India needs $80-bn investments in next 5 years for grid transmission infra


Bhubaneswar, Jan 23: India needs $60-80 billion investments over the next five years to strengthen its grid transmission infrastructure. The scale of investments envisaged is needed to address the continued structural growth in power demand and overcome operational limitations of the country’s national transmission grid, a study by US-based Institute for Energy Economics & Financial Analysis (IEEFA) suggested.
Under the Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana or Saubhagya scheme, the central government has successfully electrified 99 per cent of the households. As a follow-up, there is an urgent need for considerable investments in grid transmission infrastructure to keep pace with growing low-cost renewable capacity so that new households can afford to buy electricity, the IEEFA report noted.
“The flow-on effect of mass electrification, coupled with the accelerated deployment of renewable energy, is the increase in demand for inter-regional transmission lines and the need for capacity enhancement of power evacuation infrastructure. The need for inter-regional grid connectivity will increase with growth in the demand for power in economically poor regions, particularly as India’s economy is foreseeably set to grow at 7-8 per cent per annum over the coming decade”, said Tim Buckley, director of energy finance studies (Australasia) at IEEFA and co-author of the report.
The country has expanded its transmission network capacity at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12 per cent over five years between 2012-13 and 2017-18. With respect to circuit kilometres (ckm), the transmission lines expanded at a CAGR of seven per cent in the period from 274,588 ckm to 390,970 ckm.