Skip to main content

Why power transmission lines need review as India 'moving over' to renewable energy

By Shankar Sharma* 

A news item, “Suspected Chinese hackers collect intelligence from India’s power grid”, throws up serious concerns with regard to the security of the safe and reliable operation of the integrated national power grid in the country.
Few months ago, whereas it was reported in the media that a power disruption in Mumbai for many hours in a stretch was probably due to such hacking by some external agencies, there has been no such confirmation from the concerned authorities. The silence in this regard by the concerned authorities is understandable, keeping in view the sensitivity of the issue.
However, in view of the obsession of our authorities to increase the coverage and complexity of the integrated national power grid (with ever increasing of additions of transmission lines, power plants, individual as well as large size loads such as railway traction, sensitive generators such as nuclear power reactors, radially connected renewable energy power parks, voltage control devices, energy storage facilities etc.), the enormity of a scenario where even few states of the Union can face power disruption, for whatever reasons, for few hours during the day time should not be ignored/ underestimated.
There can be many contributing factors for such a power disruption scenario in addition to possibility of disruptive hacking by external agencies, as mentioned in the above article.
Whatever may be the causative factor, the deleterious impacts on our economy and welfare of our communities due to such prolonged power outages can be massive, as reported on two power blackouts in the North and Eastern parts of the country on July 31 and August 1, 2012, and more recently in Texas’s electric grid in US (February 2021) which affected millions of people for 2-3 days, and lead to the largest forced power outage in US history.
With the ever increasing reliance on electricity for our energy needs, the potential for major disruption to our way of life because of the increased complexity in the integrated national power grid must not be ignored in the overall context of true welfare of our communities.
Whereas, it may be impossible to completely eliminate such power disruptions at the State /regional levels despite implementing the latest technological features, there are ways and means to minimise such risks, and prevent the spread of such forced outage across states/ regions.
In this larger context, and in view of the fact that there are enormous societal costs associated with conventional technology based vast integrated grids, there is an imperative to diligently review the very need for such large size and hugely complex integrated national grid network for a fast-emerging scenario, wherein there is a high probability of a very large number of small size renewable energy sources, such as rooftop SPV systems, connected to distribution networks.
In view of the fact that distributed kinds of renewable energy sources will become a major part of the power system in the near future, and that large size conventional technology power sources such as coal, gas and nuclear power plants will almost be completely eliminated in the next 2-3 decades, the very need for so many power transmission lines at 66, 110, 220, 400, 765 kV, and the HVDC lines should come under serious review.
Keeping in view the credible scenario that by 2040-50, the country is likely to have most of its electricity sources in the form of renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power generators, it is techno-economically credible to forecast a electricity demand/ supply arrangement as below:
  • Increased focus to achieve a reduced reliance on the integrated grid quality power, and strengthen the relevance of micro / smart grids powered by distributed renewable energy sources (REs), energy storage battery systems, and suitably designed protection and communication systems.
  • Increased reliance on distributed kinds of renewable energy sources (RES): solar, wind, bio-mass, and energy storage facilities, which will not need high voltage lines or complex integrated grids.
  • Focus on the concept of a federation of micro/ smart grids at the regional / national level connected to each other through distribution level voltage lines or very few high voltage transmission lines.
It has become imperative to urgently initiate a national level discussion on all the associated issues so as to arrive at an early consensus on the kind of electricity demand/ supply arrangement, which will be most suitable for the country.

A discussion paper in this context can provide more points for rational discussions.
---
*Power & Climate Policy Analyst

Comments

TRENDING

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Examples of support to Hindu temples, scriptures, saints by 'Muslim' rulers galore

Siya Ram coin issued by Akbar By Bharat Dogra* At a time when the country as well as the world are passing through very difficult times leading to more urgent need for strengthening national unity for meeting several big challenges ahead, unfortunately disputes relating to religious places have been allowed to raise their ugly head once again. It is well-realized by now by many people that it is not historical facts but narrow considerations of political gain and spreading of fanatic ideas of intolerance which are behind such mischief, but due to the increasing threat of mob violence and patronage available at higher levels to groups spreading intolerance many people are reluctant to openly and fearlessly express their views. Hence there is urgent need for broad-based peace committees with wider social support to spread the message of communal harmony and to appeal against the dangers of spreading false messages regarding places of worship which can ultimate

This varsity succumbed to extra-academic mobocracy, 'ignored' Hindutva archives

By Shamsul Islam* Open letter to Sharda University vice-chancellor Sub: Discarding a Question on Linkages of Hindutva with Nazism/Fascism is blatant Academic Dishonesty! Dear Professor Sibaram Khara Saheb, Namaskaar! According to your esteemed University’s portal: “The name of University, 'Sharda' is synonymous to 'Goddess of knowledge and learning-Saraswati'. She is identified with 'veena', an Indian musical instrument and the ‘lotus’, where she resides. The lotus in our logo symbolizes the seat of learning that the University is created for.  "Variety of colours signify the variety of disciplines the university offers and the overlap between petals creating new colours demonstrate the ethos of collaboration between students and teachers of different programme, nationality, creed and colour working towards creating new knowledge…the University's cherished mission to provide education beyond boundaries and to facilitate the students and faculty to achie

Whither climate goal? Increasing reliance on coal 'likely to worsen' India's power crisis

By Shankar Sharma*  Recent news articles, How to shock-proof India’s power sector and Power minister points finger at states for worsening electricity crisis , have highlighted a few current problems for the ongoing power sector issues as in April 2022. However, there is a lot more to it than a few temporary solutions as indicated in the articles. It should also be emphasised that it is techno-economically impossible to completely shock-proof a highly complex and geographically wide-spread vast power network, such as the one in India, which is only getting more and more complex with the passage of each year due to some irrational policies/ practices in the sector. A business-as-usual (BAU) scenario, wherein more and more of conventional technology power plants, including coal power plants, will be added in the near future, will also necessitate the increased complexity in the integrated national grid, and as a result the instances of power shortage/ disruptions can only escalate for

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Dalit scholar's comment on Lord Shiva 'harming' Muslims, 'damaging' secular cause

Shahid Siddiqui, Bobby Naqvi By Our Representative   Bobby Naqvi, who is with the "Gulf News", and is a well-known name among Muslim intellectuals, strongly objecting to the social media post of Prof Ratan Lal, has said that "a big reason for majoritarian hatred against Muslims is irresponsible remarks by people like Prof Ratan Lal of Delhi University." In a Facebook comment , which has attracted paise, among others, from journaliat-politician Shahid Siddiqui, Naqvi said, "Their commentary on Hinduism and icons of Hinduism (while angering religious and liberal Hindus alike) also triggers a massive backlash against Muslims. When the likes of Prof Lal criticize Hinduism on social media, Hindus bring Islam and Islamic practices and ask 'what about this' or 'what about that'." Naqvi insists, "Muslims (without their fault) and Islam get caught in this crossfire between the so called Hindu liberal class and the religious Hindus. And the ult

Why there's strong likelihood India may resurrect its presence in Afghan capital

By Anand K Sahay* Since India evacuated its mission in Afghanistan once the Taliban re-took Kabul last August practically under American aegis, following what came to be called the Taliban’s Doha “negotiations” with the US, New Delhi is evidently doing a re-think. It is considered likely that an Indian representation will soon be restored in Kabul, even if this will be small and not at the level of ambassador. This is reflective of realistic thinking. Of course, there can be no question at present of according recognition to the Taliban regime. That is likely to happen when a broad consensus amongst the leading powers emerges. Currently the Taliban government is not helping its own cause of gaining world recognition- which will help it access overseas funds at a time when the country is in dire straits- by imposing severe restrictions on women and girls in serious violation of human rights. More basic is the issue that the Taliban regime is not considered r

Message to 'high caste' attackers? Dalit leader's daughter rides elephant in wedding march

By Our Representative  In what has been termed as “jumbo celebration”, a Gujarat Dalit rights leader belonging to Saurashtra region ensured that his daughter rides an elephant as part of wedding celebrations which took place in Vadhwan town of Surendranagar district. Natubhai Parmar, who shot into prominence for organising a unique protest against the notorious Una flogging incident in 2016, in which five Dalit boys were flogged as they allegedly slaughtered a cow. Belonging to the Rohit community, whose traditionally live by skinning dead cows, in 2016, Parmar reached Surendranagar district collector’s office with vehicles full of carcasses of cows asking him to organise them disposal of, declaring, his community had decided not to continue with the caste occupation, as it had been termed cow slaughter by saffron vigilantes. The decision to make his daughter ride the elephant, which he brought to Ahmedabad, was to send a message to members of the dominant castes, whose aggressive atta

Govt of India 'ignores' GMO regulation, 'overlooks' Constitutional process

Counterview Desk Dr Narasimha Reddy Donthi, independent public policy expert, in a letter to Nareshpal Gangwar, additional secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), New Delhi, has expressed “seriously concern” that a recent office memorandum (OM) has sought to exempt certain types of gene-edited plants from the country's genetically modified organism  (GMO) regulations, without any reason or basis or representation. Dr Reddy regretted, “Such a serious decision, with an impact scale of unimaginable proportions, in terms of time and ecology, is being pushed through an ordinary office memorandum”, insisting, “This is circumvention of the processes enshrined in Indian Constitution, which has defined democratic participation in matters of critical importance.” Stating that the exemption from regulation is a policy decision and has legal implications, he demanded immediate withdrawal the OM, insisting, the government should take a "strong stand again

Govt of India 'compromising' on mandate to regulate gene technologies, protect nature

Counterview Desk  In a letter sent to the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) and other related ministries and departments, the Coalition for a GM-Free India has raised "serious concern" over the guidelines notified for Genome Edited Organisms, in which major exemptions from regulations have been offered to certain categories of Genome Edited Organisms/Plants and products. A letter signed by Sridhar Radhakrishnan and Kapil Shah, co-convenors of the NGO network, addressed to Union Minister for Environment, Forest & Climate Change Bhupender Yadav, said, the Office Memorandum, dated May 17, 2022 of the Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science & Technology about Safety Assessment Guidelines, which follows the Office Memorandum dated March 30, 2022 of the MoEFCC, said, the move "essentially amounts to entry of risky GMOs through the backdoor. Text : Coalition for a  GM-Free India is a national volunteer-driven platform of hundre