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India to have Future-ready Transmission System for Greater Mixing of Renewable Energy

The modern and smart power transmission system will use predictive maintenance techniques using artificial intelligence. These recommendations are part of a report of a task force set up by the power ministry in September 2021.

March 16, 2023. By Anurima Mondal

India will soon have a modern and smart power transmission system with features such as real-time monitoring and automated operation of the grid, better situational assessment, the capability to have an increased share of renewable capacity in the power mix, enhanced utilisation of transmission capacity, greater resilience against cyber-attacks as well as natural disasters, centralised and data-driven decision-making, reduction in forced outages through self-correcting systems, etc. 
These recommendations are part of a report of a task force set up by the power ministry in September 2021 under the chairmanship of POWERGRID CMD to suggest ways for modernisation of the transmission sector and making it smart & future-ready. The other members of the task force included representatives from State Transmission Utilities, Central Electricity Authority, Central Transmission Utilities, MeiTY, IIT Kanpur, NSGPMU and EPTA.
The report of the committee has been accepted by the government after deliberations chaired by Power and Renewable Energy Minister R.K. Singh. During the meeting, the Minister emphasised that a modern transmission grid is vital to achieving the government’s vision to provide 24x7 reliable and affordable power to the people and also meet the sustainability goals. He further said that a fully automated, digitally controlled, fast responsive grid that is resilient to cyber-attacks and natural disasters is the need of the hour. 
He added that such a system should ensure the isolation of specific areas in case of any contingency, so as to protect the grid and prevent larger outages.

Appreciating the efforts of the task force, he directed the CEA to formulate necessary standards and regulations for the adoption of identified technological solutions and set benchmark performance levels so as to build a robust and modern transmission network in the country.
The task force in its report has recommended a bouquet of technological and digital solutions which can be adopted to make the state transmission grids future ready such as centralised remote monitoring, operation of substations including SCADA, Flexible AC Transmission devices (FACTs), Dynamic Line Loading system (DLL), Wide Area Measurement System (WAMS) using PMUs and data analytics, Hybrid AC/HVDC system, predictive maintenance technique using AI/ML algorithms, HTLS conductors, process bus based protection automation and control GIS/hybrid substation, cyber security, energy storage system and drones & robots in construction/inspection of transmission assets. 

These recommendations have been clubbed under categories of modernisation of existing transmission systems; use of advanced technology in construction & supervision, operations & management; smart & future-ready transmission systems; and up-skilling of the workforce.

The use of robots is expected to not only minimise human intervention and minimise life risks/hazards but also save time while ensuring accuracy during construction and maintenance. The task force also recommended benchmarks for transmission network availability and voltage control based on the performance of global transmission utilities.

While the short-term to medium-term recommendations will be implemented over 1-3 years, the long-term interventions are proposed to be implemented over a period of 3-5 years.
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