The Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (PGCIL) has come up with a detailed proposal for establishing a transmission system for the evacuation of power from potential solar and wind energy zones in the country’s western region.

PGCIL has announced the details of the program, including the justification, estimated cost, tariff impact, results of the system studies, and study assumptions. They have requested stakeholder feedback on their program by June 7, 2019.

The government has set a target to establish 175 GW of renewable capacity by 2022, which includes 100 GW from solar and 60 GW from wind installations. The transmission infrastructure has been identified as one of the major impediments to achieving renewable installation goals.

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) constituted a sub-committee last year to identify ISTS connectivity for renewable energy projects from potential solar energy zones (SEZs) and potential wind energy zones (WEZs) of about 50 GW and 16.5 GW respectively.

To bolster energy and transmission efficiency in the country, the MNRE and PGCIL started the Green Energy Corridor program to evacuate renewable energy from power surplus states to power deficit states. Under the program, the development of an intra-state transmission network is to be overseen by the MNRE, and the PGCIL will oversee the inter-state transmission network.

The proposal is to develop the transmission infrastructure in two phases. A total of 20 GW of solar and 9 GW of wind projects have been planned in Phase-I (up to December 2020), and 30 GW of solar and 7.5 GW of wind are planned for Phase-II (December 2021).

In the first meeting of the Western Region Standing Committee on Transmission (WRSCT) held on September 5, 2018, a number of transmission programs for the evacuation of power from potential solar and wind energy zones worth 10.5 GW (7.5 GW wind under Phase- I & II and 3 GW of solar under Phase-I) were agreed to.

The transmission system associated with renewable energy generation in Gujarat (Wind: Bhuj II 2,000 MW, Lakadia 2,000 MW, and Dwarka 1,500 MW solar: Lakadia 2,000 MW) and Maharashtra (wind: Osmanabad 2,000 MW and solar: Solapur 1,000 MW) was also agreed to.

The transmission system to evacuate 16.5 GW (7.5 GW of wind and 3 GW of solar, with an additional evacuation of about 6 GW of wind power from Bhuj and Bhachau) has been proposed by PGCIL. Connectivity has already been granted for 7,790 MW, and long-term access has been approved for 5,889.5 MW with 1,500 MW as firm capacity, per a statement by PGCIL.

According to PGCIL, the annual transmission charges will be about ₹9.59 billion ($136 million), while the transmission revenue is pegged at an estimated ₹56.4 billion ($799 million).

This transmission system will enable the transfer of about 10,500 MW of power from various renewable energy generation projects in potential wind and solar energy zones in Gujarat and Maharashtra. This would translate into annual energy of about 21,681 MUs per year (assuming a wind CUF of 25% and a solar CUF of 20%), PGCIL stated.

PGCIL recently won the bid to construct a 765 kV transmission project in India’s Eastern Region to develop the transmission network on a build, own, operate and maintain (BOOM) basis, in a tender floated by PFC subsidiary, PFC Consulting.

For better implementation of renewable energy projects, especially wind and solar, the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) wrote to PGCIL in August 2018 about the transmission of electricity through an Inter-State Transmission System. In its letter, SECI had provided PGCIL with tentative plans to tender capacities under its programs for solar and hybrid projects up to 2021. Read more about SECI’s plan here.

The CEA estimates that an expenditure of ₹2.69 trillion ($39 billion) would be required for a transmission system that would include transmission lines, substations, and reactive compensation, during the plan period of 2017-22.

Soumik is a staff reporter at Mercom India. Prior to joining Mercom, Soumik was a correspondent for UNI, New Delhi covering the Northeast region for seven years. He has also worked as an Asia Correspondent for Washington DC-based Hundred Reporters. He has contributed as a freelancer to several national and international digital publications with a focus on data-based investigative stories on environmental corruption, hydro power projects, energy transition and the circular economy. Soumik is an Economics graduate from Scottish Church College, Calcutta University.