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Centre to roll out Rs 16,000-cr power-transmission projects in 2019

Business Standard:  January 11, 2019

New Delhi: The Centre will offer nearly 20 power transmission projects, with an estimated cost of ~16,000 crore, for bidding this year. Most of these would sprovide connection to renewable zones, generating solar and wind energy.

The bidding is starting after a hiatus of two years. These renewable energy projects include those bid for by SECI or NTPC, as well as private developers. They have sought transmission connectivity.

The current tranche of projects covers the power-surplus western region, where huge renewable capacity is also coming up. Gujarat and Rajasthan will have most of these projects, followed by Maharashtra. Tamil Nadu and Punjab will also get some of these.

The projects were approved in the last meeting of the empowered committee on transmission (ECT), headed by the secretary of the Ministry of Power. The Central Electricity Authority, Power Grid Corporation, REC Transmission Projects Company, and PFC Consulting are represented on this committee. PFC Consulting and REC Transmission Projects Company are the tendering agencies.

Of the 30 projects the ECT identified, 24 have been approved to be awarded. Twelve would be offered on tariff-based competitive bidding (TBCB) in which private firms can take part. The rest will be built by state-owned Power Grid Corporation.

Industry executives said sector majors such as Sterlite Grid, Adani Power, Essel Infra, and Tata Power are likely to take part in the bidding. These have won several power transmission projects in the past through the TBCB mode.

Power transmission projects are awarded in two modes — cost-plus basis to Power Grid Corporation and TBCB to private players.

The current projects will provide connectivity to upcoming solar parks in Bhadla, Bikaner, and Fategarh in Rajasthan; mega-sized solar and wind projects in Bhuj, Bhachau, Dwarka, and Lakadia in Gujarat; the solar energy zone (1000 MW) in Maharashtra, and wind zones in Tamil Nadu.

The projects to be constructed by Power Grid are for a system strengthening several areas, including where the company already has a high-voltage direct current system in place. The company is already constructing the inter-state transmission network for connecting renewable energy-rich states, or the Green Corridor-I.

In order to expedite the development of transmission line for the solar parks (Green Corridors-II), the Centre decided to award these to private players through a bidding process. The move was also in line with the plan to open up the power transmission sector for private investment.

Private sector players, however, have been complaining of lack of projects in the transmission sector and several delays in awarding them.

Disclaimer: This information has been collected through secondary research and IBEF is not responsible for any errors in the same.