2021 has been a mixed bag for most businesses; however, on a net basis, we, at Sterlite Power, had more positives. Earlier in the year, we flipped the prestigious Northeast Region Transmission project which is geared to light up homes in India’s Northeastern states of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, and Tripura. In the context of the ongoing RE Integration into the grid, the project will play a crucial role as a carrier of clean energy, as it connects various hydro and gas-based sources of power to the national grid and will play a vital role in reducing the intermittency of renewables.
In October this year, we also won the prominent Nangalbibra-Bongaigaon inter-state power transmission project. The project elements consist of a new 220/132 kV substation at Nangalbibra and laying of ~130 km of 400kV DC transmission line connecting Bongaigaon in Assam to Nangalbibra in Meghalaya across the river Brahmaputra. The project will also have ~20km of 132kV DC line connecting Hatsinghmari in Assam to Ampati in Meghalaya. With this project win, Sterlite Power now has a portfolio of 26 projects across India and Brazil, which includes projects under various stages of development and those that have been sold.
Besides a strong financial performance, we have received several global and national accolades, including from ET, IPMA, and the Asset AAA Infrastructure Awards.
Access to electricity is a significant driver for prosperity and human development. The transmission sector plays a critical role in ensuring 24X7 quality and affordable power for all on the demand side. With India’s target of 500 GW of renewable capacities on the generation side by 2030, we are focussed on key technologies that are solving some of the toughest challenges of energy delivery.
Upgrading existing infrastructure with High Performance Conductors (HPCs), where Right of Way is severely constrained, has become essential – at least 20 utilities in the country have adopted this transmission philosophy. Similarly, to resolve land acquisition challenges, India’s first vertical GIS substations were built in Gurgaon. A conventional GIS substation of similar capacity generally requires 12 acres of land, but this innovative solution is built only on 3.8 acres resulting in a 75 percent reduction in land footprint.
Innovative Long Span-River Crossing Solutions, addressing transmission disruptions caused by Climate Change or other reasons – undertaken across the Ganga, can be replicated across other river crossings.
Power Flow Controllers are planned for alleviating congestion and enhancing grid flexibility, especially in RE-rich states. Aerial technologies including helicrane-based tower erection, helicopter, and drone stringing are deployed to deliver projects under a compressed schedule.
Satellite imagery and Machine Learning-driven software are being used to optimise routes. Robotic technologies SkyrobTM are emerging for high-risk operations ensuring safety and speed. SkyrobTM ensured the installation of Optical Ground Wire (OPGW) on high voltage power transmission lines under energized (‘live-line’) conditions.
Fiberisation over existing EHV transmission lines, like the massive deployment of fibre-based communication at 132 kV and above for a resilient grid. Products aimed at the renewables segment like a ‘low-loss conductor’ can substantially reduce I²R losses in the transmission line and subsequently contribute to lowering emission of greenhouse gases.
2022: The year that will be
Our products sub-unit manufactures and supplies a portfolio of overhead and underground products, including – high-performance conductors, extra-high voltage (EHV) cables, and optical ground wire (OPGW). We export our products internationally. According to CRISIL Research, we had the second-largest market share (approximately 21 percent) for power conductors in FY2020. Further, our Master System Integration (MSI) subunit is a provider of specialty contracting services, delivering bespoke solutions for the upgrade and uprate of Brownfield transmission infrastructure projects. We also offer EHV turnkey services including cable laying and substation development.
As part of our approach to business operations, we seek to lead the way in the adoption of best practices in the power transmission industry. Further, we always endeavour to seamlessly integrate technology and innovation across the lifecycle of our projects, which provides a significant competitive advantage and allows us to complete complicated and time-critical projects.
Key Trends Driving the Growth
India’s commitment in COP 26 summit was hailed worldwide when Prime Minister Narendra Modi talked about achieving the net zero emissions target by 2070. A significant step towards this is the commitment towards adopting 500GW of RE capacities by 2030. With this strong thrust on RE, all associate sectors and especially transmission will see substantial investments. RE is going to be the game-changer. As per the Report of the Task Force at Department of Economic Affairs Ministry of Finance Government of India titled ‘National Infrastructure Pipeline (DEA, National Infrastructure Pipeline)’, total capital expenditure of INR 14 lakh crore in power (including INR 3-4 lakh crore in transmission) would be required over fiscals 2020 to 2025 on power projects. In this context, associated sectors including transmission will see substantial investments.
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Additionally, The National Committee on Transmission, which oversees transmission planning and also draws up perspective plans has been tremendously active. In recent meetings, multiple projects have been approved. Given the visibility, we see a total transmission pipeline of INR 70,000 crore.