INDIAN POWER SECTOR

Indian Power Sector- November 2021

• Marginal growth during November 2021
• Draft regulation on Interstate Transmission System(Connectivity &General Network Access i.e. GNA) released
• Draft policy for e-vehicle in Himachal Pradesh
• PGCIL) proposed to transfer Transmission sector assets of 75 Billion INR to POWERGRID Infrastructure Investment Trust (PGInvIT).
• 20 Billion Indian Rupees INR assistance to five power distribution companies in Karnataka.
• German Development Bank (KfW), to extend assistance amounting to 142 Million euros for reforms programs in India.
• Focus on Smart Meter, Automated Metering Infrastructure (AMI) and segregation of agricultural feeders
• DVC and SJVNL entered into agreement to develop floating solar Power Projects.
• NTPC Ltd developed a stand-alone fuel cell-based Microgrid system in Simhadri.

The Indian power sector has witnessed marginal growth in Generation, Transmission, Distribution and RE sectors during November 2021. There is a growth of 3.2 per cent over the previous year in demand for electricity as per the data released by the National Load Despatch Centre (NLDC), the supreme body to safeguard assimilated operation of the power system in India. The electricity consumption of the country has increased to 200.40 Billion units during the period under study. During this period a comparable increase in the trade of electricity through power market has been observed. The trade volume of electricity in the Indian Power market has increased to 9477 million units including 457 million units through Green Market which is more than 150 per cent as that of the same period in the previous year. However, there is a decline in the day-ahead market by 3% and recorded 4179 MU only. The average price of electricity for November 2021 is INR 3.1(0.042 USD) ie 62% less than that of the previous month. This may be due to more availability of coal to Thermal Power Stations and climate change in North India to the winter season. The spot market of electricity has witnessed a rally reaching 1311 MU with an average price of INR 3.48(0.047 USD) per unit. The quantum of electricity transacted through the spot market has witnessed tremendous growth of 47%, with 29 power utilities participating in the electricity trade. The Indian States of West Bengal, Haryana, Telangana, Karnataka etc has benefitted the green market of electricity to a large extent.

The Central Electricity Authority of India (CEA), the advisers on policy matters to the Government of India has released the draft regulation on Interstate Transmission System(Connectivity &General Network Access i.e. GNA) The draft document covers connectivity, GNA and eligibility for Interstate transmission connectivity. GNA is fundamentally the capability to draw or supply power (MW) from a point/zone to any point in the interstate transmission system (ISTS) as evaluated by the central transmission utility (CTU) through Power system studies and analysis.

The Government of India and federal state Governments have formulated various policy reforms for the promotion of e-vehicle. The council of ministers of Himachal Pradesh has approved a draft policy for e-vehicle which includes subsidies to manufactures of electricity, establishing public-private charging stations aiming at sustainable development in the transport sector.
Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (PGCIL)the Indian statutory establishment for transmission of bulk power across different states has proposed to transfer Transmission sector assets of 75 Billion INR(1.01 Billion USD) to POWERGRID Infrastructure Investment Trust (PGInvIT). Major projects like Power Grid Southern Interconnector Transmission Project at Nagapattinam – Dharmapuri (Salem) 765kV D/C line and Dharmapuri (Salem) – Madhugiri 765kV S/C line (Nagapattinam Madhugiri Transmission Ltd (NMTL)) together with 26% shares of VIZAG Transmission Limited (VTL). This forms a part of the 42.5 Million Indian Rupees (0.6 Million USD) national monetisation Pipeline (NMP) of the Government of India aiming at leasing core assets.

The Government of Karnataka has projected a program to revive five distribution companies in the state with the assistance of 20 Billion Indian Rupees INR(0.27 Billion USD). The five power distribution companies in Karnataka are Bangalore Electricity Supply Company Limited (BESCOM), Mangalore Electricity Supply Company Limited (MESCOM), Hubli Electricity Supply Company Limited (HESCOM), Gulbarga Electricity Supply Company Limited (GESCOM) and the lastly formed Chamundeshwari Electricity Supply Corporation Limited (CHESCOM). These ESCOMs have been performing well a decade ago with imparting training to all staff especially for the reduction of loss and Power Theft, with the assistance of REC Institute of Power Management and Training (RECIPMT) Hyderabad. Incidentally, Karnataka (then the state of Mysore) happens to be the first state in Asia to commission a hydroelectric station at Sivasamudram, along with the HV transmission line (35 kV, 140 Km) between Sivasamudram and Kolar goldfields. (KGF) As the losses and Power theft of these distribution companies in Karnataka has not fallen to a single digit, they can now boast of the historical achievement only. Presently these DISCOMs are crippled by Power theft and loss at one side and the skyrocketing arrears from Government on another side, pushing the utilities to liquidation.

The Ministry of Power, Government of India has directed Banks to conduct prudent checks while allowing financial assistance to Discoms and directed them to follow the guidelines of Power Finance Corporation Ltd and Rural Electrification Corporation Limited. As of June 2021, the dues to Discoms on account of subsidy is 718.65 Billion INR(10 Billion USD)and Government arrears of 520 Billion Indian Rupees. (7 Billion USD)The Public Sector Discoms In India is functioning with one hand tied behind their back as far as realisation of electricity charges from Government Departments are concerned as they never become successful in either collecting regular electricity charges or the accumulated dues and subsidies. The Government of India and German Development Bank(KfW), the German state-owned investment and development bank, based in Frankfurt has agreed to extend assistance amounting to 140 Million Euro as a soft loan and 2 Million Euro as a grant for the development and reforms programs in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. Installation of Smart Meter, Automated Metering Infrastructure (AMI), and segregation of agricultural feeders are major components of this program.

Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) which operates in the Damodar River area of the Indian States of West Bengal and Jharkhand. and Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam (SJVNL) has entered into an agreement to develop floating solar Power Projects. Identification of suitable water bodies for floating solar projects and land in the command area of both DVC and SJVNL is included in the initial phase, in line with the RE policy of the Government Of India. The NTPC Renewable Energy Ltd has invited tender for solar projects having a capacity of 325 MW in Balance of system( BOS) package route. BOS refers to all components of a Photo Voltaic system other than the modules, and all design engineering, construction, distribution, packing, Installation, Testing and Commissioning etc are covered in this work. The successful bidder can design the module mounting structure, interconnection of modules etc. The scope of work includes module cleaning system and hardware, SCADA software etc.

The Government of Nepal has expressed interest in joint venture hydroelectric projects with NHPC Ltd which has plans to develop 27GW hydroelectric projects in nine states of India, ie., Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Odissa, Rajasthan, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh. The present installed capacity of NHPC projects is about 6000MW with 9000-10000MW projects in the pipeline.

NTPC Ltd has developed a stand-alone fuel cell-based Microgrid system in Simhadri in Andhra Pradesh using electrolyser. This is the first green hydrogen storage project in India and a major project globally. Drawing input power from a nearby floating solar project, a nascent 240KW solid oxide electrolyser will develop hydrogen during the daytime and store it at high pressure. The 50 KW solid oxide fuel cell functions from 5 PM to 7 AM using the standalone system.
In short, the month of November 2021 has witnessed a technical jump in the Indian Power Sector where both public-private participants are actively involved in all domains of the power sector at different levels at different parts of the country, as the Power sector in India is a concurrent subject with definite roles of central Government and the state. The policy of these Governments need not go in tandem in all states and hence the sector has uneven growth records in the country.

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