country was 1,433.4 TWh. The gross electricity consumption was 1,122 kWh per capita in the year 2016-17.

The Government of India has embarked upon a massive programme to provide 24x7 power across the country by 2019. To boost electricity generation and distribution, the government has taken number of proactive steps in thermal power generation, hydel and more importantly in solar, wind and other green energy. Special emphasis is given to strengthening of transmission and distribution networks, separation of the feeder and metering of power to consumers. Special focus has been given to Rural Electrification, under Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY); and Urban Electrification under Integrated Power Development Scheme (IPDS). The schemes have been now oriented towards individual household electrification by March 2019, under SAUBHAGYA scheme. Not only the capacity addition is being targeted but steps to increase the overall efficiency of the transmission network is being worked out. The increase in accountability and transparency is being improved.

Over the years, the power generation remained as the top priority of the policy makers and the evacuation infrastructure was not adequately addressed. Due to this there is a gap between the power produced and evacuated which reaches out to the last mile consumer. The power transmission infrastructure is not enough to transfer electricity from power surplus regions to power deficit areas. The rapid pace of renewable energy installation is adding pressure to the existing power transmission infrastructure. Renewable power developers have expressed apprehension about the success of renewable energy projects in the absence of insufficient steps taken to build the power evacuation infrastructure. It seems that the transmission facilities are not keeping pace with power generation even when 12,000 MW of solar projects under construction and another 7,000 MW of wind projects have been bid out since February 2017. There is likely to be fallout in the coming years where the renewable energy plants would be ready with no transmission infrastructure in place. The RE developers are insisting on better coordination between ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE), Power Grid Corporation of India (PGCIL) and Central Electricity Authority (CEA). As per the recent media reports, the Solar Power Developers Association wrote a letter to the MNRE and have urged the ministry to postpone auctions proposed by NTPC and Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) over the next few weeks, until the transmission issues are sorted out. The grid connectivity on the completion of the project is the main concern of the association members.

Power generation and transmission projects should be properly aligned so that the developers doesn’t end up facing transmission woes. Building substations may take around three years while the RE projects have to be ready in 18 months as per the power purchase agreements signed by the RE developers. The solution lies in expediting projects related to building more substations and transmission lines. The green energy corridor project implementation should be fast tracked. In 2017-18, 350 circuit km of transmission lines were installed under the green energy corridor project, with 1,900 circuit km targeted in 2018-19.

As per the year end review report 2017 released by MNRE in December 2017, the Intra-State Transmission System is being implemented by eight renewable rich States (Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh) with total project cost of Rs. 10141 crore, with funding mechanism consisting of 20% State Equity, 40% Government of India Grant (total 4056.67 crores) and 40% KfW loan (500 million EUR). The project includes about approx. 9400 ckm transmission lines and Substations of total capacity of approx. 19000 MVA to be completed by March 2020. The purpose is to evacuate approx. 20,000 MW of large-scale renewable power and improvement of the grid in the implementing States. The projects worth Rs. 6,766 crore have been awarded and approx. Rs. 1400 crore have been disbursed to the States from the Government of India share.

Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd (PGCIL), the Central Transmission Utility, is responsible for planning, development and operation of inter-State transmission infrastructure and National Grid. PGCIL has recently signed Memorandum of Understanding for the year 2018-19 with Ministry of Power, Government of India. The MoU comprises various targets to be achieved by PGCIL during FY 2018-19. Capex target for the year has been set as Rs. 25,000 crore. Other targets in the MoU inter-alia include parameters related to human resources, project management, R&D and innovation and other efficiency and operational performance parameters. As on March 31, 2018, the company owns & operates over 148,800 ckt km of transmission lines, 236 EHV substations with transformation capacity of more than 322,000 MVA. Availability of this gigantic transmission network has been consistently maintained over 99.5%. 


Adani Transmission Ltd (ATL), the largest private power transmission companies operating in India had received the LOI in February, 2018 from PFC Consulting Ltd (A wholly owned subsidiary of Power Finance Corporation Ltd) to construct, own, operate and maintain the transmission project in the state of Rajasthan. The project has approximately 200 ckt km of the line at voltage level of 765 KV and one substation at voltage level of 400 KV. This project is primarily being constructed to wheel out renewable energy from state of Rajasthan to different beneficiaries within & outside of the state. This project has been awarded to ATL through a Tariff Based Competitive Bidding Process.

With this project, ATL will strengthen its existing significant presence in Rajasthan with 2 operational transmission projects (i.e. Aravali & Maru transmission company Ltd) and 4 under construction assets i.e. Suratgarh Bikaner, PPP-8, PPP-9 & PPP-10. On completion of this acquisition, apart from largest distribution network, the cumulative transmission network of ATL will reach around 12000 ckt km, out of which approximate 9000 ckt km are under operation. The transformation capacity of ATL will also increase to 19,300 MVA from 35 substations (Including 8 EHV Substations under acquisition) spread across the Country.

POWERGRID Parli Transmission Ltd, a 100% wholly owned subsidiary of Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd, secured through Tariff Based Competitive Bidding (TBCB), has successfully completed three elements viz. (i) Parli (New) - Solapur 765kV D/c line (ii) Parli (New) — Parli (PG) 400 kV D/c (Quad) line and (iii) Establishment of 2x1500 MVA 765/400 kV Parli (New) S/s out of four and declared the aforementioned elements for commercial operation on 27.04.2018.

North Karanpura Transmission Co. Ltd. (NKTCL) is executing Bareilly-Meerut 765kV D/C line transmission corridor. Line was covered under transmission project awarded through TBCB route in May, 2010 but construction of line is yet to start. The project is under litigation.

PGCIL is the executing agency for the project. Mohindergarh - Dhanonda 400kV D/C line is critically loaded. These loaded lines would get relief after commissioning of new lines 400 kV Mohindergarh -Bhiwani D/C line. The project progress so far has included LGH: 122 Ckm, TL: 181 nos, FDN: 97 nos, TE: 28 nos and STG: 0 Ckm. Forest clearance for 2.7 Ha is awaited. Proposal submitted. The work permission is awaited. Also, work is affected due to poor performance of the contractor. PGCIL is likely to expedite progress of the line for early completion keeping in view the criticality of its requirement. The commissioning is targeted by August 2018.

PGCIL is the executing agency for the project. The project is critical as without this line it will not be possible to synchronize and commission Kishanganga HEP units. The project progress so far has included LGH: 228 Ckm, TL: 252 nos, FDN: 234 nos, TE: 174 nos and STG: 127 Ckm. The project work is affected due to disturbance in Kashmir since Jul'16 & slow progress. Delay in finalization of Private Negotiation Committee (PNC) and disbursement of compensation. The commissioning is targeted by September 2018.

UPPTCL is the executing agency for the project. The construction of the transmission corridor is required for the evacuation of power from Anpara-D STPS. The progress so far has included LGH: 426.149Ckm, TL: 1225 nos, FDN: 1182 nos, TE: 1103 nos and STG: 346.243 Ckm. Anpara- Jhunsi section of the line(187 ckm) is being constructed by M/s Jyoti Structures which has gone bankrupt and their debt restructuring plan is before National Company Law Tribunal. However, debt restructuring plan for the firm is likely to be approved by the tribunal shortly. In the meantime work is under progress albeit at a slower pace. The line completion is expected by June, 2018.

HPPTCL is the executing agency for the project. The line is required for evacuation of power from Bajoli HEP (3x60MW) in H.P, which is scheduled to complete by year 2019-20. The progress so far has included LGH: 36 Ckm. The work was awarded in December, 2017. Stage-1 approval accorded for forest clearance. Case processed for Stage-II with MOEF & CC Dehradun. The commissioning is targeted by October, 2019.

Baramwari – Srinagar 220 kV D/C line and LILO of this line at Singoli Bhatwari HEP (92 km/184 ckm) are required for transfer of power from Singoli Bhatwari HEP up to Srinagar pooling station. PTCUL is executing the project. The progress so far has included LGH: 182 Ckm, TL: - 260 nos and FDN: - 70 nos. The earlier contract with LANCO was terminated on 25.10.17. BOQ for re tendering of the line in two equal package submitted to Engineering on 21.09.2017. LOA placed to L&T on 28.03.18 with commissioning schedule of March, 2019 in 2 packages. Principal approval of forest case has been obtained. Compliance report for final approval of forest case has been submitted by DFO Pauri, Rudraprayag and Tehri to Nodal officer on 12 Sept 2017. Stage-II Forest clearance is awaited.

PTCUL is the executing agency for the project. The project aims to transfer power from Tapovan Vishnugad HEP and Vishnugad Pipalkoti HEP up to Srinagar pooling station. The progress so far has included LGH: 36 Ckm. The commissioning is targeted by December, 2019.

PTCUL is the executing agency for the project. The progress so far has included LGH: 184 Ckm. Transmission line has been awarded to Tata / Ranjit Singh in 3 packages in Sep, 2017 with commissioning schedule as Sep, 2019.

PTCUL is the executing agency for the project. The line is required for the evacuation of power from Singoli Bhatwari HEP (3x33MW), Tapovan Vishnugad HEP (4x1301MW) and Vishnugad Pipalkoti HEP (4x111MW) beyond Srinagar. The progress so far has included LGH: 304 Ckm. The contract had been awarded to M/s Cobra but due to poor financial condition of company, M/s Cobra had abandoned the project. The award of the scheme is expected in July, 2018 with implementation time of 26 months.

PGCIL is the executing agency for the project. The line is required for strengthening Eastern Region grid system. The progress so far has included LGH: 881 Ckm, TL: 1223 nos, FDN: 1197 nos, TE: 1188 nos and STG: 760 Ckm. ROW issues being faced in Distt. South 24 Pargana (4 locs., 3 Kms), North 24 Pargana 21 locs., 20 Kms) stringing. Blockade near Rajarhat by local public is affecting progress of s/s works since Jan.’17. Forest approval in Jharkhand is also delayed. Despite help from District administration, the work is progressing in the slow lane due to stiff resistance from local villagers) in Rajarhat area. The work was resumed in Oct’17 with restricted / controlled access of site. Due to local protest the work got stopped again in December, 2017.
The line is required for evacuation of IPP generation projects connected to Angul. PGCIL is the executing agency for the project. The progress so far has included LGH: 590 Ckm, TL: 790 nos, FDN: 772 nos, TE: 759 nos and STG: 449 Ckm. Gen. proj. in Srikakulam area delayed beyond 2017-18. Stringing affected due to ROW near Banepal, Rairhakhol, Angul, Athmalbic, Kishorenagar areas in Odisha (11 fdn., 13 T.E. & 24 Kms Stg.) and permission to work in issued for all division in forest area. Tree cutting approval received for 07/07 division Payment done. The completion is likely by June, 2018.

The line is associated with Salaya TPS for evacuation of power, and its completion would relieve overloading of Hadala-Chorania S/C line. However, interim arrangement with the completed portion of Amreli-Vadinar one ckt terminated at Jetpur and second ckt terminated at Hadala relieved loading of Chorania – Kasor. Gujarat Energy Trans. Corp. Ltd (GETCO) is the executing agency. The progress so far has included LGH: 239 Ckm, TL: 365 nos. FDN: 309 nos, TE: 267 nos and STG: 118.26 Ckm (117 ckm of line commissioned in Jan 14 through interim arrangement). The progress is affected due to contractual issue with M/s Jyoti, and the contract has been terminated and Price Bid opened on 22.01.2018 and tender under scrutiny.

Essar Power Transmission Co. Ltd. (EPTCL) is implementing Mahan-Sipat (Bilaspur) Pooling station 400 kV D/C line. This line is associated with Mahan TPS (2x600MW) of Essar Power for evacuation of power. Presently power is being evacuated through interim connectivity with LILO of 400 kV Korba-V’chal-1.Bilaspur PS commissioned in Mar’12 and delay of the dedicated Mahan- Bilaspur line causing constraints in the transmission system from Korba STPS. The construction work is in full swing. The completion is targeted shortly.

Vandana Vidyut Ltd (VVL) is executing Salora TPS – Dharamjaigarh 400 kV D/C line. This line would complete the evacuation system of Salora TPS. In 40th SCM Meeting: M/s VVL was not present. As informed by M/s BALCO, work on dedicated line has not yet started. WRLDC filed petition to CERC for disconnection. The project is in delay mode. The project authority has also not been able to execute PPA yet. Target The commissioning date will be provided after approval/receipt of the loan from lenders.

PGCIL is executing the Singrauli – Allahabad 400 kV S/C line. The line is required for the evacuation of power from Singrauli complex. The progress so far has included LGH: 153 Ckm, TL: 436 nos, FDN: 391 nos, TE: 355 nos and STG: 98 Ckm. The project is delayed due to issues like ROW at Singrauli end and progress affected due to poor performance by executing agency.

GETCO is the executing agency for the Mundra (Adani) - Zerda 400kV D/C line 1. This transmission line is part of ATS of Mundra TPP Ph.II (2x660 MW), out of two no. 400kV D/C lines, one has already been completed. The line is required to meet the N-1 criteria for the project. This transmission line is part of ATS of Mundra TPP Ph.II (2x660 MW), out of two no. 400kV D/C lines, one has already been completed. The line is required to meet the N-1 criteria for the project. The progress has been affected due to severe RoW problem. The executive agency is M/s Lanco for Pkg 1&2 and M/s Gayatri for Pkg 3. Further, there are contractual issue with M/s Gaytri & M/s Lanco.

The line is required to decongest 220kV North - South corridor of Kerala. It is also a part of ATS of Kundakulam APP (2x1000MW). PPGCIL is the executing agency for the project. The progress so far has included LGH: 296 Ckm, TL: 447 nos. FDN: 321 nos, TE: 276 nos and STG: 80 Ckm. The project is delayed due to ROW issues in Dist. Kollam, Pathanamthitta, Kottayam and Ernakulam. With the help of Police protection force, the work in Kollam, Kottayam and Pathanamthitta are progressing. Ernakulam district issue is over except one-line diversion. Foundation work is being affected due to non-availability of aggregate on account of protest by local group of people. Issue has been taken up to Secy. Level. The completion is targeted by September, 2018.

PGCIL is the executing agency for the project. The line is required due to constraints faced on Import of power from new grid to SR through Raichur-Sholapur 765kV D/C line. The project is delayed due to severe RoW issues at 46 locs (Tumkur -1, Bangalore Urban -10, and Bangalore Rural- 35) and also obstruction from activists of ‘Karnataka Raithu Sangha. Work hindered due to severe ROW issues and the agency has demobilised the gang from site since Oct’15. Revenue survey is being done along the line to ascertain compensation. The completion is targeted by September, 2018.

More such critical transmission projects are being implemented across the country. It is high time these projects should be fast tracked and all the issues are sorted out so as to build robust transmission infrastructure for the country. Various stakeholders need to come together, ensure better coordination, clear all the legal and local issues and work seamlessly on a timeline.

National Institute of Wind Energy (NIWE), an autonomous body under the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has invited global expression of interest for developing India's first 1000 MW offshore wind farm at the Gulf of Khambhat, 23-40 km on the seaward side from Pipavav port. As per the current EoI, the power producer has to take care of evacuation and transmission. Interested Power producers and transmission companies are suggesting unbundling transmission and generation component of the project.

The opportunities to build the power transmission infrastructure are enormous. India is on its way to achieving 175 GW target for installed Renewable Energy capacity by 2022. The Government of India is mainly targeting the increasing share of clean energy through massive thrust on renewable. As per MNRE year end review 2017 report, a capacity addition of 27.07 GW of renewable energy has been reported during the last three and half years under Grid Connected Renewable Power, which include 12.87 GW from Solar Power, 11.70 GW from Wind Power, 0.59 from Small Hydro Power and 0.79 from Bio-power. The Government of India has laid down the ambitious bidding trajectory for 100 GW capacity of Solar Energy and 60 GW capacity of Wind over the next 3 years. The need of the hour is to have better coordination among stakeholders and alignment in the power generation and transmission infrastructure execution plan, fast track power transmission projects by removing the project hurdles and increase private sector participation in the transmission projects.

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