‘Holistic approach needed while adding power capacity’

Chennai, Sep 3 (IANS) There is need for a holistic approach while planning to increase the power generation capacity in India, a senior power systems company official said.

M. Rajagopalan, market development director-Middle East and Asia at Wartsila India, said such an approach is needed so that power cuts do not continue to plague the consumers despite new capacity additions.

“India is planning to increase different kinds of power generation capacity — thermal, wind, solar and gas. If there is no holistic approach, then there will be excess base load and lot of variable load resulting in grid instability,” Rajagopalan told IANS here.

He said that if the government wants to guarantee 24×7 power supply then the planning should be long-term in a holistic way.

Rajagopalan said the government should also include gas-based peaking power plants in the scheme of things so that short-term power deficits could be managed effectively.

He said wind and solar power were seasonal and variable while thermal power was steady hence it qualified as the base load.

According to Rajagopalan, India should plan to add around 20,000 MW of gas-based power plants while planning to add fresh power generation comprising of coal and renewable energy.

The central government has revised the target for renewable energy capacity to 175 GW by 2021-22 comprising of solar, wind, biomass and small hydro-electric power projects.

The gas-based power plants can generate power at short notice to meet any sudden shortfall in supply.

Similarly, the gas plants can be backed down easily when supply of wind and solar goes up while thermal power plants cannot be backed down or started at short notice, he said.

“Power planners should look at the opportunity cost of not having power,” he said.

According to him, Wartsila India is focussing on supplying its gas-powered plants to mega renewable power projects.

He said if there is an appropriate tariff for hybrid power projects, it will enable the promoters of renewable energy projects to add gas-based power plants so as to guarantee the utilities a steady supply of power.

Rajagopalan said Wartsila’s gas-powered engines start at 4 MW.

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