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Home News Power Sector News Power sector PSUs to set up power equipment testing facility

Power sector PSUs to set up power equipment testing facility

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Power Equipment TestingFour Central public sector undertakings — National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC), National Hydro Power Corporation (NHPC), Power Grid Corporation of India (PGCIL) and Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) — signed an agreement to set up a high power testing laboratory for testing equipment as per world standards.In an attempt to cut down the delays in power projects caused by the lack of a proper equipment testing facility in India, the power ministry has got four Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) to form a joint venture to set up a domestic testing facility.

The facility will require an investment of around Rs 200 crore and the four PSUs — NTPC, NHPC, PowerGrid and DVC — will contribute equally in the venture.

“The joint venture company will be incorporated by the month-end,” said RS Sharma, chairman and managing director of NTPC Ltd, the country’s largest power generator.

At a time when the demand for power in India is projected to rise to 1,000 billion units (BUs) by 2012, as against 730 BUs at present, the country does not have a higher-range testing facility for power equipment like transformers. Manufacturers like state-run Bharat Heavy Electronics Ltd (BHEL) have to send their equipment to the Netherlands for testing.

This process, experts say, delays transmission projects where transformers form an integral part of the system. India plans to triple its inter-regional power transmission capacity in the current Plan period ending March 2012.

“The unavailability of a testing facility for transformers can severely impact the transmission targets for the current Plan period,” said K Ravi Kumar, chairman and managing director, BHEL, one of the largest manufacturers of power transformers in India, which occupies about 40 per cent of the domestic power transformer market.

Transformers play a key role in maintaining the voltage level in transmission, which in turn affects the power available to consumers. While Indian manufacturers like BHEL are manufacturing power transformers of up to 400 kilovolt (Kv) class, a shift to the planned higher 800 kv class transformers will require adequate testing facilities too.

With the new testing facility coming up soon, the ministry expects to fast-track its plans for laying down adequate transmission infrastructure with the help of the four PSUs.

At present, all high-capacity transformers installed in India — above 90 Milli Volt Ampere (MVA) rating — are sent to KEMA, the Netherlands-based electrical equipment testing organisation, before being commissioned. This, however, leads to an average delay of 5-9 months in the commissioning schedule, according to Kumar.

India’s only testing facility at the Central Power Research Institute (CPRI) can only be used for routine testing of transformers. “Our transformer testing facilities are limited only to 90 MVA levels,” said PK Kognolkar, director general CPRI.

India’s ambitious plans to ramp up its power generation capacity multi-fold to cope with the average 14 per cent annual increase in the demand for power will require commissioning of higher-class transformers.

Source - Business standard

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