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Alstom bets big on Indian high voltage transmission market

V. Sridhar
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Global power equipment manufacturer Alstom expects the Indian high-voltage transmission market to be worth euro 2 billion by 2018.

Addressing an international media contingent in Birmingham, Patrick Plas, Senior Vice-President (Power Electronics and Automation), Alstom, justified the company’s investments in high voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission technologies, saying that the company expected the global market for this mode of power transmission to reach euro 50 billion in ten years. “We expect our share to be 20 per cent of this market,” Mr. Plas told The Hindu .

The French multinational, which conducted a two-day tour for journalists of its HVDC facilities in and around Stafford, said the market in China was likely to account for more than one-fifth of the global market for HVDC transmission, which, it claimed, was a “cost effective and flexible” alternative to the traditional alternating current (AC) technology.

Mr. Plas told The Hindu that work on the 1,365-km Champa (Chattisgarh) to Kurukshetra (Haryana) 800 kV-3,000 MW HVDC transmission line, which was being executed by Alstom on behalf of Power Grid Corporation of Ltd. (PGCIL), was progressing well. “We are currently discussing the second phase of the project with the PGCIL,” Mr. Plas told this correspondent. “The details of the second phase of the project are unclear at the moment because although PGCIL has decided that Champa will be one terminal of the line.” Mr. Plas argued that although the initial investment in an HVDC project was high, it offered significant cost advantages in the transportation of bulk power over long distances because of significantly lower transmission losses. “Moreover, HVDC is a flexible option, especially because it enables the switching of the direction of transmission depending on where demand is,” he pointed out. In Europe, for instance, where the share of electricity from renewable sources was rising, the nature of the supply could shift dramatically depending on the climatic conditions, he said. “HVDC offers compelling advantages in these kinds of situations,” he remarked.

Outlining the evolution of HVDC technology, Claes Scheibe, Vice-President (Strategy, Innovation and Development) at Alstom Grid, said the rapid diffusion of power electronics in the last decade had resulted in DC transmission technologies started making “a comeback.”

Gregoire Poux-Guillaume, President, Alstom Grid, the wing of the company that offers grid solutions, said although the Indian market had “slackened significantly” in the recent times, mainly because of the “problem of land acquisition for projects,” he was hopeful that these would be sorted out soon.

According to a company source, Alstom has now a market share of about 11 per cent of the HVDC market, in which Siemens and ABB are its other main rivals.

(The correspondent was in the U.K. at the invitation of the company)

The HVDC technology offers significant cost advantages in transportation of bulk power over

long distances

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