Powering a transformation in India: Here is how to deliver 24/7 affordable power in every household
India is amongst the fastest growing economies and the ‘power sector’ is acting as a catalyst to this growth. The record capacity addition in the last couple of years raised the installed generation capacity to over 315GW, including 50GW from renewables. The peak demand touched 160GW last year, with daily electricity consumption of 3.5 billion units (BU).
Electricity shortage is now history, heralding a new era of adequacy of power in India. Skewed distribution of resources-coal, gas, hydro and renewables-required for power generation and widely dispersed load centres necessitate long haulage of power through high capacity lines. But in the last three years, the augmentation in transmission infrastructure has surpassed 12th Plan targets by great measure. Indian grid has more than 3.7 lakh circuit km of extra high voltage AC transmission lineswith a transformation capacity of 7 lakh MVAand interregional transmission capacity of 75,050MW. There are 125 numbers of 765kVlines,1,475 numbers of 400kV lines and 3,900 numbers of 220kV lines.India has a record 11 HVDC elements and a couple of them are in the making.
The philosophy of power system planning has undergone a shift from pursuit of regional self-sufficiency to optimal utilisation of resources on all-India basis. State and regional grids have been ‘stitched’ to form a large,meshed synchronous national grid that operates at a’single frequency’. Besides seamless transfer of power from surplus to deficit regions, interconnected systems enable exploitation of diversity associated with time,weather, crop pattern, industrialisation, population density, economic growth, etc. Large synchronous interconnection helps achieve economies of scale by making it feasible to operate generating units of higher capacity and better efficiency.