PGCIL begins project to integrate southern grid with rest of the country

The southern States, including Karnataka, which are reeling under severe power shortage, have something to cheer as Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd on Friday commenced a key project to link southern regional power grid with that of other regions in the country to help transmit excess power from other regions to the south.

The Rs. 2,000-crore project, which is the final step towards putting in place a “synchronous national grid” facilitating easy transmission of power across the country, is expected to be completed by December 2013 and become operational by January 2014. This would mean that the country would have a full-fledged national grid in place from January 2014 in tune with the popular slogan in power sector: “One nation, one grid and one frequency”.

Already, the rest of the regions of the country — Northern, Eastern, Western and North-Eastern (NEW grid) — have been integrated. The works launched on Friday would integrate the southern grid with the NEW grid.

This inter-State project envisages linking Raichur and Solapur besides Solapur and Pune through 750-kv transmission lines as part of the efforts to integrate the southern grid with the NEW grid. Union Minister for Power M. Veerappa Moily laid the foundation stone for the Raichur-Solapur power line on Friday in Raichur.

The project also involves setting up new substations in Raichur, Solapur and Pune besides upgrading various existing transmission lines.

The project is expected to be a boon for all the southern States, especially during the summer when the demand for power shoots up forcing the distribution companies to resort to load shedding.

The demand for power in different parts of the country varies in different weather seasons as the consumption and availability of power is also linked to weather patterns. As the weather pattern in the country is not uniform, the demand for power is also not uniform throughout the country. For example, when southern States will be reeling under severe power shortage during summer, States like Punjab will be having excess power as it is rainy season for them. Similarly, they face shortage of power when power supply will be comfortable in the southern States during monsoon.

Power experts feel that such a trend of weather not being uniform throughout the county is advantageous for the power sector as excess power from one region could be transmitted to those reeling under shortage. But the lack of proper interlinking of southern grid with the rest of the country has come in the way of such an easy transmission of power so far leading to outages in some parts of the country while other parts have excess power.

However, the completion of the above project would take care of such problems and help in optimal utilisation of resources throughout the country. This is also expected to provide a boost to the renewable energy producers in the southern States as they can now export any excess power to the northern grid.

Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar, Union Labour Minister M. Mallikarjun Kharge, Union Minister of State for power Venugopal, Energy Minister Shobha Karandlaje and her Puduchery counterpart Thyagarajan and Leader of the Opposition in theLegislative Council S.R. Patil were present.

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