Upgrade existing lines to improve transmission, CEA tells power utilities

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Published: April 12, 2019 4:07:38 AM

The Central Electricity Authority has suggested power utilities to consider installing high-performance conductors in their existing and new power lines. Conductors constitute 30%-40% of total cost of overhead transmission lines.

As FE reported earlier, the pace of adding new electricity lines have hit a four-year low in FY19, with line addition being 3% lower than FY18.

With the transmission capacity creation being at a slow pace, the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) has suggested power utilities to consider installing high-performance conductors (HPC) in their existing and new power lines. These conductors can enhance the capacity of the existing transmission system as the country requires more electricity to be ferried to cater to rising power demand.

As FE reported earlier, the pace of adding new electricity lines have hit a four-year low in FY19, with line addition being 3% lower than FY18.

Conductors, which play an important role in quantum of power flow and controlling technical losses, constitute about 30%-40% of total cost of overhead transmission lines. Though HPCs can be costlier than their conventional counterpart by two to five times, they can be economically justifiable if other associated costs and loss reductions are considered, the CEA noted. Capitalisation cost for installing these conductors are in the range of Rs 1.5 lakh to Rs 1.6 lakh per kilo watt. However, the use of HPCs need to be considered on case to case basis based on techno-economic analysis over the life cycle, CEA added.

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“Investment in this field is currently around Rs 2,500 crore per year and to prepare for the upcoming demand growth, this should rise by 4-5 times,” Manish Agarwal, CEO of Sterlite Power Transmission’s Solutions business told FE.

The company is the largest exporter of HPCs and has already supplied Rs 400 crore of such conductors to Bangladesh, which is impressively ramping up its transmission infrastructure.

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Other indigenous manufacturers of HPCs include Apar Industries, Gupta Power, Hindustan Urban Infrastructure, JSK Industries, Shashi Cables, Lumino Industries and Hind Aluminium Industries.

Apart from transmission behemoth PGCIL, state-run utilities in Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Odisha, Jharkhand, Uttarakhand, Karnataka, Gujarat, Rajasthan and some private utilities like Tata Power, Torrent Power, CESC have already used such conductors in transmission corridors which are getting overloaded.

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