The Government of India has been working for a while now to expedite the implementation of transmission infrastructure for the evacuation of power from renewable energy projects.
To accelerate the implementation of interstate transmission programs for the evacuation of renewable energy, the bidding process and the process for the grant of regulatory approvals are being done simultaneously.
“A ‘Working Group’ for the expeditious implementation of renewable energy generation and associated transmission system has also been constituted by the government,” Minister of Power, R.K. Singh, said in the Lok Sabha.
Singh informed the House that a comprehensive transmission program had been planned for integrating the identified renewable energy zones of 66.5 GW, which will be implemented in two phases. About 28 GW of renewable energy projects are planned under Phase-I (up to December 2020), and the balance 38.5 GW will fall under Phase-II (December 2021).
If the Green Energy Corridor progresses as mentioned by the minister, it will provide a boost to the renewable energy sector, which has been plagued by transmission issues. The lack of transmission capacity has been a growing concern for solar, and wind companies and Mercom has reported on this issue previously. With a plethora of mega solar tenders announced in the solar sector, including the interstate transmission system (ISTS)-connected projects, the evacuation infrastructure availability has become one of the biggest challenges.
While the generation is catching up, especially with the growth in solar and wind, the adequate transmission has been a persistent challenge, leading to grid congestion and curtailment, according to Mercom Solar Market Updates.
According to Singh, the government has asked the central transmission utility to expedite the compliance of the regulations passed by the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC).
The process of bidding for the transmission system associated with 12.4 GW of renewable projects are currently underway and are expected to be completed by September 2019. Singh also said that the transmission system related to these renewable projects are being bid out with the scheduled date of completion likely to be December 2020.
Answering a question regarding the progress of Green Energy Corridor Project, Singh informed that overall, 2,168.20 circuit km (ckm) of intrastate transmission had been laid under the Green Energy Corridor which supports 4,757 MVA of substations, along with 2,467 ckm of interstate transmission laid out to support 13,000 MVA of substations. So far, 10,261 MW of renewable energy capacity has been added to the Green Energy Corridor, Singh added.
Singh also informed the members that so far, 140 programs have been approved for Power System Development Fund (PSDF) funding with a sanctioned grant of ₹112.82 billion (~$1.65 billion).
“Transmission projects are notorious for delays as land approvals with various stakeholders can take years. So far, transmission buildout has lagged renewable energy installations and unless it catches up quickly many solar and wind projects will be stranded,” said Raj Prabhu, CEO of Mercom Capital Group.
Image credit: Bajaj Electricals
Saumy is a senior staff reporter with MercomIndia.com covering business and energy news since 2016. Prior to Mercom, Saumy was a copy editor at Thomson Reuters. Saumy earned his Bachelors Degree in Journalism & Mass Communication from the Manipal Institute of Communication at Manipal University. More articles from Saumy Prateek.