746 MW of Solar, 3.4 GW of Wind Installations in the Way of Cyclone Nisarga in Maharashtra

The Maharashtra State Electricity Transmission Corporation Limited (MAHATRANSCO) has issued an advisory for power generators and distribution licensees in the state because of the cyclone Nisarga, which is bound to hit the western coast of India.

The Indian Meteorological Department issued a yellow message warning on June 01, 2020, for a cyclonic storm over the east and central Arabian sea, which is likely to hit north Maharashtra and south Gujarat on June 03, 2020, and June 04, 2020.

The contingency plan states that renewable energy generation is likely to be affected by the cyclone Nisarga. As a result of the storm, the intermittency of solar generation is likely to be high due to the cloud movement. The wind speed is also likely to be high because of the cyclone, which is going to affect the wind power generation in districts like Sindhudurg, Pune, Nashik, Dhule, and Ahmednagar.

Wind speed reaching 105-115 km/hour is expected to develop over east-central and the adjoining northeast Arabian sea, along and off the Maharashtra coast in the next 48 hours.

The generation of wind power will stop in areas where the wind speed crosses 25m/sec (90km/hour). The total installed wind capacity that lies in the predicted path of Nisarga cyclone is 3.4 GW. On the other hand, 746 MW of installed solar capacity lies in the path of the cyclone.

For renewable energy generators, wind and solar power generating stations should provide reactive support to control voltage at the respective pooling stations within their capability. The developers should be alerted to ensure the availability of telemetry to the Maharashtra State Load Despatch Center (MSLDC). Renewable energy generation will be curtailed on instructions of MSLDC in case of a threat to the grid security due to high-frequency consequent to large load throw off. Schedules should be carefully submitted by all the qualified coordinating agencies (QCAs), considering the impact of the cyclone.

According to the advisory, the cyclone is likely to have an impact on the transmission and distribution infrastructure and may result in tripping and breakdown. The planned shutdowns in North Maharashtra and Mumbai Metropolitan Region will be avoided on June 03, 2020, and June 04, 2020. The system restoration procedure will be kept readily accessible at power stations and substations.

According to the advisory, the transmission infrastructure is going to suffer because of the cyclone. High voltage is likely to be experienced after the demand crash.

The power demand in Maharashtra is likely to reduce due to the cyclone. Load Management Cell, the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL), PSCC Tata Power & BCC Transmission, should monitor the demand and drawl pattern during the cyclone. Distribution licensees should explore the real-time market to maintain interchange as close to schedule as possible to control deviations from schedule. Suitable advisory to ensure the adequacy of back-up power supply in the areas under predicted cyclone path will be issued to establishments serving critical load such as hospitals and district headquarters, among others.

In May last year, the Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (PGCIL) under the Ministry of Power had to work hard to restore power supply in Odisha after the cyclone ravaged the state. Fani caused massive damage to power supply infrastructure, particularly in coastal Odisha, uprooting lakhs of electric poles, transformers, and by crumpling of towers.

Earlier, Mercom had reported how during this time of crisis, solar-powered water pumps came to the rescue of people stuck amid water scarcity and no power supply.

Last July, the onslaught of monsoon and severe weather caused significant damage to a 250 MW solar PV project in Madhya Pradesh. Heavy rainfall and lightning accompanied by storm with wind speed nearing 10.44 m/sec and 20.26m/sec was recorded on the night of July 5, 2019. Speaking to Mercom, an engineer working at Rewa Ultra Mega Solar Limited had said that heavy rains had triggered a mudslide, due to which the damage was caused to unit III of the solar park.