Monthly Archives: July 2012
Yet another grid failure halts life in half of India
Tuesday July 31, 2012
Just when North India thought a nightmarish power crisis was behind them, the Northern ,Eastern and north eastern grids have failed again at 1 PM.
Technical snag hit the Northern Grid for the second consecutive day on Tuesday leading to paralyzing of all services in northern region. Along with northern grid eastern and north eastern grid also collapsed simultaneously leading to black out in 12 states.
Heavy over drawl by Uttar Pardesh, Haryana and Rajasthan is the likely cause of grid failure. All the three states were overdrawing to the extent of 1200 MW each. The reason for the grid failures in the North and East have reportedly been caused because frequency has dipped below the optimal level of 49 HZ . However officials have been unable to identify exactly where the fault has occurred.
The power supply in Punjab and Haryana are likely to be restored late in evening. The supply to thermal plants from hydro station is being arranged and it will take 4 to 6 hours to start thermal units.
Earlier on Monday, seven states in the northern region saw power trip off at 2.32 am due to a major breakdown in the Northern Grid. The power failure had hit rail, Metro and road-traffic operations, as well as services at hospitals and civic bodies.
Meanwhile CERC in its order said today that in case the constituents do not comply with the directions of NRLDC with regard to overdrawal NRLDC shall take necessary steps to open the identified feeder(s) to the constituent States in order to reduce the over-drawl and restore the grid to the safe operating frequency band.
CERC order further says that Since, the situation has not improved despite our directions, we direct the Officers-incharge of the STUs/SLDCs of the States of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, Uttarakhand and Jammu & Kashmir to personally appear before the Commission on August 14.
For the second time in two days, half of India was plunged into darkness after the Northern and the Eastern Grids collapsed, affecting all 7 states in the north and the states of West Bengal, Bihar, Orissa and Jharkhand in the east.
The Delhi Metro Rail services ground to a complete halt in the national capital.
Power Ministry sources said it will take 5-6 hours to repair.
Source: IBN LIVE
For a second day running the Northern power grid collapsed today leaving the national capital in the dark but this time the Eastern power grid also buckled.
The national capital went black today with passengers aboard the Metro services having to patiently wait in the trains until electricity supply resumed.
Yesterday seven states stopped receiving electricity early in the morning as the Northern power grid collapsed and was restored only after a few hours. Today the Northern power grid collapsed around 1.07 pm and the Eastern power grid collapsed soon after.
CNN-IBN reported that the fault could take five to six hours to resolve.
After yesterday’s grid collapse, power officials pointed to the constant indiscipline by states in north India while drawing power, often preferring to pay the penalty for drawing more electricity than they are due.
Speaking to CNN IBN after the grids collapsed, Union Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said that the grids had collapsed due to states drawing more power than they were allowed to.
The Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM) had a lot of promise when it took off in 2008, but insufficient accurate DNI data, the unclear future of government subsidies, challenges in financing projects, and the need for a local manufacturing base, are all issues that could deter CSP progress in India.
Why the delay?
The first batch of Phase 1 allotted 650MW of solar projects: 500MW for solar thermal and 150 MW for solar PV. While most of the PV projects under this batch, the Migration scheme, and the Rooftop PV and Small Solar Power Generation Programme (RPSSGP) have been commissioned, the 500MW of CSP projects through the JNNSM are still in the construction phase. So far, only one 2.5MW CSP plant is working – the scalable ACME Telepower solar tower in Rajasthan – and developers have until May 2013 to commission CSP projects under the first batch.
“The date for commissioning of CSP projects is still far and therefore, I wouldn’t conclude that developers are behind in completing their CSP projects. However, some of them have asked for extension of time mainly because of delay in availability of heat transfer fluid”, Tarun Kapoor, joint secretary of India’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), tells CSP Today.
Some local CSP developers also claim that efficiencies and DNI data from public sources was highly misleading during Phase 1, partly due to the inadequate resources of validated data for various sites in India, with different players claiming to hold accurate information.
This led to difficulties in the execution of projects, prompting the MNRE to conduct ground solar monitoring at several locations. “Measures like the MNRE’s efforts to set up solar radiation measurement stations at various regions are increasing investors’ confidence for funding projects in India”, Hari Chereddi, managing director of Hyderabad-based Sujana Energy, tells CSP Today.
Although the JNNSM is trying to encourage the development of both PV and CSP technologies by giving each equal weight, Chereddi points out that “by allotting specific quotas for each technology, the JNNSM is dictating the ratio of technology that can be built, rather than allowing the market to select the most efficient and cost-effective technology for India”.
Financing and technology dilemmas
Another large issue has been that the solar sector is comparatively new to financial institutions in the country, as only a few of them have seen the full cycle of solar power projects and how they behave. For this reason, most financial institutions are looking at solar power projects very cautiously.
“Some institutions have expressed fears about extending finance on concerns that the technology may not perform as expected and that developers may not get paid on time”, says Chereddi. Furthermore, PV prices have fallen rapidly over the past two years and there has been no consensus on what price will make a CSP plant profitable.
Scarcity of water in some of the high-DNI areas poses yet another challenge. For example, about a 35,000km area of the Thar Desert has been set aside for solar power projects, which receives 2,000kWh of sunlight radiation per square metre annually. Although this allocated region could potentially generate between 700GW-2100GW of energy, it lacks sufficient water.
Most CSP technologies used today are water based, and despite the availability of some non-water based CSP systems, they are not yet cost-competitive. In addition, there is the challenge of connecting to the main grids, as most parts of the region’s CSP-installed land lack transmission lines.
The tariff shock has not cured average Malayali’s ‘power’ syndrome. Statistics available with Kerala State Electricity Board shows that power consumption has gone up despite a 30% hike in tariff. A day after the tariff hike, the state consumed half a million more units. Consumers across the state had used 55.53 million units on July 25, a day before the hike. The Kerala State Electricity Regulatory Commission revised tariff on July 26 and consumption level crept to 55. 64 mu on that day. It further jumped to 56.24 mu the next day — July 27.
For the last few days, KSEB had purposefully reduced the power generation at its hydel units in view of the near drought situation across the state.
Meanwhile, top officials in the board have ruled out any decision on the part of the KSEB management to introduce power restrictions, including power cut in view of the acute power shortage due to the loss of monsoon rains.
“We have not yet recommended load shedding. Now, the crisis is more connected with money than power. KSEB can provide power by running all of its thermal stations in full capacity. But cost of this power would come around Rs 10 per unit. If consumers are willing to pay additional amount for the power KSEB generates from thermal stations, the question of power cut or restrictions doesn’t arise at all”, said one of the members of Kerala State Electricity Board.
The Central Electricity Authority (CEA) is drafting a scheme to help state power utilities with interest subsidy or additional electricity allocation to enable them meet energy efficiency obligations, Chairman Arvinder Singh Bakshi said on 27-07-2012. He said the union power ministry would hold an internal meeting Aug 1 to see how it can handhold state electricity utilities to meet the obligations under the Perform Achieve and Trade (PAT) scheme, notified by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE).
Under the PAT scheme launched earlier this month by the BEE, eight energy-intensive sectors such as thermal power plants, iron and steel, cement, fertilizer, aluminium, textiles, pulp and paper and chlor-alkali have been included.
The CEA is the statutory organisation for technical coordination and supervision of power generation programmes in the country. The energy efficiency standards of thermal plants will be improved by 2015 under PAT scheme.
“Primarily implementation of PAT scheme would be a problem in public sector because private sector have resources and the wherewithal to meet the obligations under PAT. NTPC and other CPSUs have also have in-house expertise, finances to meet the obligations under the scheme.
“The problem is with the state electricity boards. They don’t have resources, adequate manpower and money to spend on meeting the obligations,” Bakshi said on the sidelines of a conference organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in Hyderabad.
Power supply restored after worst grid failure of decade
Monday July 30, 2012
Power supply to seven states including Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pardesh and Rajasthan was restored to a large extent after northern region was plunged into darkness today early morning after the grid collapsed at 2.32 AM. The last major grid failure was in year 2001.
All the running thermal and hydro station in entire Northern Region except 3 units at Badarpur TPS , Generating Unit at Narora and Bhinmal in Rajasthan with total load of 450 MW only. The complete blackout for more than 4 hours was witnessed in all the seven states.
The long distance trains running on electrical engines were stranded midway. The power failure affected more than 300 trains. The stations where passenger trains were stranded in Punjab and Haryana include Ambala, Kurukshetra, Phillaur, Sirhind, Ludhiana, Phagwara and Karnal.
It took more than 6 to 7 hours to start the light up process at Ropar and Lehra Mohabatt thermal stations as supply from hydro plants was delayed. BBMB units of Bhakra, Dehar and Pong were revived after 8 AM.
Three Ropar thermal unit 1,3,4 &6 were lighted up after power supply to thermal was restored and other two units 2,5 has been delayed due to barring gear problem. Unit 1 and 4 started generation in afternoon. At Lehra Mohabatt unit 1 has been synchronized. All the units of Ropar and Lehra Mohabatt will start generation by evening, said PSPCL official.
In Haryana all the units has been lighted up this morning after grid failure. Unit no. 6 of Panipat thermal plant was first unit to start generation at 11.45 AM. All the thermal units are expected by evening, said an HPGCL official.
The power grid collapsed because some states apparently drew more power than they were authorised to do to meet the increasing demand. Uttar Pardesh was drawing more than 6300 MW against schedule of 5500 MW and suddenly demand crossed 7200 MW at the time of grid failure. Haryana was also overdrawing 600 MW at that time. The system frequency rose to 50 .48 Hz when the grid collapsed after some fault at Agra.
Union Power Minister has appointed a three member committee to investigate the cause of grid failure. Headed by Central Electricity Authority Chairman .The committee will submit report in next 15 days.
It may be mentioned that today there was an international convention being held at New Delhi and all the top brass of Power Grid and other central Government power sector officials were busy with the same. It is an irony the grid failed on eve of such big convention.
There is trouble for thousands in the capital region who take the Metro train services. Due to power supply failure in Northern Grid, train services have been majorly hit. Sources in the power ministry have said that the problem will be rectified by 9 am. It will take at least another three to four hours for the whole system to come back to normal, they added.
The Northern Grid failure has also caused power cuts in large parts of Delhi. The power cuts have also hit water supply in many parts of Delhi.
About eight states have been affected due to the northern grid failure. The essential services in Delhi airport has been shifted to generator mode that will last for 48 hours.
This is reportedly the worst northern grid failure since January 2001.
The northern grid collapsed at 2:33 am. Preliminary investigation shows the grid collapsed due to fault near Agra; the failure of the transmission lines led to auto shut down of all power generations across eight north Indian states.
All power generation units of National Thermal Power Corporation or NTPC and state units in eight states auto tripped. In Uttar Pradesh, none of the NTPC or state units are on stream till now.
Punjab leads the country in matter of power purchase
Sunday July 29, 2012
Punjab, the most aggressive power purchaser, leads all the states of country in matter of power purchase.
Punjab State Power Corporation ltd. (PSPCL) had claimed at the start of this financial year that there will be no power cuts because of power shortage as they have made elaborate arrangements for the summer by purchasing over 2000 MW power. Factors like breakdown or load can affect the supply, not shortage as PSPCL is purchasing Rs 6,500- crore worth of power this fiscal.
The assessment of PSPCL went haywire when the power demand rose beyond their expectations and to make the power situation worse monsoon was delayed and then prediction of poor monsoon. Punjab has been making short term purchase to bridge the gap between demand and supply. Even in the last 10 days the average daily power purchase is 580 lac units. This included power purchase through traders, under banking arrangements directly or through traders and from power exchanges.
Under banking arrangement PSPCL purchased directly about 96.6 lac units daily and about 54 lac units through traders. Power purchase through traders was about 344 lac units daily and varied between 303 to 365 lac units. The power purchase from power exchanges varied between 25 to 169 lac units with the average of 76 lac units. The total short term purchase in last 10 days varied from 501 to 677 lac units. The average power purchase cost in last 10 days works out to Rs. 5.20 per unit. The unit price varied between Rs.3.62 to Rs.6.34 depending upon power demand and availability.
Punjab had been making power purchases through 8 traders and major traders are Power trading Corporation ( about 25.5 %) ,Adani and Adani Power (About 11.6 % ).The additional power is being arranged from 11 generating stations.
PSPCL had signed short-term power purchase agreements (PPAs) with different firms to supply eight-hour power to agricultural pump sets during the paddy season this year. The total power to be purchased for the paddy season would be around 3,200 million units (MUs) at Rs. 4 per unit. PSPCL in its tariff petition before regulatory commission has projected that power purchase worth Rs. 7207 crore would be purchased in 2012-13.
According to reports, rooftop solar power plants are set to take off in a big way in India, many speakers at REaction, a conference of the renewable energy industry here, said. The 3-day conference is being organised by Energy Alternatives India, a Chennai-based clean-tech consultancy.
Mr Pashupathy Gopalan, Managing Director, SunEdison, said solar plants on rooftops of commercial buildings can even now produce power at costs almost equal to distribution company rates.
Residential rooftops will reach “grid parity” within two years, he said.