J&K Power Crisis: Addressing Challenges and Seeking Solutions
Table of Contents
Understanding the Power Deficit
The Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) is grappling with a severe power crisis, primarily attributed to a prolonged dry spell during the summer months, resulting in reduced power generation from local projects. With a demand of approximately 2,600 MW, the current supply stands at around 1,400 MW, supplemented by an additional 700 MW purchased from the National Power Exchange. Efforts to bridge this shortfall are underway, with the administration actively seeking solutions to alleviate the situation.
Impact of Reduced Generation Capacity
H. Rajesh Prasad, the principal secretary of the state Power Development Department (PDD), highlighted the adverse impact of the decreased water flow in rivers on the generation capacity of power projects, particularly the Baglihar project. From an initial generation capacity of 1,050 MW, the output plummeted to a mere 200 MW, severely affecting the overall power supply in the region. The decrease in power generation has led to a significant discrepancy between demand and supply, resulting in a substantial financial burden on the exchequer.
Struggles with Cost and Supply
The procurement of additional power from the National Power Exchange, priced at approximately Rs 7 per unit, has intensified the financial strain, especially when compared to the selling price of Rs 4.50 per unit. This disparity has resulted in significant monthly costs for the administration, estimated to be around Rs 750 crore, expected to rise to Rs 850 crore during the peak winter season. Balancing the financial burden while ensuring an uninterrupted power supply remains a critical challenge for the authorities.
Addressing the Crisis and Future Initiatives
Current Efforts and Mitigation Measures
Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha stressed the ongoing efforts to augment the power supply in the region, emphasizing the administration’s commitment to minimizing power cuts in metered areas. The government aims to optimize power distribution by enhancing metering under the Rural Electricity Distribution System Strengthening (RDSS) initiative. Additionally, the installation of smart meters in a significant number of households in Jammu and Srinagar cities is a step towards achieving greater efficiency and transparency in power consumption.
Future Strategies and Green Energy Integration
To address the long-term power deficit, the Union Cabinet’s approval of the phase-2 Green Energy Corridor (GEC) project and the Inter-State Transmission System (ISTS) for a 13 GW Renewable Energy Project in Ladakh holds significant promise. This project is expected to reduce J&K’s reliance on hydroelectric power while minimizing its carbon footprint. By integrating the Ladakh power transmission with the National Grid, the region will gain access to a more diversified and sustainable energy mix, fostering greater energy security in the long run.
Preparedness for Winter Challenges
In anticipation of the impending winter challenges, the administration has bolstered its winter preparedness activities. Modern snow clearance machinery has been introduced to ensure smooth operations during heavy snowfall. Additionally, adequate stocks of essential commodities such as ration, fuel, and medicines have been secured to meet the needs of the local population during the harsh winter months.
Despite the current challenges, the proactive measures taken by the J&K administration, in collaboration with the central government, underscore a concerted effort to address the power crisis while laying the groundwork for a more sustainable and resilient power infrastructure in the region.
Source: The Indian Express