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Powergrid capex may cross Rs 10000 crore threshold in 2023-24

Part-I

By Special Correspondent:  Powergrid, the state-run transmission major, is likely to notch a 12-15 per cent jump over its budgeted capital expenditure of Rs 8600 crore to touch or even cross a record Rs 10000 cr mark during the current financial year. The company had registered a capex of Rs 9212 crore in the financial year ending March 2023. 

According to a senior official, the capex number will be much more than what Powergrid had budgeted for, due to the flurry of activities in the power sector, both in the conventional and renewable energies.  

“Electricity is going to be the mainstay in the Indian energymix by the year 2030, which is currently dominated by the fossil fuels. The Government has given a major thrust on the alternate energy which is going to soar from the existing 150 Gigawatts to 500 GW by the end of 2030,” said the official, adding, “This has opened up a plethora of opportunities in the entire power value chain including Transmission sector.  

Apart from renewables, the conventional power has also recorded a massive 60 GW of additional capacity in 2023, which is the highest in the last three fiscals. “ And when any additional capacity comes to the system, the transmission capacity is also accordingly ramped up. Be the largest player in this industry, Powergrid is adding new transmission grids to evacuate and transport the entire power, produced by the generation companies,” he said. 

The company currently owns and operates 174000 circuit kilometres (CKM) of transmission line, 270 substations and having a transmission capacity of 493,042 MVA. The transmission network is set to cross the milestone of 200,000 CKM within a very short span of time, the official further pointed out.

The company, he says, is set to have a quantum jump in the transmission capacity because of the market throwing up a fresh opportunity of Rs 1,40,000 crore over next five years mainly through TPCB ( Tariff Based Competitive Bidding). Accordingly, Powergrid’s capex will increase quite sharply from 2025 onward to cross Rs 20000 crore annually, sources said. 

During the current financial year, two major contracts have already been on the finalisation stage and a couple of other contracts are also in the pipeline for the short-term execution, sources said.  

According to a market analyst, the capex of the third largest public sector undertaking will see a 50 per cent jump to Rs 15000 crore in the next financial year. The company is set to invest Rs 1,88,000 crore in the next 10 years, out of which Rs 1,78,000 crore will go to the transmission network. 

Another senior official of Powergrid said the company was very confident on the soaring capacity of solar power from 2025 particularly because of the price rationalisation of storage batteries in the global market. “Once that happens, the capacity additions will see a phenomenal jump.”

Although the company has been growing at a reasonable pace, it seems to have decided to keep a low profile, even avoiding media. A questionnaire to the company to reconfirm all the numbers and project details remain unanswered despite several reminders. ……To be continued…

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