The inevitable power crisis of India
We might think that maybe India does not have enough energy sources right, but the fun fact is that India has the fifth largest coal reserve in the world with 9.5% of the entire world’s coal reserve right here in our country itself. We have so much coal that with the existing energy demand these reserves can power India for 111 years, so the question is despite being one of the largest coal reserves in the world why India is facing a power crisis.
December 06, 2022. By News Bureau
India is facing one of the worst power crises in its history. The scariest point is that this power crisis is not something that happens rarely but has been haunting India almost every single year for the past 10 years. Now as a result businesses across the country are facing lack and even CRORES of losses due to power shortages and at the macro level the economy of India itself is taking a hit now when we say power crisis. We might think that maybe India does not have enough energy sources right, but the fun fact is that India has the fifth largest coal reserve in the world with 9.5% of the entire world’s coal reserve right here in our country itself. We have so much coal that with the existing energy demand these reserves can power India for 111 years, so the question is despite being one of the largest coal reserves in the world why India is facing a power crisis what are the factors that are causing this to happen every single year and power crisis and its impact on the Indian markets. If India is having so such a large reserve of coal, then, what could be the reason for the power crisis in India?
The overall power situation in the country remains precarious because of the less availability of domestic coal. To understand the problem clearly, we need to focus on the supply chain of coal in India.
In India, the power cycle is run because of four major pillars: -
The first three pillars of the Energy cycle have a robust financial condition, the fourth one i.e., Discom is the key reason for the power crisis in India.
The first thing we need to understand is the power value chain in India and how energy comes from the coal mines to your laptop this value chain includes four major steps power generation electricity transmission electricity distribution and finally trading the value chain starts with the energy producers who mine and refine fuels that are used in electricity production this includes all types of energy sources like coal gas oil or even nuclear-based fuels the fuels are then delivered to the generation facilities where the electricity generator uses the fuel to drive a generator to produce electricity and then to dispatch it to a transmission and distribution system or T&D system this system distributes the electricity to consumer locations through a transmission and distribution grid and from here onwards it is transported by energy exchanges or other electronic trading platforms over an extensive network to regional suppliers and from there to private public and industrial consumers now in case of Coal India is almost a monopoly company that is owned by the government of India and this company extracts coal and supplies it to power generation companies in this case these companies are thermal power plant companies like tata power and Adani power then we have electricity transmission companies wherein we have both government and private players like power grid corporation of India which is responsible for interstate transmission of electricity and Adani transmission which is a private player then we have distribution companies which is the highlight of our discussion today so pay very close attention to this these companies are called discounts which is short form for distribution companies these are usually government owned companies that are responsible for distributing electricity to different segments of the country and to a large extent even trading is take care of by the Discoms.
Aggregate Technical & Commercial (AT&C) loss
It is the inefficient infrastructure that causes energy losses during transmission and what is extremely disturbing is that while the world’s losses are only 7% in India it’s close to 16.18% so literally one-sixth of the entire power that we generate is going to waste for which these government-owned companies are incurring thousands of crores of losses.
The major 3 losses are: -
» Theft of Electricity (illegal Connection)
» Commercial Losses (inefficient pilling and failure to collect pending payments from Industries)
» Inefficient infrastructure
Other Reasons: -
» Installation of Smart-Meter
» Reckless Cross subsidy
» Inefficient Tariff setting process
» Expensive Thermal power purchase Agreements
» Lack of modern technology
» Proper Infrastructure to Distribute Power
» Complete overhaul of the regulation of electricity companies and their deliverables
» Need to apply common sense metrics of lifeline electricity supply instead of the political dole out of free electricity even for those who may not deserve such support.
When power is taken away from Central and State governments and given to the local government, it is called decentralization. The basic idea behind decentralization is that there are a large number of problems and issues which are best settled at the local level. People at the local level participate directly in decision-making.
The benefits of Decentralization: -
» Zero AT&C losses
» Less load on the Grid during high-demand Systems.
» Conflict is reduced when the power is shared between the Centre and states and local government.
» A large number of problems and issues can be best settled at the local level.
» People have better knowledge of the problems in their localities.
» They know better where to spend money and how to manage things efficiently.
» Freebies are provided by the Government to win the election, which thus becomes the pain for Government Discom.
It is high time for India to shift from a traditional power source to a Renewable based country. India is ambitious to be carbon neutral by 2070 and this gives us the boost the vision for India. Decentralization plays a key role in the overall development of our economy but also reduces the losses which can be beneficial for the farmers. India is the pioneer of the International solar alliance and it is also aligned with the vision of India One Sun, One World, One Grid with the help of the energy harnessed by the sun we can utilise for our requirement of power generation. On 30th July, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also inaugurated the National Solar Rooftop Portal, where we can apply for solar connection for our house, and we can get the subsidy within 30 days in the bank account. These are the small steps but a big lip to a new transition which we are witnessing. We are in the transition stage from fossil fuel-based power generation to renewal-based power generation.
- Dr. Pradip D. Narale, Assistant Professor, Department of Renewable Energy Engineering, College of Agril. Engg. & PHT, Ranipool, Sikkim
- Prashant Kumar, Student of B.Tech (Agricultural Engineering), College of Agril. Engg. & PHT, Ranipool, Sikkim
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