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India's PowerGrid and a clutch of 35 domestic electrical equipment manufacturers have jointly developed a system for transmitting bulk power with a force of 1,200kV (kilovolts), beating members of an exclusive club of six economies in the high-voltage transmission technology game.
To put things in perspective, the new system's transmission force is 5,454 times more than that of domestic power supply and 48 times more than the voltage - 25kV, or 25,000 volts - at which electricity is supplied to locomotives through overhead wires.
Ratings of 1,000kV and above qualify as 'ultra-high voltage (UHV)' and UHVAC (ultra-high voltage alternate current) systems allow more power to be pushed through a line to make more efficient use of infrastructure and reduce costs. Globally, most of the transmission networks are rated at 400-800kV, described as 'high voltage'.
"Our UHVAC system is completely 'made in India'. Its carrying capacity is 6,000MW per circuit (line). This is equivalent to 10-12 circuits of 400kV or 2-3 circuits of 800kV AC lines. Adoption of 1,200kV transmission system with nominal voltage of 1,150kV allows 20% to 30% additional capacity compared to nominal voltage of 1,000kV adopted by other countries," PowerGrid chairman Indu Shekhar Jha told TOI.
Two lines connecting PowerGrid's national UHVAC testing station between Bina in MP and Wardha in Maharashtra have been successfully reconfigured to 1,200kV rating using equipment manufactured by Bhel, CGL and Indian arms of ABB, Toshiba, Siemens and Crompton Greaves, among others. The first commercial UHVAC line is coming up between Satna and Wardha, covering a distance of 400km.
"The testing station will give confidence to more Indian equipment manufacturers to get into the UHVAC segment, creating a domestic ecosystem. Indian industry is now in the elite club of UHVAC equipment manufacturers owing to this test station," Jha said.
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