Thirty per cent of transmission line projects are delayed due to issues related to right of way, clearances, start-up challenges and geo-technical surprises. This adversely impacts the economics of EPC contracts. With the introduction of reverse auctions in tariff-based bids, there is bound to be a further margin pressure on EPC contractors. It will be interesting to see how the industry responds to this in the times to come,” says Rajeev Dalela, president, Kalpataru Power Transmission Limited (KPTL).
Dalela has over 30 years of experience in EPC project execution, contract management and business development. After completing his MBA from IMT Ghaziabad, he joined EMC Limited in Kolkata as a management trainee. He later moved to KEC International, where he spent almost 17 years in various divisions before joining KPTL in June 2015. In his current role, he manages the entire value chain of EPC projects in power transmission for India and the SAARC regions.
According to Dalela, the power transmission industry is expected to see significant growth during the next Plan period. “More than 100,000 ckt. km of line length will be added, of which 70 per cent will be at the 400 kV and above voltage level. The only perceptible shift is that a significant portion of intra-state projects would be offered through competitive bidding. Of the Rs 2.6 trillion investment planned in transmission, Rs 1.6 trillion is expected to be spent on the development and upgradation of intra-state transmission projects while Rs 1 trillion would be invested in the interstate transmission systems.”
These trends are expected to create major market opportunities for private equipment players. “Most EPC contractors who were catering primarily to projects of the central transmission utility have shifted their focus to state transcos. Their order books have started reflecting the changes in the portfolio mix.” Renewables will be another area of focus, which will drive major investments in transmission infrastructure. “The gestation period of a wind or solar power plant is just 6-15 months, much lower than that of hydro and thermal plants, thereby necessitating fast-track creation of evacuation infrastructure and grid connectivity.”
Dalela is a firm believer in karma, hard work and commitment. The life and works of Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela have had a deep impact on him. He loves listening to music, reading books and travelling. His family includes his wife Pratibha and their two sons.