The power transmission sector across the world is witnessing paradigm shift on account of the changing power generation profile, altering need of electricity in terms of quantity and mode of generation among the end consumers, and technological changes in the entire power sector ecosystem, spurred by an implementation of digital technologies. The governments across the world have laid stress on improvising the power infrastructure in the wake of the growing scope of improvement, pertaining to operational efficiency in the power sector. Moreover, the expanding power markets and increasing trans-national power trading are leading to the increased requirement of resilient power transmission infrastructure. Apart from that, the aging power transmission infrastructure in a few countries is burgeoning the need to develop the power transmission network. The countries in the African region have been historically marred by inadequate power infrastructure due to lack of focus by the policymakers, poor planning, and the shortage of capital. However, in recent years, there have been certain initiatives taken to resurrect the power sector in a few countries, which is likely to drive the development of the power transmission sector in the future years.
The power generation industry is undergoing some remarkable transformations that include massive augmentation in renewable power plants, increasing thrust on distributed power generation system, real-time demand and supply management, and the introduction of decentralized storage capacity. In recent years, the focus has shifted from centralized power generation systems to localized power generation, which indicates a reduced requirement of bulk power transmission. However, the need for bulk power transmission is increasing due to the development of large power plants. As the demand of electricity across the world is growing at a healthy rate, it is spurring the need for augmentation in power generation, which is expected to eventually lead to the requirement of the power evacuation system. The long distance bulk power transmission becomes necessary for pithead power plants, as the economics of a power system with pithead power plants and long-distance power transmission is quite competitive. With pit head supercritical power plants being developed across the world, the long-distance electricity transport gains ground.
In India, the government has taken initiatives to allow flexibility in the utilization of domestic coal by the different states, which is a consequence of the need to optimize power generation schedule, to reduce overall cost of power at the national level and for the optimum utilization of the railway network for transportation of coal to power station. As the cost of transmitting electricity is less than coal transportation, the bulk transmission of electricity from pithead power plants is the more economical option. The renewable power sector across the world is witnessing huge growth, which includes widespread development of solar and wind power plants. The upcoming wind farms are located at remote locations, especially in the coastal region, which provides opportunities for development of the power transmission infrastructure. The aging power transmission infrastructure in countries such as the United States require an overhaul of the same. The US Department of Energy (DOE) has its Grid Modernization Initiative aimed at improving the resiliency, reliability, and security of the power delivery. It is estimated that the electric utility industry in the United States will need to make investments of around USD 1.5 to USD 2 trillion, from 2010 to 2030, in order to maintain the reliability of power delivery services. The power industry in the African region, especially in the East African countries, has been crippled by the lack of power transmission infrastructure. Inadequate transmission lines lead to underutilization of power generating assets, which is a big loss. The investments in electrification in African countries is in the growth phase, and investments in the power transmission infrastructure are likely to continue. However, in order to speed up the investments, the governments in the African countries will have to make regulatory reforms that will foster private sector participation and finance availability and build and maintain Africa’s electricity transmission infrastructure. In Europe, the European Union countries have planned to achieve interconnection of at least 10% of their installed electricity production capacity by 2020, which is expected to lead to trans-national trade of electricity by the same amount.
The technological advancements in power transmission systems have a vital role in their future growth. The high voltage direct current transmission (HVDC), based on Voltage Sourced Converter (VSC), is designed to transmit power underground and underwater, over the long distance, and it offers numerous benefits, like environmental benefits, neutral electromagnetic fields, hidden power lines, oil-free cables, and compact converter stations. One of the major recent developments in the power transmission industry across the world includes the award of six transmission projects in Brazil to Sterlite Power. Brazil is one the major hotspots for power transmission infrastructure development, as it requires an incremental 61,800 km in transmission lines. Citing the massive business opportunity in Brazil, Sterlite Power is mulling to invest about USD 4 billion in transmission projects by 2022.
The reasons for augmentation in power transmission are multifarious, but the objective is to optimize the performance of the power sector. Therefore, it can be concluded that impending investments in the power transmission system, spurred by increasing requirement of power supply across the world, is likely to provide widespread business opportunities in the value chain associated with power transmission.