Agartala: A 1,800 km transmission line from Assam to Agra is likely to provide some relief to electricity-starved north India this summer, thanks to a power surplus in otherwise economically backward northeast India, a top official said.
"The 1,800-km-long 800 Kv HVDC (high voltage direct current) transmission corridor would be operationalised by May, facilitating the supply of power from northeast India to north India," Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd (PGCIL) chairman-cum-managing director R.N. Nayak told IANS.
"The PGCIL erected the vital transmission line from Biswanath Chariali in Assam to Agra for Rs.11,000 crore," he added.
According to the official, the transmission line would be capable of transmitting 6,000 MW of electricity.
The PGCIL, a "Navaratna" power transmission company, also signed a 10-year agreement with the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited to provide an underground telecommunication cable link in the northeastern region.
The northeast is going to be power surplus and it was an enormous problem to transmit the excess power from the region to the country's power-starved regions. The eight northeastern states' off-peak and peak demand on an average is 1,500 MW to 2,500 MW against the current installed capacity of 4,730 MW.
The installed capacity, according to electrical engineers and government documents, would increase significantly before the next year-end after the completion of several mega hydro-electric, coal and gas-based power plants.
Several mega hydro power projects are now under commissioning in Arunachal Pradesh, which could be called India's power house if its enormous resources could be tapped.
These include the 110 MW Pare project and the 600 MW Kameng project being commissioned by the North East Electrical Power Corporation (NEEPCO). While Pare is expected to be commissioned this year, Kameng will be commissioned next year. Work on the third one - the 2,000 MW Lower Subansiri project - is expected to begin soon.
State-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation has commissioned its biggest commercial power project of 726 MW at Palatana in southern Tripura, 60 km south of Agartala, while NEEPCO is setting up a 101 MW project at Monarchak in western Tripura, 70 km south of Agartala and only eight km from the India-Bangladesh border.
According to union power ministry documents, the hydro-power potential of the northeastern region is estimated at about 58,971 MW, which is almost 40 percent of the country's potential. But only about 2.1 percent (1,242 MW) had been harnessed till last May.
The region is home to a 151.68 billion cubic metre reserve of natural gas which is capable of generating 7,500 MW of electricity for 10 years. The region also possesses 864.78 million tonnes of coal against the country's reserves of 186 billion tonnes - enabling about 240 MW of power to be generated for 100 years.
"NEEPCO is also planning to generate at least 1,500 MW from non-conventional sources of energy such as solar and wind in the next five years," its chairman and managing director P.C. Pankaj told IANS.
Pankaj said NEEPCO has also undertaken several other power projects with a generation capacity more than 5,000 MW in Tripura, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh. "These projects would start generation of power within the next eight years."
The central government, on Tripura's request, has decided to supply 100 MW of power to Bangladesh.
"To take power from Tripura, a new 24-km transmission line would be erected on the Indian side and a 27-km one on the Bangladesh side. The PGCIL would erect the line on the Indian side and the Bangladesh Power Development Board would do a similar job on its side," Nayak said, adding that the company would invest Rs.80 crore on this.
He said that the new line would be ready by this year-end and 100 MW of power from ONGC's Palatana plant can immediately be supplied to Bangladesh.
While erecting the new line from western Tripura's Surjyamaninagar to Comilla in eastern Bangladesh, human habitations, forest and other vital installations would be avoided.