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National Electricity Plan for 2022-27

GS Paper 3 

Syllabus: Infrastructure (Energy)

 

Source: IE

 Context: A new blueprint for the country’s power sector planners – the National Electricity Plan for 2022-27 – marks a discernible reversal in the policy.

 

The National Electricity Plan:

  • The Central Electricity Authority (CEA) must create a National Electricity Plan in line with the National Electricity Policy, according to the Electricity Act 2003, to –
    • Create short-term (every 5-year) and perspective plans (15 years)
    • Analyse the need for planning capacity expansion
    • Coordinate the efforts of different planning agencies to ensure that resources are used optimally
    • Support the needs of the country’s economy.
  • The 1st National Electricity Plan was published in 2007, the 2nd in 2013, and the third (2018) includes the detailed Plan for 2017–22 and the perspective Plan for 2022–27.

 

Key takeaways from the National Electricity Plan for 2022-27:

  • The fresh draft notes the need for an additional coal-based capacity of 28 GW by 2031-32, in addition to the 25 GW of coal-based capacity that is currently being built.
    • A rise in the coal-fired power plants’ plant load factor (PLF), from 55% in 2026-27 to 62% in 2031-32.
    • This is an obvious admission of the ground realities.
  • A predicted 51 GW to 84 GW battery storage need with a daily usage rate of 5 hours in a push for renewable energy by 2031-32.
    • Estimated at Rs. 10 crores per MW, this could equate to between Rs. 5 to 8 lakh crore in battery storage investments.

 

What marks a discernible reversal? The focus earlier was almost entirely on renewable energy for incremental capacity addition and fresh coal-fired capacity was virtually ruled out.

 

Concerns:

  • Continued reliance on old technology, and inflexible coalfired plants for base load capacity → do not promise robust reliability. For example, coal-fired thermal power plants of 200 MW series in India are more than 25 years old.
  • Uncertainty regarding the management of the renewables-dominated grid infrastructure. For example, due to hydropower’s and zero-inertia solar generators’ slow development, the inertia that provides stability to the grid has been decreasing.
  • There is no evaluation of the ramping rate for thermal plants under different solar generation scenarios.
  • There is inadequate funding for the development of battery storage.

 

Way ahead (as per the National Electricity Plan for 2022-27):

  • Battery Energy Storage systems (BESS) based on Lithium-ion batteries:
  • Advantages → cost-effective, balance the grid against load fluctuations/intermittency in generation → energy storage can provide energy time-shifting.
  • The hybrid generation models: This will enable a shift to solar energy and provide backup power.
  • The water-based systems: In these systems water is raised to the reservoir during charging, and when it is discharged, it produces energy.
    • The closed water cycle has a 70% water cycle efficacy and 6% evaporation loss.
    • They are economical as no barrage on the river is required.

 

Insta Links:

What is missing in the draft national electricity policy