PRESENT POWER POSITION IN INDIA
The present power position in India is alarming as there are major power shortages in almost all states of the country leading to crippling of industries and hundreds of thousands of people losing jobs and a heavy loss of production.
The overall power scene in the country shows heavy shortages almost in all states. The situation is going to be aggravated in coming years as the demand is increasing and the power industry is not keeping pace with the increasing demand.
Many of the states in India depend to a large extent on hydro generation. The increase in demand has far outstripped the installation of new plants. Also there is no central grid to distribute excess energy from one region to another. The experience in the operation of thermal plants is inadequate. All these have led to heavy shortages and severe hardship to people.
Very careful analysis of the problem and proper planning and execution is necessary to solve the power crisis in our country.
Suitable hydrothermal mix, proper phasing of construction of new plants, training personnel in maintenance of thermal plants.
FUTURE PLANNING FOR POWER GENERATION
Considering the importance of power industry in the overall development of the country, power sector has been given high priority in the country?s development plans. Energy sector alone accounts for about 29% of sixth plan investment. If investments in coal and oil transport and other infrastructures are taken into account, the total investment in the energy sector will account for about 40% of the plan investments. The fact alone is sufficient to exhibit the importance of power industry for the country?s development. From a mere Rs. 149 crores in the First Plan, the outlay for power during sixth plan period has increased to Rs. 15750 crores. The installed generating capacity has grown ten-fold from 2300 mW in 1951 to 25900 mW in 1978. Of this, 11000 mW was in hydel, 14000 mW in thermal and less than 1000 mW in nuclear power stations. The total number of power stations of 20 mW capacities and above at the end of March 1978, was 127, of which 65 were hydel, 60 thermal and 2 nuclear. Power generation rose from 7514 million kWh in 1950?51 to 103754 million kWh in 1978?79, i.e., nearly 15 times. The total users of electricity have risen from 15 lakhs in 1950 to 2641akhs in 1978?79. The per capita consumption of electricity rose from 18 kWh in 1950?51 to 121 kWh in 1978?79.
In spite of these measures, this industry is unable to meet the demands. Power shortages have become a recurrent feature in the country. Against an estimated requirement of 108656 million kWh in 1978-79, the actual availability was only a 97588 million kWh a deficit of about 11070 million kWh or 10.2?C.
With the programme of large-scale industrialization and increased agricultural activity, the de-mand for power in the country is increasing at a rapid rate. If the present trend continues, the demand for power by the end of year 2000 would be about 125 to 150 million kW. Allowing for adequate reserve margins required for scheduled maintenance, a total generating capacity of about 175 to 200 million kW would be needed by the year 2000 to meet the anticipated demands. This would mean 8 to 10 fold increase of the existing capacity.
Only proper development of hydel, thermal and nuclear resources of the country can achieve the required growth. Out of total available hydel-potential (41,000 mW), only 16% has been developed, therefore there is sufficient scope to develop this source of power in future. The major hydel potential is available in the northern region. Even if all the hydel potential is developed, it will not be possible to meet the growing demand. Therefore, it is necessary to supplement the hydel potentials with thermal. The coal deposits are rich and ample, though in terms of per capita it is hardly 176 tonnes in India which is certainly poor compared with other countries as 1170 tonnes in China, 13500 tonnes in the U.S.A. and 22000 tonnes in the former U.S.S.R. The available coal is also unevenly distributed in the country (60?C only in Bihar and Bengal). This further requires the development of transportation facilities.
Therefore, it is also not possible to depend wholly on thermal power development. The consid-eration for the use of nuclear fuel for power production in future is equally essential particularly in those states, which are far away from coal resources and poor in hydel potential.
The future planning in the power development should aim at optimum exploitation of resources available so that power mix of hydel, thermal and nuclear is achieved.
Another step to be taken in the power development industry is setting up super-thermal power plants the central sector at different places in the country. The super-thermal power stations are at Farakka, Ramagundam, Korba and Singrauli and these are supplying power for the past 20 years. Presently all of them are supplying power through the national grid to deficit states.
In our country even 20 mW hydro potentials have not been developed, whereas it appears to be advantageous to develop even 20 kW units. Development of small hydro potentials as in China has, to a great extent, reduced the strain in existing plants.
The development of biogas can ease the strain on oil supply to domestic users, which can other-wise diverted to power generation.
Another suggestion to face the present alarming power situation in the country is Energy Planta-tion. India receives large amount of solar radiation and photosynthesis is the process by which solar energy is converted into food and fuel by green plants. Fast growing species of trees give a yield of about 15 to 35 tonnes/hectare/year. The land, which is presently not used either for agriculture or forest, can be used for energy plantation where average rainfall is 80 to 100 cm per annum. With present Forest Tech-nology, planned production forestry offers an unusual opportunity. If the forest area is increased from present 22 to 30%, increase in forest area is 30 million hectares of land) it can yield sufficient energy after next 20 years. The Government does not seriously think this phase of energy production but it looks a fruitful proposition.
As per the present planning of the Government, the problem of increased power demand will be solved only by proper mixed development of hydel, thermal and nuclear atleast during one more decade.
The severity of the power problem can be partly solved by the conservation of power. The effi-ciency hest thermal power plant is 35%. In India, it is hardly 25%. If auxiliary consumption and line loss are taken into account, the efficiency still goes to hardly 16%. The problem can be partly solved by proper maintenance and good quality of fuel supply.
The efficiency of the power plant operation is also defined as kWh generated per kW installed. The maximum kWh per annum per kW is 8760. The average figure in India is hardly 4000, which shows that the utilisation is only 45%. If this utilisation is increased, need for new capacity for power genera-tion will be reduced.
Increasing load factors can reduce the capacity of the power industry. The proper planning to develop hydel, thermal and nuclear resources in India in addition to measures taken to reduce outages and with proper load management will definitely go a long way in meeting the increasing power demand of the country.