Now, a dedicated portal to oversee renewable power sector in India

The Central Electricity Authority (CEA), the apex technical body for the power sector, has set up a new division which will oversee day-to-day developments, capacity addition and grid integration of renewable power. With the share of renewable power in the country’s energy generation increasing, the CEA plans to put out daily data on green power, as it does for thermal, hydro power and coal-based power, said a power ministry official.

In order to map the intermittent solar and wind energy, the CEA will source data from the Renewable Energy Management Centres (REMCs), which are being set up across the country. These centres will collect data, help in integrating renewable energy with the grid, and maintain grid balance in the area. It is a first such attempt to bring all renewable energy generation control operations under a standardised framework, consistent across all states and regions in real time.

Power is transmitted across regions through high-tension electricity lines that are managed from the back-end. This entire infrastructure constitutes grids that can lose stability if power source is intermittent and its flow is not planned.

The CEA in 2017 envisaged to set up one REMC each in the south, west and north regions along the resource-rich states. There are 11 REMCs across the country. Officials said the west and south REMC are functioning well and they will take regular data from them.

Bengaluru-based REConnect Energy, which provides the forecasting and scheduling systems to the REMCs, said these centers would also facilitate large-scale evacuation of intermittent wind and solar power.

“The major hurdle in the successful integration of renewable energy is the difference in the actual and forecast energy generation. This impacts the planning of the whole system, including backing down or increasing conventional energy in the grid to balance renewable. REMCs will assist in handling this issue,” said a power ministry official.

To bring about large-scale renewable evacuation, REMCs will act as the nodal point for all renewable generators to schedule their generation via a dedicated scheduling system, REMC executives said.

“Best-in-class forecasting and standardised real-time scheduling framework will enable grid operators to look into the future and make efficient real-time decisions integrating renewables without compromising on grid stability,” said Madhusudan Chakrapani, chief technology officer, REConnect Energy. 

India’s current renewable power capacity stands at 78,316.39 Mw, which includes 35,625.97 Mw of wind power and 26,384.30 Mw of solar. On May 1, renewable energy was 12 per cent of the total power generation in the country, which is a record, said officials.

In terms of million units of energy production, renewable has seen a 10 per cent growth over last year. The new division will also put out data on forecasting and scheduling of renewable energy, which is key to its integration in the grid and healthy energy mix.

“The CEA already has a sub-portal which tracks installed capacity sector, state- and fuel-wise. We have added renewable along with hydro, thermal and nuclear,” said another official.

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