Power Crisis in India

IntroductionIndia wants to be a power on the world stage, but back home it’s having power troubles of a more mundane variety. On july 30 and July 31, sweeping blackouts struck the country’s north and east, leaving an estimated 700 million people — nearly 10 percent of the world’s population — without electricity. Three grids have collapsed- north, northeastern, eastern When the grid collapses?

* The northern, western, north eastern, eastern are connected through AC transmission links and there is a free flow of power between these four regions. If there is no adequate redundancy in the system the tripping of one line can have an effect on the operation of the grid as a whole * Indian standards requiredgrid frequency to be maintained at 50hz * Fluctuation of frequency leads to grid collapse

Why the southern grid didn’t collapsed?* It is connected to rest of country through HVDC transmission links. It is not integrated with northern grid. The dc connection connecting the southern grid to rest of the country controls the flow of current from and to the southern region What actually caused the crisis?

* States over drawing-drought-load dispatch centers 5 one for each grid –under power grid corporation a psu with a mandate to building and managing national grid * Frequency normally ranges b/n 49-50- overload- power cuts from the state then frequency falls below 49 causing a grid collapse * Circuit breakers- to check overload-failed or tampered with All these boil down to deficient power sector, inefficient transmission and distribution networks, state owned utilities that are close to bankruptcy…… Power scarcity:

* Demand –supply gap-summer-deficient monsoon* Coal-60% of gen capacity- environmental clearance, land acquisition – grew at just 2.6 percent a year between 2001 and 2011 — compared with nearly 8 percent annual growth in electricity demand during the same period.

* plant load factor, a measure of capacity utilisation, was just 72 per cent in the first nine months of 2011-12 according to the Economic Survey — lower than the 75 per cent in the previous year. * With gas output from the KG Basin fields of Reliance Industries dropping by more than half in the last year, gas-based stations are also struggling for fuel leading to lower generation, sometimes even zero.

* Renewable energy, while seeing impressive growth rates, is still expensive and dependent on government support — and in any case, it will not be able to come anywhere near meeting the country’s burgeoning energy demand * While successive Five-Year Plans have set ambitious targets, addition to generation capacity has been woefully small. Just about half of the planned capacity additions were achieved in the 8th, 9th and 10th plan periods. The story of underperformance continued in the 11th Plan (2007-12) despite a scaling down of the target. In effect, capacity addition has been abysmal in the last 20 years. Inefficient transmission and distribution networks:

* a fourth of all power produced in the country is lost in transmission and distribution, mainly due to theft but also because of substandard equipment. These losses are among the highest experienced by any country. * India’s entire electricity supply chain, from natural resource production and distribution to electricity generation, transmission, and distribution, is plagued with problems * Bureaucratic red tape and logistical hurdles bedevil the process at every turn. State owned utilities:

* Crisil Research, the research arm of the ratings agency, has projected that the accumulated losses of all State utilities in 2011-12 will touch a record Rs.1.80 lakh crore, which is higher than the total income tax paid by citizens of this country last year! The net worth of these utilities will be a negative Rs.75,000 crore according to the agency, which means that banks will not touch them with even a bargepole. * Populist decisions to keep consumer tariffs at artificially low levels even as generation costs were rising has led to the current pass. Banks have been chary of lending to State utilities in the last year for fear of the loans turning into non-performing assets. How to tackle power crisis in future?

* A study carried out by the CSE in 2011 refutes this logic. The study states that in the past five years, the Ministry of Environment and Forests granted environmental clearance for projects to generate 210,000 MW of power while the total projection of power requirement in the 12th Five Year Plan is 100,000 MW of power. This clearly shows that the granting of environmental clearances is not blocking power projects. * shunglu committee appointed by planning commission on financial position of distribution utilities * large-scale privatisation and more deregulation in the power sector. * It is also important to look at the problem in terms of the limitations in non-renewable energy production and the future of energy security in a situation where the supply is primarily driven by non-renewable energy sources.