India is set to witness a remarkable change in its power transmission system, thanks to the recommendations of a task force established by the Power Ministry in September 2021. The report of the committee was recently accepted by the government, after deliberations chaired by Union Power and New & Renewable Energy Minister R. K. Singh. This modernization of the transmission sector will create a smart and future-ready grid with numerous features such as real-time monitoring, automated operation of the grid, increased use of renewable energy, better situational assessment, enhanced utilization of transmission capacity, greater resilience against cyber-attacks and natural disasters, centralized and data-driven decision-making, and reduced outages through self-correcting systems.
Importance of Modern Transmission Grid
The Union Minister has emphasized that a modern transmission grid is critical to achieving the government’s vision of providing 24×7 reliable and affordable power to the people and meeting sustainability goals. He stated that a fully automated, digitally controlled, fast responsive grid that is resilient to cyber-attacks and natural disasters is the need of the hour. He also mentioned that such a system should guarantee the isolation of specific areas in case of any contingency, safeguarding the grid and preventing larger outages.
Recommendations of the Task Force
The task force has recommended a bouquet of technological and digital solutions that can be adopted to make state transmission grids future-ready. The recommendations have been grouped under four categories, namely modernization of existing transmission systems, use of advanced technology in construction and supervision, operations and management, smart and future-ready transmission systems, and up-skilling of the workforce.
The task force recommended Centralized Remote Monitoring, Operation of Substations including SCADA, Flexible AC Transmission devices (FACTs), Dynamic Line Loading system (DLL), Wide Area Measurement System (WAMS) using PMUs and data analytics, Hybrid AC/HVDC system, Predictive maintenance technique using AI/ML algorithms, HTLS Conductors, Process Bus based Protection Automation and Control GIS/Hybrid Substation, Cyber Security, Energy Storage System and Drones & Robots in construction/inspection of transmission assets.
Benefits of Advanced Technologies
The use of robots is expected to minimize human intervention and minimize life risks/hazards while saving time and ensuring accuracy during construction and maintenance. The task force has also recommended benchmarks for transmission network availability and voltage control based on the performance of global transmission utilities.
While the short-term to medium-term recommendations will be implemented over 1-3 years, the long-term interventions are proposed to be implemented over a period of 3-5 years.
The implementation of these recommendations will revolutionize India’s power transmission system by creating a smart and modern grid, allowing for a greater mixing of renewable energy, better utilization of existing transmission capacity, fewer outages, and resilience against cyber-attacks and natural disasters. The use of advanced technologies, including AI and machine learning, will ensure predictive maintenance and enhance the efficiency of the system. This initiative will not only improve the quality of life for millions of Indians but also contribute to the country’s sustainable development goals.