Present Power Scenario In India
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India has enough electricity generation capacity (~307.3 GW) today, so that just through the thermal power plants, the country is positioned to address the peak load demand (~159 GW). However, we are yet to achieve cent per cent electrification of the country, and that poses a big challenge for the people living in the remote or difficult-to-reach places.
During 2016-17 (till now) 16,398 Circuit Kilometers (CKM) of transmission lines have been commissioned, and the overall increase in the transformation capacity has been 39,060 MVA in the same period. Looking at the gross picture, we see that as on October 31, 2016, the total transmission capacity of 220 kV and above voltage levels was 357,949 CKM, and the transformation capacity of substations was 698,009 MVA.
As on 31st October’ 2016, the total transmission capacity of the inter-regional links is 62,650 MW, which is expected to be increased to 68,050 MW by the end of 12th plan i.e., 31st March, 2017. However, in a large country like India, mere growth of transmission lines will not serve the purpose of reaching electricity to all. We have to build up decentralized power generation capacity for many places where grid connection is not feasible.
Decentralized Power Generation or harnessing Distributed Energy Resources (DER) has now been a growing global trend. Navigant Research has recently reported that installed DER capacity, including Distributed Generation (DG), energy storage, microgrids, EVs, and Demand Response (DR), will triple between 2016 and 2025, growing from 124 GW to 373 GW worldwide.
Considering the great challenge posed by ‘climate change,’ all countries are now amassing their ‘power from renewables’ agenda. India too is not an exception; rather the country’s ambitious target for developing 175 GW of renewable power capacity by 2022 is of huge significance. In fact, it is the largest target so far set by any developing nation.
Coming back to the context of decentralized power generation. Recently, our Power Minister, Piyush Goyal has said, “Apart from shifting to renewable energy, we are focusing upon distributed energy production, where consumers themselves can start generating power. In fact, the rooftop solar power programme will be expanded from 300 MW today to the 40,000 MW in the next six years. It will not only provide energy security but will also give support to the thousands of people living in areas inaccessible to grid based power supply.”
According to me, this is the best solution to reach power to all houses by 2022.
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