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Grid integration increases fear among energy experts

According to reports, even before the country would have learnt its lessons from the black out across north India on July 30 and 31, the talks of grid stability seem to be pointing at a possible vulnerability of the national grid once the southern grid is integrated into it by 2014. Surendra L Rao, former chairman of Central Electricity Regulatory Commission ( CERC) and an energy expert says it loud that he is afraid of the future.

“The south is also not saintly when it comes to maintaining grid discipline like Uttar Pradesh. Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh don’t mind violating rules of the grid discipline as long as they can draw more power for their states,” Rao made it very clear at a discussion on grid stability and why the massive black outs in city on Friday.

This simply means that beyond 2014, until there are some major precautionary measures adopted by the governments to prevent massive black outs, you might be victims of unscheduled power cuts now and then, because of the unpredicted increase in demand in some other city or state. Given that, Karnataka has not been self sufficient when it comes to power and energy sector and generation and transmission losses have posed challenge to meet demands from the rural and urban populace.

He said that he is aware of a number of private gas projects coming up in Andhra Pradesh which is why the state would require to draw more power from the grid and even the state government in Tamil Nadu expressed fears to pay hefty penalties if they over draw from the grid. Once, integrated, the southern states will also have to abide by the penalty system of the national grid if a particular state over draws and load disturbances hit power supply in other states.

Although there has been no accountability of the stakeholders (state governments) whenever any of them have over drawn because of the technical shortcomings or failure to forecast the demand and update the state load dispatch centres (SLDC). However, Rao opined that Karnataka has not been violating grid disciplines and the SLDC has performed better than many other states.

“The 40 pc free power being gven to agriculture sector is in one way good but it beats the electricity supply companies to bear heavy losses. Ultimately there is a 8-11 pc shortage of supply across the nation and until each and every consumer pays for energy, the sector’s development is in question,” he added.

Energy experts like BR Rudrappa, former chairman of Karnataka Electricity Boardand Professor V Ranganath had a detailed discussion of how grid stability can be brought about through integration, dependence of renewable sources and advanced technology usage like smart grids along with consultants from Enzen, which is a private energy and water solution provider for utility bodies worldwide.

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