Dilemma of Pakistan’s Electricity Transmission and Distribution System
Despite the fact that the total installed generation capacity of 38,719 MW is well above the peak demand of 25,068 MW (CCPA-G), many metropolitan areas in Pakistan continue to face the problem of unannounced or forced load shedding. , for which the most common reason is overloading of transmission and distribution lines. According to NEPRA’s State of the Industry Report (Fiscal Year 2020), the number of forced trips of 132 kV transmission lines at LESCO has been recorded up to 3,033 times (with a cumulative duration of 76,678 minutes). About 30% of these forced trips are due to overloaded transmission lines during peak hours.
With the increase in the population of large metropolitan areas, not only is there an increase in the demand for electricity, but it is also becoming more and more difficult for distribution companies to establish new transmission lines and distribution. This is mainly because it has become extremely difficult to install new transmission lines, due to congestion in populated areas. The only viable solution to overcome 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 they are contributing to increasing line losses, which in turn are part of ever-increasing circular debt. According to NEPRA’s State of the Industry Report (Fiscal Year 2020), total distribution losses in the CPPA-G system are approximately 18%, of which 50% is due to theft or non- recovery, while 50% are line technical losses. With the use of efficient High Temperature Low Sag (HTLS) grade conductors, not only the capacity of transmission and distribution lines is increased, but the technical line losses could also be reduced significantly. If the efficient conductors are adopted for the National Transmission and Dispatch Company (NTDC) extra high voltage transmission lines, it could not only save huge sums to the national treasury in terms of saving power losses line, but it would also give NTDC the opportunity to generate additional revenue by transmitting almost double the power through the same structures (pylons), rights of way and corridors.
The solution is available through globally proven technology which has also been available in Pakistan since 2017. Efficient and proven conductor technologies are in place worldwide under the umbrella of High Temperature Low Sag Conductor (HTLS). This can double the transmission capacity of existing transmission lines using the same structure and thereby relieve congestion in the transmission and distribution network which is plagued by congested and overloaded lines. Reportedly, such a solution known as ACCC® which uses technology patented in the United States, has been successfully deployed in over 250 countries with 110,000 kilometers installed and operational. Emerging markets facing similar network issues in Pakistan, such as China, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Bangladesh, etc. quickly adopted the technology, immediately realizing its benefits and saving billions of dollars by reducing line waste. However, Pakistan, due to its bureaucratic approach to adopting new technologies, has been left behind to its own detriment. The ACCC, being an efficient conductor, significantly reduces the CO2 emissions associated with line losses. Based on the International Energy Agency’s “Global Energy & CO2 Status Report of March 2019”, which states that the average CO2 emissions created from all generation sources combined is 475 grams per kWh, the ACCC driver currently reduces CO2 emissions by more than 2.6 million metric tons per year. Cumulative CO2 reductions from the use of the ACCC conductor exceed 12 million metric tons. SCS Global Services (SCS), a global leader in third-party certification, validation and verification of environmental performance, sustainability, food safety and quality claims, conducted an assessment to compare line losses and CO2 emissions associated with ACCC and conventional drivers. drivers. Based on SCS findings, ACCC technology instead of conventional conductors will reduce line losses and associated CO2 emissions by 27-31%. Although the actual CO2 benefits will vary from project to project, installing ACCC technology clearly offers a way to reduce CO2 emissions from transmission line losses, while using completeness of existing rights-of-way is an additional advantage.
Global funding agencies/donors offer special funding arrangements for low-carbon projects. Therefore, the use of efficient conductors like the ACCC would provide the GoP with the opportunity to attract green finance through green bonds, for transmission line projects which are currently financed at much higher rates. rates. HTLS-rated ACCC conductors also improve transmission line sag, providing better transmission line clearance in densely populated areas, where transmission lines are dangerously close to residential buildings. An ACCC facility in KotAddu is an example of a similar nature, where there was an accident and a schoolgirl died from electrocution caused by a 132 kV transmission line running too close to the roof of the school. The school had been closed since this incident. It is very shocking and this loss is unrecoverable, but with the installation of an effective ACCC conductor on the same transmission line, the sag of the transmission line has improved the sag of the transmission line, thus providing a clearance to safety limits to avoid any tragic incident and make the school safe for operation again. Problems encountered for the adaptation of innovative technologies, which must be highlighted:
The efficient HTLS grade conductor is already in place in Pakistan and two projects are completed using ACCC conductors (HTLS conductor based in USA) and the local manufacturing industry (Pakistan Cables Limited) has also established the production facility effective conductors (ACCC). Despite all the benefits that can be obtained by using efficient conductors in the transmission and distribution system, the dilemma of the overall public procurement process in Pakistan is the low price syndrome which compels public sector organizations to opt for low-cost technologies, thereby ignoring lifetime benefits. efficient product cycle with higher capital cost. Going for the cheapest option completely ignores the value for money of a product after it is installed in the system. It is imperative to align our public procurement process to make room for the new technologies that are much needed in Pakistan as the world at large and our region in particular are rapidly turning to these new technologies to meet their electricity demand.
— Javed Rao is a