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Sterlite Grid to partner with US firm

Business Standard:  October, 2015

New Delhi: For its Rs 3,000-crore power transmission project in the Kashmir valley, Sterlite Grid, largest private operator of transmission systems in the country, is joining hands with US major — Burn & McDonnell. This would be the first such technology partnership in the power transmission sector.

Aiming to supply 2,000 Mw from Punjab to Jammu & Kashmir, the project would be built through innovative aerial technologies on the remote terrains of  the valley.

“As against the contractual 50 months, Sterlite Grid has committed to commission the project within 40 months. However, the challenging terrain will prevent the developer from working round the year, particularly in the valley,” Pratik Agarwal, vice-chairman, told Business Standard.  The project was awarded to the company through rate-based competitive bidding in May last year.

Scheduled to commission in 2018, the project would be a key corridor that would strengthen the power transfer capability in J&K, providing an alternate route for power transfer, said the company.

"We believe that not a single unit of electricity should remain unused due to the lack of transmission infrastructure. To achieve this, we would like to eliminate transmission line delays by delivering these projects in half the benchmark time. Our partnership with Burns & McDonnell will help us achieve this goal by bringing cutting edge technologies to India," said Agarwal.

The 40 km line would have close to 300 towers, deployment of which would be with assistance of Burns & McDonnell through aerial technologies. The company did not disclose any costs related to the contract. Sterlite is also in talks with another US based company for supply of helicopters for deploying transmission systems.

Sterlite Grid will work with Burns & McDonnell to implement innovative designs and mechanised construction, which may include Heli-crane construction, micro-pile foundations, and special tower designs that would enable the project to be commissioned faster, the company said.

Jim Hogan, Senior Vice President of Burns & McDonnell's transmission & distribution division. ?Our engineers and construction specialists are committed to exploring methods to reduce the time needed to construct this important Transmission Line which will strengthen the electric grid and bring much needed power to Jammu & Kashmir.?

The company is hopeful that this corridor would also make power transfer capacities available for future connection to Leh. J&K currently has only one link , Kishengar-Moga line, connecting it with the north region.

The state of J&K faces a power crisis with a deficit of more than 5,500 million units of electricity annually. It has lately increased its focus on the power reforms and drafted a separate budget for power sector. In the budget this year, it has allotted approximately Rs 16,544 crore for evacuation of power keeping in line with the generation plan of close to 9,000 Mw of hydro power.

The current power demand of the state is 2,400 Mw, which is slated to increase to 3,500 Mw in three years. The company said the strengthened connection with the North Grid would help solve the power crisis J&K faces. With increasing share of renewable energy in the grid, the line would also enable the transmission of same.

The deal highlights:

  • NRSS-29 key power transmission project connecting J&K with Punjab
  • To enhance power supply on the energy deficient Kashmir valley
  • Sterlite won the project last year in May, to commission by August 2018
  • US based Burn & McDonnell to partner for deploying transmission twoers through aerial technology
  • Sterlite commits to state to commission the project 10 months ahead of schedule