Power sector Current Affairs

India-Japan Smart Grid Pilot Project inaugurated in Panipat

India-Japan Smart Grid Pilot Project was inaugurated Panipat, Haryana to solve the various complications faced by the power distribution sector. It was inaugurated by State Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar in the presence of Japanese Minister Keniko Sen.

Key Facts

India-Japan Smart Grid Pilot Project was initiated under intensive relations between Japan and India and Central Government’s flagship Make in India Programme. The project aims to make electricity distribution network smarter and disseminate Japanese technologies in India.

It also seeks to improve capacity of power companies to provide operational know-how concerning power distribution to effectively use smart grid-related technologies to reduce distribution losses and failure rate of distribution transformers. It also seeks to improve the frequency of power failures, by providing Japanese operational know-how concerning power distribution systems including mastering those technologies.

Under this project, smart meters were installed at homes of customers in Panipat to perform data collection as well as monitoring and control through supervisory control system called SCADA. Its purpose is to demonstrate peak load reduction technology, distribution grid monitoring and control technology and power distribution loss reduction technology aimed at power meter tampering, power theft, and omission of bill collection.

Background

The Union Ministry of Power has launched fourteen smart grid pilot projects to modernize power distribution networks in India for building next generation power distribution networks with less electrical waste. The project in Panipat, Haryana is one of the fourteen smart grid pilot projects. Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) had inked Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Haryana Government in December 2015 for demonstration of Smart Grid Pilot Project in Panipat.

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Amitabh Kant Committee constituted to address NPAs in power sector

The Union Government has constituted high-level committee headed by NITI Aayog Chief Executive Amitabh Kant to address problem of Non-performing assets (NPAs) or stressed assets in India’s power sector. It comprises secretaries in the ministries of power, coal and department of financial services as it members. The Government is also planning to investigate whether private developers have inflated project costs to show higher debt.

Background

According to second volume of Economic Survey 2016-17 released in August 2017, NPAs in power generation accounted for around 5.9% of the banking sector’s total outstanding advances of Rs. 4.73 trillion. Tackling issues that afflict so-called stranded power assets will provide much-needed relief for Indian banks weighed down by bad loans. Besides, weak financial health of state-owned power distribution companies (discoms) is also hampering process of signing long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs) through competitive bidding.

So far, a total of 34 coal-fuelled power projects, with an estimated debt of Rs. 1.77 trillion were reviewed by government after being identified by department of financial services. Issues faced by these projects include paucity of funds, lack of PPAs and absence of fuel security.

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