Power Grid challenges on Sunday night
In his address to the nation on 3rd April 12 pm, Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked citizens to turn the lights off in their homes for 9 minutes on Sunday (5 April) starting at 9pm. Also to “stand at your doors or in you balconies, and light candles or diya, (or light) torches or mobile flashlights for 9 minutes" as a show of unity in the nation’s fight against covid-19 pandemic. While this is simple gesture for households to follow, the national electricity grid - which meets India’s power needs - has a lot of work to do maintain reliable power supply and demand match during and after this period. However this has lead to extra burden or a matter of concern for the Power ministry to overlook the problems that may arise on power grids. An electrical grid, electric grid or power grid, is an interconnected network for delivering electricity from producers to consumers. It consists of
- generating stations that produce electric power
- electrical substations for stepping electrical voltage up for transmission, or down for distribution
- high voltage transmission lines that carry power from distant sources to demand centre
- distribution lines that connect individual customers
The ministry is of a concern that a blackout may cause instability in the grid and also fluctuation in the voltage that may harm the electric appliances. Meanwhile the power ministry has assured of sufficient storage capacity of additional power and assured the citizen to follow the steps said by the Prime minister. Additionally the lights in the hospital and all other essential services like municipal services, hospitals, police station, public utilities and manufacturing facilities shall remain open it said. Moreover it is said that India will save a lot of electricity which can be further stored and utilized for various purposes in case of emergency if the storage capacities are adequately build as said by power ministry.
India has a base load power demand of roughly 160 giga-watts (GW), which is 160,000 megawatts (MW). Power System Operation Corporation Ltd (POSOCO), which is the national load despatch centre and operates the national electricity grid, predicts daily demand of power and regulates supply from power generators based on these predictions. In order to maintain the grid’s stability within a certain frequency (48.5- 51.5 hertz) and also we don’t have adequate electricity storage mechanisms, it is very important to maintain the supply and demand mechanism. During this 9-minute lights out initiative, about 10,000-12,000 MW of power demand is expected to vanish, according to estimates by power industry experts. A recent example of major shifts in power demand over a short time frame was on Janta Curfew of 22 March, when national power demand fell to 135GW, down 26GW from the 161GW demand on the previous day (21 March). That’s a difference of 26,000 MW handled successfully over a 24-hour period, a senior official in Ministry of Power
However the country had once gone into power grid failure in 2012, due to technical reason. However the current government has made India transmission network strong enough which are capable of handling large fluctuation in demand.