At a time when India increasignly gets confined to work-from-home and needs 24X7 power, the country’s grid system is fully geared to maintain operational stability and avoid any supply shock due to sudden demand swing due to the economic impact of coronavirus pandemic, power minister R K Singh told TOI on Monday.
Ministry sources told TOI the national grid operator POSOCO is putting in laying down a regimen to be followed if the system comes under pressure due to a combination of several factors, especially demand-side mismatch and high renewable content in generation basket.
Singh said India’s arterial distribution network is technologically one of the best in the world and has the advantage of being a “one-nation-one-grid” under a single controller.
“Eleven renewable energy management centres and static precipitators have been added to deal with intermittency of renewables and hydel projects can now be switched on quickly to manage demand swing,” Singh said, adding the thermal plants have been given greater flexibility with lower operational threshold of 55 per cent.
“We haven’t seen any signal (pressure on grid) yet. (But) we are prepared to manage (demand-side mismatch),” he said.
The International Energy Agency on Monday cautioned countries over grid instability and resultant blackouts, especially in less-developed systems, as coronavirus pandemic curtails economic activities and demand for power.
Industry players explained that the Indian grid could come under pressure because of 10 per cent renewable content in the generation basket. “Thermal generation can be curtailed in the day to accommodate renewable in the day when demand falls. But you won’t have renewables in the night and it will take 6-8 hours to switch on a thermal plant,” one industry source said.
Executives at state-run NTPC, the largest generation utility in India, on Monday said there was no curtailment and generation stood at “usual levels”. They, however, did expect some curtailment if the coronavirus situation continues or worsens.