Green Cables for Transmission Lines
Union Power Ministry and Central Electricity Authority (CEA) are working on greener options in electricity transmission cables as alternative to widely used lead based cables. Soon the ministry will release guidelines aimed at increasing use of aluminium to protect environment from the ill-effects of lead-based power transmission cables. Aluminium-based cable sheaths are greener and cheaper compared to lead.
Need for greener cables
- According to World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates, 240 million people globally are overexposed to lead poisoning.
- Electricity transmission cables having Lead are environmental hazard and poisonous.
- Lead-based metallic sheath are used in power cables for earthing and anti-corrosion purposes contributes to 35-48% of weight of cables.
- Single kilometer of cable, which weighs around 20 tonne/km has lead content of almost 8 tonne/km.
- The underground power cables have average life span of 25-30 years and once they are laid they are never dismantled.
- Lead from these underground cables seep into soil, water-tables and ecosystem adding to environmental damage.
The manufacturers of lead-based power cables also have capability to manufacture non-lead-based alternatives. But currently, there is no push for greener options due to lack of government directive on this. Power cable manufacturers need to be encouraged for innovating more and proved alternatives as rugged and reliable as lead sheathed cables.
Government Initiatives To Improve Power Sector
The Government has taken several initiatives to improve the performance in major infrastructure sectors. Five major initiatives taken in the power sector are given below.
- Automatic approval of Foreign Direct Investment
Automatic approval for 100% foreign equity is permitted in generation, transmission and distribution, and trading in the power sector without any upper ceiling on the quantum of investment.
- Signing of Fuel Supply Agreements
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has issued a directive to the Ministry of Coal/Coal India Limited to sign fuel supply agreements (FSAs) for a total capacity of 78,000 MW, including tapering linkage, which are likely to be commissioned by March, 2015.
- Pass-Through mechanism
Pass-through mechanism for the concluded Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) has been approved by the CCEA.
- Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana
Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana for electricity feeder separation and strengthening sub-transmission and distribution systems in rural areas has been launched.
The scheme provides for (a) separation of agriculture and non-agriculture feeders; (b) strengthening and augmentation of sub-transmission and distribution infrastructure in rural areas including metering at distribution transformers, feeders and consumers end; and (c) rural electrification.
- Ultra Mega Solar Power
Ultra Mega Solar Power projects in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, and Laddakh in J&K have been announced.
Preparation of state specific action plans for ‘24X7 Power for All’ covering adequacy of generation, transmission capacity and distribution system. ‘24X7 Power for All’ documents have been signed for 35 States/UTs.
- Integrated Power Development Scheme (IPDS)
Launching of Integrated Power Development Scheme (IPDS) for urban areas: The scheme provides for (a) strengthening of sub-transmission and distribution networks in urban areas; (b) metering of distribution transformers/feeders/consumers in urban areas; and (c) IT enablement of distribution sector and strengthening of distribution network.
- Power System Development Fund (PSDF)
Operationalization of Power System Development Fund (PSDF): PSDF shall be utilized for the project proposed by distribution utilities for (a) creating necessary transmission system of strategic importance; (b) installation of shunt capacitors etc. for improvement of voltage profile in the grid; (c) installation of standard and special protection schemes; and (d) Renovation and Modernisation of transmission and distribution systems for relieving congestion; etc.
- Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana (UDAY)
The scheme has been launched for operational and financial turnaround of Discoms.
- Measures initiated for reducing the generation cost of coal based power projects:
(a) Increasing supply of domestic coal;
(b) Coal usage flexibility
(c) Rationalisation of coal linkages
10.Standard Bidding Documents (SBDs) have been developed for carrying out competitive bidding for procurement of power and transmission services.