Renewable Energy Transmission-The Game Changer

It’s not that the record capacity addition that would be the game changer, it would be transmission.

Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (PGCIL), which also enjoys the status of Central Transmission Utility and is the largest power transmission network operator in the country along with private players who are new entrants to the business of transmission and renewables are all gearing up to tackle the challenge of intermittency of supply in renewable energy.

While PGCIL claims to be in sync with the advances in technology and changing energy scenario, Adani Transmission Power, the largest private sector player in the segment, is aiding expansion of the network. The company owns close to 10,000 circuit kilometre of network. Besides, Essel Infra, Kalptaru Power, Sterlite Grid etc. are planning investment in the sector.

In the last seven years, the installed solar capacity has grown from a minuscule 2 Mw to 12,000 Mw by March 2017. Wind power capacity has touched 25,000 Mw all this has thrown up the challenge of evacuation of clean energy and last-mile connectivity a crucial factor.

India’s technology transition for this segment is comparable to the best in the world. For instance, the National Transmission Asset Management Centre (NTAMC) in Manesar, Haryana, monitors and controls all substations of PGCIL. They have real time details of every transmission network, substations and data on power flow and outages and are also engaged in timing the faults, power demand patterns and the region’s behavior vis-à-vis power supply. In all 192 locations with nine control centres across India, of which seven are regional and two at the national level, are connected. The plan is to connect 219 locations besides future capacity.

In next two years , Renewable Management Centres (REMCs) which are going to manage Green Energy Corridors (GEC) would also feed into NTAMC.

GEC, an alternative transmission network to evacuate and blend renewables in the national grid, was designed in 2011 and is going to require an intial investment of Rs 40,000 crore. It is under construction in the renewables-rich states of Rajasthan, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu and has been expedited in locations where solar parks with more than 500 Mw capacity are coming up, such as in Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.

GEC project will have to be demand and supply flexible so as to incorporate the  intermittency of supply in renewable energy this securing the grid. To enable the same, PGCIL has embarked on Real Time Dynamic State Measurement, nationwide installation of phasor measurement units (PMU) has been initiated through Unified Real Time Dynamic State Measurement (URTDSM) programme.

This will improve grid reliability, reduce probability of blackouts and minimise the impact of grid curtailment. It will also pave way for remote communication and management of power supply till the consumer’s end.