The Union power ministry has chosen the Simhadri thermal power station in Vishakhapatnam district of Andhra Pradesh, and the Dadri power plant in Uttar Pradesh, to study the impact and costs of grid integration of solar and wind power on thermal power plant operations.
This is a critical area of study as the Centre aims to meet about 40 per cent of the total power needs of the country through solar and other renewable sources. Integrating such a large amount of power from these sources poses a challenge to maintaining grid frequency.
While thermal power plants ensure a steady grid frequency, power from solar and wind sources are weather-dependent and fluctuating in nature. When they are integrated into the grid, power plant operators have to produce back-up power to maintain the steady grid frequency. Otherwise, the power grid could collapse, plunging large parts of the country into darkness.
Such back-up power is provided by thermal or hydro power plants, but a key problem is that thermal plants, as they are operated today, cannot take up the slack on the fly.
The study at Simhadri and Dadri power plants will help come up with flexible power generation management to ensure that grid frequency is maintained. The power ministry has constituted a task force for the purpose under an Indo-German energy forum initiative.
The study will cover demonstration of technical and economic feasibility, analysis of legal framework conditions and capacity building of power plants operators.