The mantra of power sector reforms in Bihar seems to have undergone a change — from mere availability of energy to reliable and stable supply.
To turn that into reality, several projects are being implemented simultaneously to overhaul the power transmission system.
Reliable power supply pertains to ensuring a system, which could guarantee transmission of available power and stable power signifies supply with desired voltage without any fluctuation.
“A proposal in this regard was sent to Central Electricity Authority (CEA), which has given in-principle approval for the same. A formal approval would come soon,” Bihar Power Transmission Company Limited managing director Sanjay Kumar Singh told The Telegraph, while sharing the company’s plan of making the state’s grids N-1 compliant.
N-1 is one of the key guiding concepts being followed for achieving the goal of reliable and stable power. To a layman, it may sound like a formula from mathematics but in the power sector parlance, it is known as augmentation of grid sub-stations, so that these have an extra transformer to help keep the grid functional if the one used for transmission breaks down. Similarly, the presence of an extra transformer also allows regular maintenance work without interrupting the transmission as during the maintenance period load can be shifted to the additional transformer.
At present, Bihar has 88 functional grid sub-stations, which have a joint capacity of transmitting 2,800MW of power. Till November, it was tested for transmitting more than 2,300MW without a problem.
In addition to the existing ones, 11 new grid sub-stations are under construction and tenders for constructing 19 new grid sub-stations too have either been floated or under process. Detailed plans are being chalked out for constructing 30 more grid sub-stations with a capacity to transmit around 4,000MW by August, 2015 with at least one grid sub-station in each of the 101 sub-divisions of the state.
The transmission company is making wide-scale use of technology while planning its grid sub-stations. A detailed geographic information system (GIS) mapping has been done for deciding the location of grid sub-station in such a manner that there would be availability of at least one grid sub-station in a radius of every 25km of the state.
“Having one grid sub-station in every 25-km radius would not only reduce load on grid sub-stations but would also ensure quality power supply because the area being catered through one grid sub-station would be less, making things easier on the maintenance front,” said a senior engineer of transmission company, who requested anonymity. He said at present, some sub-stations in the state cater to the needs of areas up to 80km away from the grid, making it difficult for the transmission and distribution company people to work in case there is any fault in the lines. “In case of any fault in line, one has to check area spread over 80km, whereas under the proposed system the service area would be reduced making things easier for field staff,” added the engineer.
Apart from N-1 compliance, steps are also being taken to connect grids with multiple source of power so that fault in one source could not affect the power supply to the catered area. So far 68 of the 88 grid sub-stations have been connected with multiple sources of power and in two years, all the existing and upcoming grids would have multiple sources of power.
A sum of Rs 4,000 crore would be spent on completely overhauling the transmission network in the state in the next two years. A source said of the required funds, the Planning Commission has already provided Rs 1,850 crore and the rest would be released in due course under the special plan and other schemes.
The source said all this could become possible owing to chief minister Nitish Kumar’s keen interest in improving the power scenario in the state. “Being an engineer, the chief minister always provides valuable suggestions at the planning stage, which help the power companies in effective and timely execution of projects. Moreover, Nitish has also ensured sufficient flow of fund and out of the Rs 12,000-crore special plan fund, more than Rs 9,000 crore has been earmarked for the power sector alone,” added the source.