India’s power network integrated into one grid with joining of Southern region

India’s power network has been integrated into one grid as South India has been linked with the national electricity grid. This completes the consolidation of the entire country into one network for distributing electricity to consumers. The integration was attained through the commissioning of the Raichur-Solapur 765 kilovolt (kV) single-circuit transmission line by state-owned Power Grid Corp. of India Ltd. With this, the Indian power system has become one of the largest operating synchronous grids in the world with about 232 GW (gigawatts) of installed power generation capacity. India has achieved its ‘ONE NATION’-‘ONE GRID’-‘ONE FREQUENCY’ objective.

How would linking the southern-region with the national grid help?

There is a problem of power shortage in the southern states of India. Power-starved states like Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka were waiting for the line to be interconnected to enable them to transmit power purchased from surplus states in the north and eastern regions. As per the Central Electricity Authority (CEA), India’s highest power sector planning body, Puducherry, Karnataka and Kerala had a peak power shortage of 8.1%, 5.8% and 5.5% respectively in August 2013. However, with the linking of this region with the national grid this problem can be tackled more efficiently as the surplus power from East and West grids could be diverted to power-deficient south. Besides, it will also improve transmission and facilitate better management of demand, ensuring the stability of the electricity grid.

Where are the major grids in India?

There are five regional grids in the country:

  1. 1.     Northern
  2. 2.     Southern
  3. 3.     Eastern
  4. 4.     North-eastern
  5. 5.     Western
“One Nation-One Grid-One Frequency”:

The Indian Power system for planning and operational purposes is divided into above mentioned 5 regional grids. The integration of regional grids, and thereby establishment of National Grid, was ideated in early 90s. The integration of regional grids which started with asynchronous HVDC back-to-back inter-regional links facilitating limited exchange of regulated power was subsequently advanced to high capacity synchronous links between the regions.

The early inter-regional links were planned for exchange of operational surpluses amongst the regions. However, later on when the planning philosophy had graduated from Regional self-sufficiency to National basis, the Inter-regional links were planned associated with the generation projects that had beneficiaries across the regional boundaries.

By the end of XI plan the country has total inter-regional transmission capacity of about 28,000 MW which is likely to boost to about 65000 MW at the end of XII plan.

How would National Grid help?

The National Grid which enables synchronization of all regional grids will help in optimal utilization of scarce natural resources by transfer of Power from Resource centric regions to Load centric regions. Besides, this shall pave way for setting up a vibrant Electricity market facilitating trading of power across regions. One Nation One Grid shall synchronously connect all the regional grids and there will be one national frequency.

Furthermore, the integrated national grid will also help towards interconnecting countries of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) that consists of India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and the Maldives. The SAARC grid ideates meeting electricity requirement in the region. India already has power grid links with Bhutan, Nepal and Bangladesh, and plans to develop power transmission links with Myanmar and Sri Lanka.

How did the evolution of National Grid take place?

The chronological sequence of events that took place towards the evolution of National Grid is as follows:

  • Grid management on regional basis started in 60s.
  • Initially, State grids were inter-connected to form regional grid and India was demarcated into 5 regions namely Northern, Eastern, Western, North Eastern and Southern region.
  • In October 1991 North Eastern and Eastern grids were connected.
  • In March 2003 WR and ER-NER were interconnected .
  • August 2006 North and East grids were interconnected thereby 4 regional grids Northern, Eastern, Western and North Eastern grids are synchronously connected forming central grid operating at one frequency.
  • On December 31, 2013, Southern Region was connected to Central Grid in Synchronous mode with the commissioning of 765kV Raichur-Solapur Transmission line thereby achieving ‘ONE NATION’-‘ONE GRID’-‘ONE FREQUENCY’.

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Categories: Science and Technology Current Affairs - 2017

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