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INDIA’S INTEGRATED POWER SECTOR: OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES

By: Prof. S. D. Jawale (suhasjawale@jnec.ac.in)
Date: 22nd Sept 2021

Rapid growth of India’s economy is supplemented by the development of Indian energy and power sector. The power sector in India has made incredible progress in last few decades. The total installed capacity has increased to more than 350 GW in 2021 and the transmission & distribution network has increased from small residential and industrial areas to form National Grid. However, the supply of electricity has always been lagging behind the demand. The electricity has a key role to play in progress of the nation and in order to enhance the development of power system; Indian government has started various organizations e.g. Power Grid Corporation Limited (PGCL), National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC), National Hydro-Electric Power Corporation (NHPC) and State Electricity Boards (SEB) etc. However, still the India is not fulfilling power or demand to the new upcoming power network.


Highlights of Indian power sector:

  • Access to electricity (% of population) at 97.82%
  • 6% to 8 % GDP growth rate
  • Rank 5th in energy producer of the world
  • Ranks 3rd in energy consumption

Now, the power sector in India is going through a rapid change in terms of the technology, and we cannot deny the change that technology has brought to both the power sector and our lives. We see the adoption of Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Big data in advancing the development of power sector. We witnessed this technology advancement when The Hon’ble Prime Minister of India appealed to the citizens on 3rd April 2020 to switch off their lighting system at 9 pm on 5th April 2020 for 9 minutes. Then Power System Operation Corporation Limited (POSOCO) with the use of technology handled situation very efficiently as the anticipated reduction in all India demand during this period of 9 minutes was around 12000 – 14000MW which may cause fear of Grid failure by cascade tripping.

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Electrical Engineering department of Jawaharlal Nehru Engineering College (JNEC) has maintained the pace with this technological advancement of power sectors. New courses in are included in the engineering curriculum that will update the students with these technological advancements. For instance, concepts such as digitization of power plants which fundamentally means combining technology such as IoT (Internet of Things), AI (Artificial Intelligence) and Big Data with advanced hardware to deliver reliability, affordability and sustainability are core part of the newly designed curriculum.

Another example can be quoted is of new cable technology, which has widely adopted for overhead and underground transmission of electrical power owing to its superior safety, reliability and economic aspects. Newer technology has its own challenges also such as cyber attacks on energy infrastructures; rising demand for clean energy, growing requirement for reliable and secure global power supply etc. These challenges and its potential solutions are also covered in the curriculum.



Quality and safety of distribution networks and management information systems will be impacting the power sector in near future. Electrical safety & quality is approach which needs to be followed with consistency. In this regard, we follow the practice of utilizing safe and high quality instruments for students as per the applicable regulatory standards. We have formed a special Safety & Power Quality Cell where we have equipped our labs with latest instruments such as voltage-current sensing, Heat sensing and electrical monitoring systems along with safety tools for electrical safety and power quality inspection. This will help students in realizing the importance of following safety practices.

Approach has been shifted from ‘Chalta hai’ on quality education to ‘It is must to have advanced quality education’ and we as a part of MGM University, are equipping ourselves as significant stakeholder to help in managing this shift sooner than later.

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(Author is Assistant Professor from Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering of Jawaharlal Nehru Engineering College (JNEC) which is constituent college of MGM University, Aurangabad.)