Power ministry asks state governments to prepare grid islanding plans for all cities

The power ministry has advised all states to have a power system islanding mechanism in place for big cities with the aim of avoiding situations like the grid collapse in Mumbai last year, a senior official told ET.

Through the islanding mechanism, states facing grid disturbances can isolate parts of their power system to ensure uninterrupted supply of electricity for essential services.

The ministry has also asked the states to explore the need for setting up exclusive power plants or large storage systems around cities to handle such emergencies, the official cited earlier said.

“The power ministry has directed designing islanding schemes for all major cities and also asked them to submit proposals if there is a need for installation of power plants or storage systems in or around the cities,” the official said. However, the ministry has emphasised use of existing generating stations, including stressed assets, in the islanding mechanism.

The islanding mechanism should cover the strategic and essential load of all locations, the ministry has said.

According to sources, in view of the power outage in Mumbai in October 2020, the Cabinet secretariat has asked the power ministry to prepare a crisis management plan.

The October 2020 power breakdown in Mumbai had brought the city to a halt and also affected the areas around it, despite there being a unique islanding scheme in place. After the outage,

had said it would review its islanding plan, which was put in place for the city in 1981.

A committee formed by the Central Electricity Authority to investigate the outage recommended addition of electricity generation capacity for Mumbai’s own consumption and reduction in dependence on power from outside the city.

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“Considering the importance of the Mumbai system, state transmission utility in line with the future scenario, may suitably plan to maximise embedded generation against the need to import power from grid as a part of long-term plan,” the CEA said, noting that the city’s power units account for only 50% of its peak demand.

The CEA said in its report that inadequacy of the transmission network is likely to hamper the security of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region grid in case of disruptions.

A similar power system islanding plan for the national capital has been in the works for long. The country’s largest power producer,

, has suggested dedicating some of its gas-based and coal-fuelled power units around Delhi to create the islanding system.


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