Champa-Kurukshetra HVDC transmission system: Outage leads to rise in spot power rates in North India

The forced outage at the crucial Champa-Kurukshetra HVDC transmission system earlier this week is leading to severe congestion in the transmission corridors feeding the northern states. As a result of the outage, which had caused a sharp drop in the power wheeling capacity between the western and the northern regions, spot power rates in North India were recorded higher as compared to the rest of India during July 16-21, with the increase averaging at about Rs 0.50 per unit during the period while the prices for the night power were higher to the extent of Rs 0.35-1.50 per unit, according to data sourced from the day-ahead market on the country’s power exchanges.

This marks a departure from the general trend, when practically no congestion was recorded in the northern region. The outage at the crucial Champa-Kurukshetra HVDC transmission system had led to a sharp drop of about 1,500 MW in the power wheeling capacity between the western region and the northern region.

The affected link is the first phase of the key transmission system (Pole-I of the 800kV High Voltage Direct Current system), which was commissioned in March and was instrumental in augmenting the inter-regional capacity of Northern Region with Western Region. The link is crucial in enabling transfer of power from private generation projects in the Raigarh, Champa, and Raipur regions of Chhattisgarh to demand centres of Northern region — Haryana, Punjab, UP, Rajasthan and adjoining areas.

Following the outage, the available transfer capability (ATC) fell from 8,550 MW to 7,050MW, official sources indicated. The transmission system is tentatively set to be up and running by July 22. Power experts indicated that the back-up plan to bringing into service a system that is still under commissioning could have technical limitations, especially in terms of it being suddenly loaded.

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