1,000 MW alternate transmission line to bring more power to J&K
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1,000 MW alternate transmission line to bring more power to J&K

The 414 km transmission line is expected to augment the state’s power transmission capacity by atleast 33%.

india Updated: Oct 12, 2018 14:06 IST
Ashiq Hussain
Ashiq Hussain
Hindustan Times
jammu and kashmir,northern grid,national grid
Transmission tower on the Pir Panjal range in Jammu and Kashmir. (Waseem Andrabi /HT)

Cutting through the snow-covered mountain peaks, gushing streams and dense pine forests, an alternative 1000 megawatt (MW) power transmission line was laid down in Jammu and Kashmir, expected to provide much-awaited relief to the perennial problem of power-cuts in the state.

After four years of arduous work, the 400 Kilovolt (KV) transmission line will provide an alternate power exchange route between Northern Grid and the State.

Earlier, the State was connected with the Northern Grid only through Kishenpur-Moga transmission line, passing through Pir Panjal range towards Wagoora and Wanpoh in Kashmir. Depended on a single link, the State would witness total darkness in case of any fault in the line.

Augmenting infrastructure

Starting from Punjab’s Jalandhar towards Sambha in Jammu, the new line passes through the other face of Pir Panjal, famously known as Mughal road, which connects Jammu’s Poonch with Kashmir’s Shopian and ultimately reaches Amargarh in Sopore.

“This new line gives us an independent source of power in case the old transmission lines are down or get damaged due to snow avalanches. The line also passes from a different geography, covering more area,” said power development department (PDD) chief engineer (system & operation) Javaid Yousuf.

The 414 km transmission line which passes through 1000 villages in 11 districts of the region, is expected to augment the state’s power transmission capacity by atleast 33% which would bring a significant change in people’s lives, said Yousuf.

Bringing down power deficiency

For a 24x7 uninterrupted electricity supply, the state needs around 2500 MW of power. However, the power situation in the state remains deficit as it is able to produce only 30 % within the state and procures the remaining 70 % through Northern Grid from NHPC which id able to produce around 2340 MW of power from the state’s water sources.

The situation is aggravated in winters when the water level in rivers decreases, reducing the local power production. For almost four months, the valley witnesses 10-12 hours of power cuts amid sub-zero temperature. Moreover, the weather damages the transmission lines which lead to blackouts in the state for several days altogether.

“Our power situation is going to improve a lot due to this transmission line. Logo ko bohat rahat milegi (People will benefit a lot),” Yousuf said.

Project completed two months ahead of schedule

In 2014, under the Northern Region System Strengthening (NRSS) project, the Union ministry had tasked Mumbai-based electric transmission development company Sterlite Power to install the transmission towers in one of most geographically hostile areas of the country.

“We completed the project in August this year, two months ahead of schedule, despite a small working window of 4-5 months every year due to snow and hostile weather conditions in Kashmir,” said Sterlite’s chief operating officer, Sanjay Johari.

Over 1,140 towers were erected in some of the most challenging terrains of Pir Panjal mountain range with over 11000 feet height amid below sub-zero temperature.

Aircrane helicopters deployed

Overcoming the grid expansion challenge, in a first of its kind move, the company used helicopters to install the transmission tower across difficult terrain.

“We used helicranes to transport and airdrop nearly 80 towers in the mountains for 3-km stretch, therefore, were able to finish the project ahead of schedule,” said Johari.

The new transmission line comes with an advantage as well. Unlike the earlier lines, it can be monitored with the help of supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system which would help the officials discover the faults and hence provide speedy renovations.

“This system allows us to identify failure easily, monitor it remotely and then send our helicopter teams to rectify it,” Johari said.

Need sub-grid stations

The state won’t be able to fully benefit from the new line unless there are sub-grid stations in the state. A sub-grid station, including transformers, is an essential part of the electricity distribution system to the consumers.

“We need grid augmentation to use the power from the new line,” said PDD chief engineer Hashmat Qazi.

“We are waiting for the Alastaing grid station to be completed by the end of this year. Another grid station at Delina at Baramulla is also being augmented. We would be able to distribute electricity only when our local networks improve,” he said.

First Published: Oct 12, 2018 12:44 IST