The 165km long transmission line is expected to address the increasing power requirements in the Indian state of Kerala

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The Pugalur - Thrissur HVDC project is a 165km long transmission line developed with a cost of $700m. (Credit: analogicus from Pixabay)

Indian Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi has inaugurated Power Grid Corporation of India’s 2GW Pugalur – Thrissur HVDC project in southern India.

The project is a 320kV, 165km long high voltage direct current line laid between Pugalur in Tamil Nadu and Thrissur in Kerala. The project cost is INR50.7bn ($700m).

Modi said that the Pugalur – Thrissur HVDC project marks the first HVDC interconnection of Kerala with National Grid. The new transmission line is expected to enable transfer of huge quantity of power to address the increasing power requirements of the southern state, said the Prime Minister.

The Pugalur – Thrissur transmission line also introduces the voltage-sourced converter (VSC) technology in India for transmission.

Modi said that Kerala largely depends on import of power from the National Grid because of its seasonal nature of internal power generation. A HVDC system will help to bridge the gap, said the Prime Minister.

The Pugalur – Thrissur HVDC project will bring additional power of 2GW to Kerala. Out of this, the state will be able to use half of the capacity currently, while the remaining capacity will be available after strengthening their system for which work is in progress.

India Minister of State (IC) Power and New & Renewable Energy R.K. Singh said: “We have also expanded the inter-regional transmission r capacity from 35,950 MW – in 2014 to 1,03,550 MW today. We increased the inter-regional transmission capacity to South India from 7,250 MW in 2014 to 21,450 MW; out of which the inter-state transfer capacity to Kerala is 3,300 MW.

“The allocation for Kerala from the Central Sector is 2,266 MW but its peak drawl from the National Grid has already touched 3,100 MW – touching the maximum transfer capacity to Kerala. As the demand increases – and it is expected to touch 5,000 MW by 2022, the capacity to transfer more power to Kerala needs to increase.”

The 165km long new transmission line to Kerala includes nearly 27km of underground cables.

In March 2017, Siemens and Sumitomo Electric were awarded a contract worth $520m to supply the HVDC system to the project.

The order secured by Siemens included supply of two converter stations with two parallel converters, each with a capacity of 1GW and equipped with its VSC HVDC technology. On the other hand, Sumitomo Electric secured a contract for the XLPE HVDC cable system in the DC circuit for the transmission project.