Intermittency of supply in renewable energy has created a need to strengthen the power transmission systems. The government-promoted 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, has rolled up its sleeves to tackle the upcoming energy transition. At the same time, private players who are new entrants to the business of transmission and renewables are also gearing up. 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. For a nation like India, whose base energy load has been coal and the system is designed around it, the challenge of evacuation of clean energy and last-mile connectivity is crucial.
Under the Paris Climate Change pact, India has envisaged 40 per cent of its total energy demand to come from renewable sources by 2022. 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. Transmission line coverage of 7 lakh circuit kilometre caters to 3 lakh Mw cumulative generating capacity from all sources. The Paris agreement did not mention the role of transmission but sector experts have been voicing concerns on grid support. Also, 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.
“What you see at NTMAC is a repository of data being updated real-time. We have details of every transmission network, substations and data on power flow and outages. We are timing here the faults, power demand patterns and the region’s behaviour vis-à-vis power supply,” said S K Srivastava, additional general manager, PGCIL.