“Transmission system should be planned ahead of generation”

Sterlite Power Transmission Limited is one of the leading companies which is at the forefront of power transmission industry. Sterlite has four business units namely Solutions, Infrastructure, IndiGrid & Convergence. Government should mandate the planners must evaluate all possibilities to upgrade existing lines, before building any new lines. Besides, benefit span over increased power transfer, faster implementation vis-à-vis creating new parallel corridors conservation of scarce land, RoW and forest resources, etc. So, it is prudent to uprate or upgrade the existing corridor that can serve next 20 years, suggests Manish Agarwal, CEO – Solutions, Sterlite Power in an interaction with Electrical India…

Please tell us about the major milestones of Sterlite Power

Sterlite Power Transmission Limited, a company that was demerged from Sterlite Technologies in 2016, is India’s leading integrated power transmission developer and solutions provider. Sterlite has oriented all its offerings to address the coinciding challenges of time, space and capital.

Our Global Infrastructure Business has emerged as largest private sector transmission developer in India and has become first Indian transmission infrastructure developer to enter the global market by winning 03 concessions projects in Brazil.

Our Solutions Business is a leader in uprate and upgrade projects in the country. We provide bespoke solutions to solve complex problems for power utilities, specializing in upgrading, uprating and strengthening power delivery networks. These technology-intensive solutions enable our customers to plan network expansions despite challenges of ROW, environment regulations and urbanization. We recently won our largest MSI project in Kerala. One manufacturing side, globally, we are one of the largest manufacturers of High Performance Conductors, also referred as ‘HTLS. Sterlite has distinction of being India’s Largest & Fully Integrated OPGW Solution Provider. The company has four state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities producing conductors, OPGW & Underground EHV cables. Our Jharsuguda facility offers upstream integration of molten metal for conductor manufacturing, first of its kind in the country.

What are the current trends in power transmission? What are the challenges in the transmission segment?

India is running largest RE Expansion Programme in the world. What it means is huge generation capacities added in fraction of a time than evacuation system can be built. Planners should be mindful of 110/1100 days paradigm, it takes 110 days to commission a solar farm, while transmission system may take upto 1100 days to build. Hence, transmission system should be planned ahead of generation.

While the centre has been adding roughly `15,000 crore of transmission lines each year, the states are lagging in adding downstream network in tandem. With advent of the public-private partnership model, states can now attract significant private investment into their transmission network, by adopting the TBCB model.

Besides new lines to connect power-surplus states with those starved of electricity, a large part of the capital expenditure should go into upgrading of existing system. It is possible to augment transfer capacities of existing system by uprating current or voltage, without using extra land resource. This can usually be done in a third of the time and fraction of cost required to build a new line. Given the challenges of time, space and capital challenges, we feel this is the best solutions for the country. Government should mandate the planners must evaluate all possibilities to upgrade existing lines, before building any new lines.

What is your strategy to plug these loopholes in the sector?

As I said, given the challenges of time, space and capital, government should mandate that the planners must evaluate all possibilities to upgrade existing lines, before building any new lines. We are representing through with multiple forums to have this transmission planning philosophy adopted.

Do you have R&D in India?

Sterlite has been in forefront of technology development and adoption. We extensively leverage technology at every aspect of our business delivery – technology intensive products, design engineering & digital platforms for project planning & execution, simulation tools for power system studies, aerial technologies, smart line project etc.

We have NABL accredited labs for our products and in-house set-up for new product development. Other model of technology development is partnerships or licensing agreement with technology providers and investment in technology companies.

We are setting-up Center of Excellence for technology solutions that will incubate new products, designs, robotics for transmission line work, system simulation techniques and also, provide test-bed for next generation solutions.

What are the products that launched by the company in ELECRAMA?

At ELECRAMA 2018, Sterlite Power Transmission Limited unveiled three high end products namely STER-AAAC 1120 (Low Loss/High performance conductor), High Ampacity Cable (Low Loss/High Current Cable) and Smaller Size OPGW suitable for 33KV lines.

High Ampacity Cable: High Ampacity Cable which was launched in ELECRAMA has a unique adaptability of plug and play in the existing distribution network of the same size. The physical diameters are the same for traditionally used XLPE cable and can result in huge savings in terms of both Opex and capex.

STER-AAAC 1120: This low loss/high performance conductor is a typical alloy material consisting of AI with Cu as major alloy element. These conductors are better in mechanical strength, conductivity and less DC resistance.

Smaller Size OPGW: Smaller Size OPGW is suitable for 33KV lines and is developed by Sterlite Power for the first time in India. It has been developed keeping in mind the special guidelines of Ministry of Power to suit specific market needs of India. This special OPGW is suitable for installation on poles also for distribution lines of 33kV line voltage.