Dilemma of Pakistan’s electrical power transmission & distribution system

Dilemma of Pakistan’s electrical power transmission, Despite the fact that total installed generation capacity of 38,719 MW is much more than the peak demand of 25,068 MW (CCPA-G), many metropolitan areas in Pakistan are continuing to face the issue pertaining to un-announced or forced loadshedding, for which the most common reason is the overloading of transmission and distribution lines.

Dilemma of Pakistans electrical power transmission & distribution system

As per NEPRA’s State of Industry Report (FY 2020), the number of forced trippings of 132kV transmission lines in LESCO was recorded as many as 3,033 times (with an accumulative duration of 76,678 mins). Around 30% of these forced trippings are due to the overloading of transmission lines during peak hours. With the increase in the population of major metropolitan areas, not only we are seeing an increase in electricity demand, but it is also getting progressively difficult for the distribution companies to lay down new transmission and distribution lines. This is primarily because it has become extremely challenging to install new transmission lines, owing to congestion in populated areas. Dilemma of Pakistan’s electrical power , The only viable solution to work through this situation is to increase the transmission capacity of existing transmission lines. Overloaded transmission and distribution lines have not only caused forced load shedding but these are contributing to increased line losses, which are in turn becoming a part of the ever-increasing circular debt. As per NEPRAs State of Industry Report (FY 2020), total distribution losses in CPPA-G System are around 18%, out of which 50% are because of theft or non-recovery, whereas 50% are technical line losses. With the use of high temperature low sag (HTLS) category efficient conductors, not only is the capacity of transmission and distribution lines increased but the technical line losses could also bereduced significantly. If the efficient conductors are adopted for Extra High Voltage Transmission Lines of National Transmission and Despatch Company (NTDC), it could not only save huge amounts to national exchequer in terms of saving in line losses, rather it would also provide opportunity to NTDC for generating additional revenues by transmitting almost double the power through the same structures (towers), same right of ways and corridors. The solution is available through tried and tested technology across the world, which is also available in Pakistan since 2017.

Efficient and proven conductor technologies are in place around the globe, under the umbrella of high temperature low sag (HTLS) conductor. This can double the transmission capacity of existing transmission lines using the same structure and thereby debottlenecking the transmission and distribution network which is plagued by congested and overloaded lines. By some accounts, one such solution known as ACCC® that uses US patented technology, has been successfully rolled out in 250+ countries with 110,000 kilometers installed and in operational. Emerging markets that face similar grid related issues to Pakistan, such as China, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Bangladesh etc. have been quick to adopt the technology immediately realizing its benefits and saving billions of dollars by reducing line losses. However, Pakistan, due to its bureaucratic approach to adopting new technology has been left behind at its own detriment. ACCC, being an efficient conductor is proven to substantially reduce CO2 emissions associated with line losses. Based on the International Energy Agency’s “Global Energy & CO2 Status Report of March 2019”, which reports that the average CO2 emissions created from all combined sources of generation is 475 grams per kWh, the ACCC Conductor is currently reducing CO2 emission by over 2.6 million metric tons per year. The cumulative CO2 reductions saved via the use of ACCC Conductor exceeds 12 million metric tons. SCS Global Services (SCS), an international leader in third-party certification, validation, and verification for environmental, sustainability, and food safety and quality performance claims, conducted an assessment to compare the line losses and CO2 emissions associated with ACCC Conductors and conventional conductors. Based on SCS’s findings, the ACCC technology in lieu of conventional conductors will reduce line losses and associated CO2 emissions by 27-31%. Although the actual CO2 benefit will vary on a project-by-project basis, installation of ACCC Technology clearly provides a way to reduce CO2 emissions from transmission line losses, while full utilization of existing ROWs is an added advantage. Dilemma of Pakistan’s electrical power , The global financing/donor agencies are providing special financing arrangements for the projects with reduced CO2 emissions, hence using efficient conductors like ACCC would provide opportunities to GoP to attract green financing through green bonds, for transmission lines projects which are currently being financed at much higher rates.

HTLS category ACCC conductors also improves the sag of transmission lines, hence providing better clearance of transmission lines in densely populated areas, where transmission lines are dangerously close to the residential buildings. An installation of ACCC in KotAddu, is an example of similar nature, where there had been an accident and a school girl died due to electrocution from 132kV transmission line passing by too close to school roof. The school was closed since that incident. This is very shocking and this loss is irrecoverable, but with the installation of efficient ACCC conductor on the same transmission line has improved the Sag of transmission line, hence providing clearance up to safety limitsto avoid any tragic incident and making the school safe for operation again. Issues Faced for Adaption of Innovative Technology, which are required to be highlighted: Dilemma of Pakistan’s electrical power , HTLS category efficient conductor is already in place in Pakistan and two projects are completed using ACCC conductors (US based HTLS Conductor) and local manufacturing industry (Pakistan Cables Limited) have also established the facility for production of efficient conductors (ACCC). Despite of all the benefits that can be obtained using efficient conductors in transmission and distribution system, the dilemma of the overall public procurement process in Pakistan is low price syndrome that forces public sector organizations to opt for low priced technologies thereby ignoring the benefits over the life cycle of the efficient products with higher capital cost. Opting for the cheaper option totally ignores the value for money of a product after its installation in the system. It is imperative to align our public procurement process to give way to much needed new technologies in Pakistan as world in general and our region in particular is quickly shifting to these new technologies to meet their electricity demand.

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