With peak summer just around the corner, India’s stakeholders in the power sector are anticipating power outages in Delhi. It is expected that the Grid Coordination Committee (GCC) will prioritise the capital’s power supply crisis.
GCC stakeholders anticipate a possible shortage in power supply if the required upgrades of the transmission system are not carried out soon. This comes despite the government’s warning that an uninterrupted power supply must be supplied by distribution companies during the summer months.
The discoms are predicting a 6,500MW consumption during this year’s summer period-this is in comparison to last year’s 5,789MW.
The GCC — which includes various stakeholders from the transmission and power department, including the discoms —are due to discuss the development of the upcoming substations in the city and if they will be fully functional during the peak summer months.
This comes after Tata-owned Tata Power Delhi Distribution (TPDDL) “insisted” that if Delhi Transco Limited’s (DTL) substations at Peera Garhi and its cable projects between Mundka to Peeragarhi, Peera Garhi to Wazipur are not completed in time, then there may be load shedding due to an overload on the existing line. However, DTL officials say that these projects are due for completion by end of April.
Another issue is the saturation of capacity in the densely populated central transmission system. Reliance-owned BSES Yamuna Power Limited (BYPL) has already raised the issue of “saturation of capacity” of the DTL substation in Central Delhi. It is expected that the substation may cause problems during the summer.
More importantly, BYPL said the Ghazipur-Noida-Badarpur circuit is very important to meet any contingency in case of any problem in the Maharani Bagh-Ghazipur lines. However, the Ghazipur-Noida-Badarpur lines are currently out of order. On this issue, DTL says it is regularly following up with its counterpart in Uttar Pradesh. DTL officials say they have also arranged a meeting with the central power regulator for the early revival of the same.
The other issue to be discussed is setting up of additional transformers. Reliance-owned BRPL has raised the issue of setting up an additional transformer at Pappankalan. DTL said its request for diverting one transformer has not been accepted by Punjab State Transmission Co. Ltd.
Transmission network needs unconventional solutions
India needs an additional 455GW of installed capacity and significant investment to establish a transmission and distribution network capable of meeting the country's power demand by 2034, says research firm PwC in its report, 'The Future of India: The Winning Leap'. The report suggests a need to shift power generation capacity toward non-coal and greener sources and increase the use of digital and communication technology to automate information gathering, which can help reduce costs.
By adopting non-traditional solutions India could increase access to power for more than 300 million additional people by 2034, with annual per capita consumption of 1,800kW for those connected to the grid. According to PwC, if India shifts its power generation capacity toward non-coal sources, only then it can meet the increased need for power in an environmentally sustainable way.
It further said that the government should encourage private participation in transmission and distribution.
For improving efficiency in the power system there is a need to encourage private sector participation in power retail. Utility customers want a better experience, including more pricing options, and private sector companies could satisfy this unmet need. India has historically invested more in power generation than power distribution. If private companies handled more distribution, the entire value chain could be strengthened, states the report.