India’s transmission network has been growing steadily over the past few years to support the transition to renewable energy. As of February 2023, the country’s transmission line length and AC substation capacity stood at 454,540 ckt. km and 1,061 GVA. During the five-year period 2017-18 to 2021-22, the transmission line length and transformation capacity grew at a CAGR of 4 per cent and 7 per cent respectively.
The Central Electricity Authority’s report on “Transmission System for Integration of over 500 GW RE Capacity by 2030” estimates a transmission line length and substation capacity addition of 50,890 ckt. km and 433,575 MVA respectively for the integration of additional wind and solar capacity by 2030. This would involve an estimated investment of Rs 2.4 trillion. Further, with the additional interregional transmission corridors under implementation/planned, the cumulative interregional transmission capacity is likely to be about 150,000 MW by 2030.
The government has been on the top of planning to provide the transmission system for upcoming renewable energy projects. The transmission system is being set up from potential renewable energy zones (such as the Leh renewable energy park in Ladakh; Fatehgarh, Bhadla and Bikaner in Rajasthan; the Khavda renewable energy park in Gujarat; the Anantapur, Kurnool Renewable Energy Zones in Andhra Pradesh; and offshore wind farms in Tamil Nadu and Gujarat) to prevent any curtailment of power from the upcoming projects on account of transmission constraints.
Further, as transmission utilities gear up for handling bidirectional flows and larger volumes of intermittent renewable energy, advanced technological and digital solutions are being adopted to maintain a stable grid and make them more agile. Centralised remote monitoring, digital substations, STATCOMs and FACTS devices are being adopted in addition to digital solutions such as IoT, AI and ML to improve grid reliability and take advantage of new capabilities to support grid operations. There is growing interest in the deployment of battery energy storage systems at the transmission level to provide firm power supply and ancillary support.
Power Line’s Infocus section on “Power Transmission in India” provides an in-depth view of key recent trends and developments in the segment as well as the major issues, challenges and future outlook.