P.K. Jena IAS
With its long coastline vulnerable to severe tropical cyclones, Odisha has firmed up plans to put in place a disaster-resilient power infrastructure system.
Estimated to cost Rs 19000 crore and with an implementation period spanning three years, the ambitious project will ensure swift restoration of power after an intense cyclone strikes the coast.
Driving the initiative is PK Jena, Additional Chief Secretary, Special Relief Commissioner and Managing Director with the Odisha State Disaster Management Authority (OSDMA).
Interestingly, it was Jena who during his stint as the energy secretary had initiated the baby steps to implement a disaster-proof power system. He had conceptualised the project after the coast of southern Odisha was pounded by a colossal cyclonic storm Fani on October 12, 2013.
The massive cyclone had ripped apart Odisha’s power transmission system, exposing the gaping holes in its infrastructure and maintenance. Certain parts of Ganjam district were plunged into darkness for over four weeks.
In the latest scheme of things, Jena has suggested making the overhead cabling and poles resilient against the wind speed of 300 km per hour. Jena said the highest recorded wind speed during cyclones in the South Asia region is around 315 kilometres per hour.
It has been decided that underground cabling would be done in town areas and cyclone resilient overhead cabling would be done in rural areas. The bare conductors would be converted to insulated and bunched conductors.
The DP mounted substations would be converted either to compact or to retrofitting substations as per the suitability. All 220, KV 132 KV, 33 KV and 11 KV lines would be converted and made resilient.
Gas Insulated ‘H’ type structures would be raised for 33 and 11 KV lines. An estimate of around Rs 19,000 crore was prepared for both these phases.
Gagan Swain, Director (Finance), GRIDCO apprised that the incubation period for the project would be three years after necessary approval from Government of India. The resilient power system will yield a number of benefits like quick restoration of power supply after a disaster.
Its high resilience to wind pressure will save the loss of public property caused by repeated cyclones. It also will reduce the chances of accidents, cater to demand growth and will contain the extent of transmission & distribution (T&D) loss.