Renewable Energy

MNRE’s plan to set up transmission lines for renewable power aimed at meeting NDCs

The plan also includes a Battery Energy Storage System of 51 GW to provide round-the-clock power to consumers

By Seema Prasad
Published: Sunday 11 December 2022
Union Minister RK Singh releasing the report December 7, 2022. Photo: @OfficeOfRKSingh / Twitter

The Centre recently launched a plan to integrate all renewable energy sites into the national grid through high-voltage transmission lines connected to the Inter-State Transmission System (ISTS).

The transmission system is aimed at meeting the targets of the updated Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC). The NDCs propose that 50 per cent of cumulative electric power installed capacity should come from non-fossil fuel-based energy resources by 2030.

The plan is part of a roadmap titled Transmission System for Integration of over 500 GW RE Capacity by 2030 released by an expert committee December 7, 2022.

The expert committee was constituted by the chairperson of the Central Electricity Authority, the managing director of Solar Energy Corporation of India, the chief managing director of Power Grid Corporation of India, and the chief operating officer of Central Transmission Utility, among others.

The system will include transmission lines of 50,890 circuit kilometres (ckm) and 433,575 mega volt-amp substation capacity. Ckm are defined as the route kilometres of revenue producing circuits in service.

The plan’s implementation will cost an estimated Rs 244,200 crore. Of this, the integration of 10 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind capacity will cost Rs 28,100 crore and the integration of other wind and solar capacity will cost Rs 216,100 crore.

India’s current installed electricity generating capacity is 409 GW. Of this, 173 GW is from renewable energy sources, equivalent to 42 per cent of the installed electricity generated capacity. 

Renewable energy has limited availability subject to the weather and time of day. Consequently, the plan also includes a Battery Energy Storage System of 51 GW to provide round-the-clock power for consumers.

The government said the present inter-regional transmission capacity is 112,250 megawatt (MW).

However, after adding more transmission lines and additional inter-regional transmission corridors under implementation, the cumulative inter-regional transmission capacity is likely to be about 150,000 MW in 2030.

Transmission centres have been planned after identifying locations for centres of generation, which are in Fatehgarh, Bhadla, and Bikaner in Rajasthan; Khavda in Gujarat and Anantapuramu, and Kurnool in Andhra Pradesh. Others include offshore sites in Tamil Nadu and Gujarat and a renewable energy park in Ladakh.

“For enabling the growth of renewable energy capacity, areas which have high solar and wind energy potential, need to be connected to ISTS, so that the power generated could be evacuated to the load centres,” the report authored by the CEA said.

The gestation period of wind and solar-based generation projects is much less than the gestation period of the associated transmission system, hence the transmission system has to be planned well in advance, it added.

“The planned additional transmission systems required for having 500 GW of non-fossil fuel include 8,120 ckm of High Voltage Direct Current Transmission corridors (+800 kilovolt and +350 kV), 25,960 ckm of 765 kV ac lines, 15,758 ckm of 400 kV lines and 1,052 ckm of 220 kV cable at an estimated cost of Rs 2.44 lakh crore,” a statement by the Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy read.

The planned transmission system projected will provide a visibility to the renewable energy developers about the potential generation sites and scale of investment opportunity.

It will also provide the transmission service providers the vision of growth opportunity available in the transmission sector along with investment opportunity of about Rs 2.44 lakh crore, the statement added.

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