In her first budget speech, the Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, has made a historic proposal about one nation, one grid in the power sector. While elucidating about the current power situation in India and the steps taken by the present government to resolve the problems in the power sector, she also spoke about the “one nation, one grid” plan so that affordable power can be made available to the states. She said that the nation already has one nation, one card and now she is proposing one nation, one gird.
While many media outlets have carried out reports about the announcement of this proposal, it is important to understand what the “one nation, one grid” plan truly means and how it is going to bring about a sea change in the power sector of the country. It must be noted that currently the country is divided into five regional power grids. The concept of unifying the regional grids and formation of a single national grid dates back to the 1990s. The process of integration initially began with asynchronous HVDC back-to-back inter-regional links which facilitated the limited exchange of regulated power. This was later upgraded into high capacity synchronous links.
Initially, the inter-linking of the regional grids was planned with the idea of exchanging operational surpluses. However, with the passage of time, the object behind the inter-linking of regional grids has seen a major modification from Regional self-sufficiency to National basis. Therefore, inter-regional links were planned with the object of establishing generation projects having beneficiaries across regional boundaries. The total inter-regional power transmission capacity has witnessed a tremendous enhancement over the recent past. It is important to mention here that by the end of the 12th five-year plan, the country had an inter-regional transmission capacity of about 75,050 MW. Now, it is expected to stand somewhere around 1,18,050 MW by the end of the 13th five-year plan.
One Nation, One Grid will synchronously link all the regional grids of the country and there will be a single national frequency. Synchronisation of all the regional grids in the country will help in optimal utilisation of power resources in the country by ensuring that resources-rich regions can generate power for regions having high power demand. One nation, one grid will help in standardisation and unification of the power sector in the country. It will ensure that regional disparities on account of variable power demand and resources across the country can be adequately tackled by ensuring that regions having high potential for power generation can be utilised for providing power to pockets deficient in power availability. This will go a long way in ensuring a fair and equitable availability of power across the length and breadth of the country. This will also ensure the establishment of a vibrant electricity market in the country facilitating seamless trade of power across different regions of the country.
This is not for the first time that the Modi government has reiterated its commitment towards one nation, one grid. Even during the first tenure of the Modi government, in 2016, the then Minister of State (IC) for Power, Coal and New & Renewable Energy, Piyush Goyal had spoken about the government’s commitment towards achieving one nation, one grid, and one price. Therefore, it seems that the Modi government is getting closer in achieving the mission of one nation, one grid that it had set for itself. With this, the power sector of India is set to take a huge leap in the right direction into a completely new era.