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Transmission Infrastructure requirement for integration of large scale Renewable Energy

Last Updated 16 jan 2017

Tremendous potential of Renewable Energy 

Reports suggest that India has tremendous potential of un-tapped Renewable Energy (RE) sources. Our large deserts of Thar, Rann of Katchh etc are suitable enough for large Wind and Solar power plants. Solar alone has a potential greater than 750 GW. Indian Energy Security Scenario predicts a possibility of achieving 889 GW through Wind and Solar power by 2047. Generation capabilities of small hydro and Biomass is yet to be included. Amazing figures by any standards, is not it?

Why we are so madly behind Renewable Energy Sources?

Now the question is why we are so madly behind the Renewable Energy Sources? Yes certainly the International pressure is there to reduce the Carbon footprint, so that we can save our planet. 

Apart from that we can reduce the revenue outflow because of coal imports. Huge coal imports (over 1 lakh crore in 2014-15) are also a cause for un-reliable power supply. Since the prices of coal we import are higher, un-regulated and therefore quite volatile at times. Electricity Distribution companies, already under financial crunch, are unable to purchase power at escalated tariff at many occasions, resort to un-scheduled power cuts. 

Achieving 175 GW of RE by 2022 is the new target set by Indian Government. It is expected that achieving the set targets in next 5-6 years is going to cut the coal imports significantly. Thus to achieve a sustainable growth, energy security is of paramount importance. Promoting and implementing RE sources can help to mitigate the power sustainability issues.   

Potentially Rich States

Several Indian states having enormous potential of RE expansion, e.g. Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, J & K and Himachal Pradesh. Various policy and regulatory initiatives along with fiscal incentives have attracted further interest in developing RE generation and the sale of energy thereof. About 41000 MW of RE capacity addition is envisaged in the 12th FYP, thus the installed capacity of RE generation will be about 66000 MW by the year 2016-17.

Transmission Infrastructure Requirements

Transmission system plays a crucial role to facilitate smooth flow of electricity produced at the various RE power plants in a more economical, reliable and efficient manner. Till now the quantum of RE power was small and it was supposed that connectivity with local grid would be sufficient for its consumption. Now with this big leap forward in RE generation, the surplus energy have to be transferred to other states. Recent report by Power Grid Corp. India Ltd. stresses on the transmission infrastructure and other related services required for the integration of large scale renewable energy capacity addition. With the increase in the share of RE sources on the Power System, the complexity regarding monitoring and control of the grid also increasesVarious up-gradations in grid design, technology and operation protocols have to be implemented to minimize and manage the impacts of generation uncertainty and variability.   

In the year 2013, Government of India formulated a dedicated transmission network expansion program for RE under the National Green Corridor Program (NGCP). With a proposed cost of 43,000 INR, the transmission corridor is supposed to transfer the energy produced from different RE power plants across the country. In the first phase of the project, inter-state transmission network,  inter-connecting the above mentioned RE rich states, will be strengthened. Phase II will connect the various solar parks proposed throughout the nation.

The program also focuses on the establishment of Renewable Energy Management (RMC), and advanced forecasting techniques to mitigate the effects because of intermittent and variable nature of RE.