One Nation, One Grid will ensure availability of power to states at ‘affordable’ rates. Discuss how it aims to achieve this objective.(250 words)

Mentor’s Comment

  1. Give a brief intro about  One Nation, One Grid.
  2. Suggest challenges with current infrastructure.
  3. Show how it aims to handle those challenges and provide electricity at affordable rates.
  4. Conclude citing other initiatives in power sectors.

 

Answer:
In a move to improve India’s connectivity infrastructure, the government in its second term plans to build a model of ‘One Nation, One Grid’ to ensure availability of power to states at ‘affordable’ rates. FM in her budget speech made available a blueprint for developing gas grids, water grids, i-ways, and regional airports. With 100 per cent electrification target being achieved, the government’s focus is now to provide consistent electricity at affordable rates.

Challenges with current transmission infrastructure:
Around 25 per cent of the generated power is lost in transmission in India.
This is very high when compared to a maximum of 5 % to other Asian giants like China and South Korea. The primary reason behind this is mainly due to lack of proper infrastructure.
And, India has one of the highest levels of electricity transmission and distribution (T&D) losses in the entire world.
T and D loss represents the electricity which is generated but hasn’t reached the intended customers.
India’s T and D losses are more than twice the world average and nearly three times as large as T and D losses in the United States and other Western Countries.
Though, technical losses occur due to poor and inefficient quality of high tension wires and equipment, the rest of the losses are due to theft.
This is due to bypassing or tampering with the electric meter or some time bribing the electricity billing personnel.
In renewables, curtailment risk arises due to unavailability of transmission infrastructure, grid congestion, and grid instability.

How One Nation One Grid aims to handle those challenges and provide electricity at affordable rates
It is the high-voltage electric power transmission network in mainland India, connecting power stations and major substations and ensuring that electricity generated anywhere in mainland India can be used to satisfy demand elsewhere.
With ON-OG there will be better availability resulting in lesser power cuts.
Also there will be more stability in power.
Synchronization of all regional grids will help in optimal utilization of scarce natural resources by transfer of Power from Resource centric regions to Load centric regions.
Further, this shall pave way for establishment of vibrant Electricity market facilitating trading of power across regions. The Indian power system is currently divided into five regional grids.
One Nation One Grid shall synchronously connect all the regional grids and there will be one national frequency.
People everywhere should be able to find out if power is available through the mobile application “Vidyut Pravah”. This mobile application also gives the rates at which power is available on the grid.

Challenges and Way Forward:
There is a large disparity in traded short-term electricity prices between the south and the other regions due to the absence of transmission links. During the summer, for instance, traded electricity prices in the South are typically twice or even thrice the levels that prevail in the other regions.
Hopefully, such disparities will now be a thing of the past.
The responsibilities of the regulators and grid managers are now that much higher with the entire country united in a single grid.
Lapses such as those that caused the western and northern grids to collapse on two consecutive days in 2012 can lead to disastrous consequences in a unified grid.
The regulators also need to keep an eye out on power exchanges and traders as their market expands with the entry of the southern grid and its eternally power-starved utilities.
If integrating the country into a single grid was a challenge, then that will be rivalled by the task of efficiently managing it.
Rationalization of subsidies
Control power thefts so that price recovery is improved
Modernization of equipment & transmission lines to enhance grid connectivity to NE also.
Balancing environment with power generation.
Enhancing the capacity of CIL by technological intervention and railway wagon increase.
Feeder separation e.g. Gram Jyoti in Gujarat; Deen Dayal Upadhyay Gram Jyoti Yojana
Promotion of New & Renewable energy sources through compulsory RPO scheme to incentivize green energy units.

The Central Electricity Authority estimates investment requirement of about `2.7 lakh crore to commission 1.1 lakh ckm of new transmission lines to cater to annual peak load demand of 225.7 GW by FY22-end. The necessity for new power transmission infrastructure is becoming crucial to support upcoming renewable generation capacities and make the system more flexible to accommodate the evolving trends in power consumption.

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