With the electricity industry experiencing significant changes, transmission companies (transcos) are gearing up for technology adoption for a more stable and reliable grid. A case in point is the state transmission utility, Madhya Pradesh Power Transmission Company Limited (MPPTCL). After having commissioned grid technologies like SCADA and advanced distribution management system (ADMS), it is now increasing its focus on new technologies like phasor measurement units for better grid monitoring, optical ground wire for reliable communications, as well as smart energy management systems (EMS). A number of advanced transmission technologies such as gas-insulated switchgear (GIS) substations and high tension low sag (HTLS) conductors are also on the cards for the transco. Further, given the anticipated growth of renewables of about 6 GW in Madhya Pradesh, the transco is investing nearly Rs 21 billion in green energy corridor projects. Overall, the transco has outlined an investment of Rs 98 billion between 2017 and 2022 for grid strengthening and expansion.
Network and operational performance
MPPTCL was set up in 2001 and it formally began operations in 2002. As of March 2019, MPPTCL’s total transmission network stood at 35,364.57 ckt. km, compared to 17,493 ckt. km in 2009. Its network registered a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.02 per cent during the period 2014-15 to 2018-19. The transco had 366 extra high voltage (EHV) substations at the end of March 2019 (compared to 141 in 2002). The number of substations grew at a CAGR of 5.8 per cent between 2014-15 and 2018-19. MPPTCL’s transformer capacity increased from 45,457 MVA to 60,731 MVA between 2014-15 and 2018-19.
MPPTCL’s normative system availability stood at 99.59 per cent as of March 2019, an increase from the 99.15 per cent achieved during 2017-18, marking an improvement of 1.8 per cent since its inception. MPPTCL’s transmission losses in 2018-19 were 2.71 per cent, which stood at 7.9 per cent in 2002. Its loss performance in 2017-18 was higher at 2.75 per cent. The energy transmitted by the transco during 2018-19 was 71,945 MUs, compared to 65,351 MUs in 2017-18. The transco met a maximum demand of 14,089 MW in 2018-19.
MPPTCL has set up three SCADA control centres at Jabalpur, Bhopal and Indore. All the existing EHV substations have been integrated up to discom interface points. Further, the local data monitoring system installed at each EHV substation has a mini SCADA system to monitor substation parameters.
Another initiative has been the installation of ADMS in the state to regulate overdrawal. Also, MPPTCL has undertaken execution of enterprise resource planning by using SAP, which has been customised according to its business process needs. The transco has also initiated the process of implementing centralised project design management system, which is a robust integrated IT solution for improved workflow and increased efficiency. MPPTCL is also using emergency restoration systems (ERSs) for the restoration of 400 kV, 220 kV and 132 kV lines. MPPTCL has procured three ERS, and deployed them in various strategic locations to cover the entire network. MPPTCL is also credited to be the first utility to adopt an “insulated aerial platform” for bare hand hotline maintenance and is being used for conducting hotline maintenance operations on 132 kV, 220 kV and 400 kV single-circuit and double-circuit transmission lines.
Significant efforts are being made by the utility for renewable energy evacuation. To evacuate power from an anticipated renewable capacity addition of about 5,847 MW in the next five years, MPPTCL has plans for transmission system strengthening and interconnection works for the upcoming renewable energy projects. The estimated cost of works proposed for renewable energy projects in Madhya Pradesh for Phase I is Rs 21 billion. Further, three 400 kV substations (Sagar, Ujjain and Mandsaur) and seven 220 kV substations (Sendhwa, Jaora, Gudgaon, Kanwan, Ratangarh, Nalkheda and Sailana), along with nearly 3,000 ckt. km associated lines are covered under this scheme. While two 220 kV substations (Sendhwa and Kanwan) have been commissioned, the rest of the substations are to be commissioned by March 2020.
On the technology front, MPPTCL has planned a number of initiatives. Besides installing HTLS conductors, monopoles and GIS substations, the transco is also undertaking the installation of optical ground wire (OPGW) cables. It plans to lay OPGW cable of about 10,752 km in place of earth wire and create 327 wide-band nodes, in addition to its existing OPGW network of 1,500 km with 36 nodes. The Ministry of Power has approved the scheme, which will be implemented through 50 per cent grant from the Power System Development Fund (PSDF). Another technology initiative in the pipeline is the implementation of wide area management technology, which is at an advanced stage of implementation. This technology will be implemented by providing project monitoring units (PMUs) in strategic locations. Initially, the project aims to achieve complete observability for the 400 kV network and a few important 220 kV substations for MPPTCL to complement the PMUs placed in Power Grid Corporation of India Limited’s unified real time dynamic state measurement system. There are 98 PMUs proposed to be installed under the PSDF grant.
MPPTCL is also implementing an EMS solution to facilitate improvement in the monitoring and observability of the complete grid and provide an effective tool for stable and safe grid operations. Further, in line with the framework for five-minute scheduling, despatch and settlement, the transco plans to implement interface metering with the facility of a five-minute integration period with the PSDF grant. Further, to encourage the development of intra-state transmission projects through tariff-based competitive bidding (TBCB) in the state, construction of the 400/220 kV substation at Guna (Guna district) and 220/132 kV substation at Bhind (Bhind district) along with associated transmission lines is planned. The award of TBCB contracts is expected in July 2019 and both the projects are likely to be commissioned by 2022.
MPPTCL’s revenues grew at a CAGR of 8.9 per cent since 2013-14, increasing from Rs 22,770 million in 2013-14 to Rs 32,041.5 million in 2018-19. After registering losses in two consecutive years, 2013-14 and 2014-15, it registered a net profit in the next two fiscals. In 2016-17, the profits stood at Rs 222.3 million. The capex has grown at a CAGR of 3.53 per cent. In 2016-17, the capex stood at Rs 7,181.9 million.
Challenges and the road ahead
One of the key challenges for the transco is right of way and reduced land availability. To this end, MPPTCL has decided to construct only GIS substations, which require less space, in major cities of the state. The transco is also upgrading voltage rating of its line using multicircuit monopole structures. The transco also faces the challenge of a wide variation in demand on a daily as well as seasonal basis, which results in an increased need to regulate power flow on the transmission network for grid security and optimisation. For instance, the maximum demand recorded in the state was 14,089 MW in January 2019 and the minimum demand of 4,971 MW was recorded in September 2018. The transco is focusing on reliability-based online condition monitoring, repair and maintenance in advance and making forced outages as zero. Apart from these initiatives, the transco is adopting a more proactive planning process, timely funding tie-ups and clearances, and prompt land acquisition.
Between 2017-18 and 2021-22, MPPTCL has outlined a capital investment plan of Rs 98.89 billion. It plans to take up the construction of 86 EHV substations and 8,368 ckt. km of lines, and enhancement of transformer capacity by 17,914 MVA. The company has tied up funds of about Rs 52.9 billion with the Asian Development Bank, JICA, KfW, REC and Union Bank of India, along with the Madhya Pradesh government equity, besides its self-contribution, while it is in the process of tying up further loans. MPPTCL has constructed 35 substations and 2,996 ckt. km of lines and added 7,315 MVA transmission capacity in the past two years (2017-19). Currently, 64 EHV substations are under construction.
Overall, MPPTCL’s planned capex and initiatives are expected to ensure that it is on a strong footing to tackle the new and emerging challenges of the transmission grid and prepare the state for a smart and robust system.