Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Indian Power Sector Scene

Nuclear Power back in favour:

While nuclear power accounts for only 3% of the total generation in India, it accounts for as much as 75% in France. Though in absolute quantitative terms, it is the US which still holds the number one slot with about 830.1 bln units produced from this source. India produces a mere 16.7 bn units from this source.

Only about 30 countries have nuclear power stations, which can generate electricity.

Nuclear generation does not suffer from the problems of greenhouse gas emissions and fly ash accumulation associated with coal based thermal stations. About 35 tonnes of fly ash gets generated per 100 tons of coal consumed.

Nuclear plants are very costly. For a typical thermal plant the cost works out to Rs. 4 to 4.5 cr per MW while it is about Rs. 6 to 6.5 cr per MW for a nuclear plant.

The life of a nuclear plant is about 35 years in comparison to that of 25 years for a thermal plant.

Cost of fuel for nuclear plants is less than Rs. 0.5 per unit as against about Re. 1 for coal based plants. For gas based thermal plants it is about Rs. 1.5 per unit (based on a gas price of about $4 per mmbtu – million metric british thermal units).

One tonne of nautral uranium can produce more than 40 mln units of electricity. This is equivalent to bruning 16,000 tons of coal, 100 mln cubic meters of gas or 80,000 barrels of oil. A typical 1,000 MW power plant would require about 40 lk tonnes of coal per year.

As per estimates, India’s uranium reserves are enough to support only 10,000 MW of capacity.

Power theft solutions:

Around 30 to 50% of the power generated in India is lost during distribution totalling to 30,000 MW and amounting to about Rs. 30,000 cr.

KLG Systel, an IT company has come out with a solution for power theft. The solution called Vidushi, incorporates a remote controller and communication hardware using GPRS/CDMA, theft prevention hardware, and automated meter reading to prevent distribution losses.

India has about 13 cr (as at March 2004) consumers of distribution electricity, growing at about 9% annually.

Need for an effective Transmission System:

With the commissioning of the Tala transmission system, the Northern and Eastern regional grids have been connected. This brings more than 70% of the total installed capacity to the same frequency level. It is important to note that the ideal frequency at which electricity needs to be supplied is 50 Hz. It is important to maintain this frequency of supply, as drastic deviations in the frequency will cause the grid to collapse. Hence the aim of all the regional grids to maintain their frequencies at 50 Hz. If all the regional grids are interconnected, we can be sure of getting electricity at more or less the same frequency througout the country.

The transmission line in India has expanded from 3,708 ckm (circuit kilometers) to 2,65,000 ckm. It is expected to touch 3,50,000 ckm by 2012.

Inter regional power flows account for only about 2 to 3% of the total power produced in the country. As against this, the global norm is about 10 to 15% transfer. We are expected to reach this scenario by 2012.

Orissa and West Bengal are power rich. They pump about 800 to 1000 MW of extra power into the northern grid.

New Technology in Generation:

Super critical thermal power stations.

The super critical technology is based on the property of water. At a pressure of 225 bar (unit of pressure) in a boiler, water transforms into steam instantaneously. This super heated steam is fed to turbine to generate power. This process differs from the conventional one, in which steam and moisture co-exist as a mixture in the boiler.

While the maximum size of a conventional thermal plant is 500 MW, super critical equipment comes in the range of 660 MW to 800 MW and can go up to 1,000 MW. Further, these plants require much lesser time for start-up or shut-down, unlike conventional plants.

Most plants based on this technology are based in Japan and Europe.

Conventional plants have thermal efficiency (energy produced per unit of energy input) in the range of 30-35% only, with most Indian plants operating in 30-32% range. The efficiency of power plants using super-critical technology can go up to 45%. As per estimates a 1% increase in efficiency reduces emissions by upto 2%.


Ramakrishna said...

Some more additional information:
Only 18% of the rural villages have been completely electrified.

Out of an estimated 5,86,000 villages, only 1,40,000 to 1,50,000 are yet to be electrified.

Out of the total 1.38 cr households, only 6.01 lakh or 43.5% are electrified. That is 7.8 lakh or 56.5% are yet to be electrified.

RGGVY (Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana scheme envisages electricity provision to all villages by 2009.

J.Balasubrahmanyam said...



Private Sector will have large role in capacity addition. But there are many risks that they encounter, the foremost of them being evacuation of the generation.

Electricity Act 2003 mandates that the CTU shall provide non-discriminatory open access to its transmission system for use by any licensee or generating company on payment of the transmission charges.

At present the Power Grid Corporation of India has been designated by the concerned authorities (under the Act) as the Central Transmission Unit (CTU)

When Private Power Generators approach the CTU for providing them with Open Access to the transmission system for evacuation of power from their proposed power plants, the former is asking the generator to identify the Licensee and the point of drawal.

For the Private Generator obtaining commitment of open access of transmission facility is a pre-requisite for Financial Closure. This is a requirement that forms the corner stone and forms an activity the kick starts the project schedule. Identification of power purchasers as also the points of drawal of power cannot be finalised at that stage for the reasons given below:

The Government of India had issued on 6th Jan., 2006 Tariff Policy that states "All future requirement of power should be procured competitively by distribution licensees"

This Order "forbids" the distribution licensees from even considering entertaining any proposal from private generators about extending a commitment to purchase power from such generators.

This has become a "Catch 22" type situation.

The Authorities who are keen to see that Private Generators to come forward to supplement the efforts of the Government agencies to add to the installed generating capacity during the Eleventh Plan (2007-2012) should look into this anomaly and correct the same.

PGCIL is a commercial entity and is concerned on the financial viability of their investments and would not be able to take risks while investing.

It should be the responsibility of the Planning Commission of India to provide for necessary and adequate funds as part of the Plan funding to cater to the augmentation of transmission elements to meet the Power Evacuation requirements of the Private Generators. The entire funding can be routed through Central Electricity Authority and the implementation agency could be PGCIL.

Samadhan Agrotech said...

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