Indo-Sri Lankan under sea transmission project hits roadblocks

PowerGrid Corp & Sri Lankan authorities in the midst to work out solutions

Sanjay Jog Mumbai
State-run PowerGrid Corporation's much debated 285-kilometer (km) undersea power transmission line between India and Sri Lanka has hit technical and religious roadblocks. The project, which was proposed way back in 2007-08 during the chairmanship of RP Singh, was earlier planned to be complete in the current year. However, the technical problems relating to the length of the cable, high project cost and religious places around the two connecting points are issues both India and Sri Lanka are yet to resolve. The project is expected to transfer 1,000 MW of power from India to Sri Lanka.

PowerGrid Corporation official, who did not want to be identified, told Business Standard " The under sea power transmission project is proposed between Madurai in Tamilnadu and Anuradhapura in the north central province of Sri Lanka. There are technical and non technical issues which are yet to be resolved by both the countries. As the transmission line will be passing under the sea the length needs to be reduced. There is a religious sensitivity also which needs to be taken care of as there are religious places situated at the connecting centres of two countries." He informed that it has been PowerGrid's attempt to develop the project with an investment of Rs 3,000 crore.

According to the official, the proposed under sea transmission line will be high voltage direct current (HVDC). Two HVDC terminal stations will be set up at the two ends of the transmission link, which will be connected to Sri Lanka's national power grid.

The official said series of meetings between PowerGrid Corporation and Ceylon Electricity Board have taken place. However, he admitted that efforts are underway to sort of technical and non technical issues to kick start the project.PowerGrid Corporation has already conducted a feasibility study and the joint steering committee is currently overseeing the project. The task force has also been formed to study the feasibility report and put forth its recommendations to the joint steering committee.

Meanwhile, PowerGrid Corporation has proposed Desert Power India 2050 project. "The company chairman RN Nayak said "PowerGrid Corporation proposes to play a role of enabler so that the solar project generated in deserts situated in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir will be evacuated and supplied to other parts of country. These deserts comprising barren lands will be used to set up solar projects and can generate more than 1 lakh megawatt of power depending on the use of these land parcles." He informed that the PowerGrid Croporation will carry out a detailed study with the respective state governments to assess renewable potential in deserts and identification of technology and infrastructure development.

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First Published: May 30 2013 | 4:34 PM IST

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