June 2021

The power transmission segment in India has seen substantial growth in the past few years owing to increasing power demand as well as generation capacity addition. The transmission line length has grown at a CAGR of over 6 per cent and the alternating current substation capacity has grown at over 10 per cent between 2013-14 and 2020-21.

As of March 2021, the total transmission line length (at 220 kV and above) stood at 441,821 ckt. km, AC substation capacity at 1,025,468 MVA, and HVDC substation capacity at 29,500 MW. Further, the interregional transfer capacity has more than trebled, from 33,950 MW in March 2014 to 105,050 in March 2021, recording a CAGR of 17.5 per cent.

Although Powergrid continues to dominate the country’s transmission sector, private participation has increased in recent years with the award of projects through tariff-based competitive bidding. Notably, Powergrid also recently commissioned Monopole I of the ±320 kV, 2,000 MW Pugalur (Tamil Nadu)-Thrissur (Kerala) VSC-based HVDC system, thereby bringing VSC technology to India for the first time.

The ongoing energy transition towards renewables is powering a new phase of growth in the segment, as transmission infrastructure will be required to evacuate the large-scale renewable energy capacity being developed. The central government has set an ambitious target of 175 GW of renewable energy by 2022 and 450 GW by 2030, and transmission projects are being implemented under the green energy corridors and renewable energy zones to support this development. The state power utilities will also need to modernise and upgrade their power systems with advanced technologies. Meanwhile, the upcoming cross-border interconnections in the South Asian region and the proposed “One Sun, One World, One Grid” initiative are likely to spur further growth in transmission infrastructure.

These initiatives will lead to a significant uptick in demand for towers, cables, conductors, transformers, substations, switchgear, reactive power equipment, etc., as well as provide opportunities to developers, equipment manufacturers and EPC players. The National Infrastructure Pipeline estimates a capital investment of

Rs 3,040 billion in transmission till 2025, a major part of which will be spent on the augmentation of transmission infrastructure.

Power Line’s Infocus section this month takes a closer look at the growth and outlook for the transmission infrastructure segment and its various subsegments.

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