S.S. Barpanda has over three decades of experience as a power system operator and is currently Director (market operation), POSOCO. Prior to this, he was Executive Director at the Northern Regional Load Despatch Centre. In the past, he has worked with Power Grid Corporation of India Limited.
Barpanda notes that the country has a vibrant electricity market. The introduction of the real-time market mechanism on June 1, 2020 is a milestone and has created an opportunity for load serving entities to balance their portfolios closer to real time. “The volumes traded on the Power Exchange platform have been going up, bringing economy and efficiency. Further growth in volumes is expected with the introduction of market-based economic despatch,” he says.
He is proud of POSOCO’s tremendous work in the sector. “Despite huge load fluctuations and limited manpower during the pandemic, POSOCO has ensured reliable grid operation,” he notes. The lights off 9 p.m.-9 minutes event, when all-India demand fell by 31,089 MW, posed a unique challenge for system operators, but it was handled efficiently.
Also, with the implementation of security-constrained economic despatch in 2019, generation has been optimised, leading to savings of Rs 10 million-Rs 30 million per day. Further, renewable energy management centres have been set up, which will ensure better forecasting and management of renewable energy sources.
A number of innovative initiatives are in the pipeline, including a market-based economic despatch mechanism, which will facilitate routing transactions through the power exchanges; security-constrained unit commitment to determine the optimal unit commitment and schedule of generation units for minimising system operating costs; and a National Open Access Registry to automate the short-term open access approval process.
However, there are many challenges too, the biggest one being the supply of reliable power to all, primarily due to issues at the local level. A number of coal- and gas-based generators are not getting despatched as they do not have long-term PPAs or are unable to sell at prices discovered in the short-term market, leading to stressed assets.
Barpanda is a graduate in electrical engineering from Sambalpur University in Odisha. He enjoys travelling and hopes to plan a holiday trip with his family post the pandemic.