Interview

Power surplus: Not as rosy as it seems

Renewable energy, especially solar power, can go a long way in making India self-sufficient in electricity generation.
Hartek Singh, Chairman & Managing Director, Hartek Power Pvt Ltd
  One of India’s fastest growing EPC companies specialising in rooftop solar and connecting solar power to the grid, Hartek Power is passionate about sustainable energy and smart grid solutions. Much of the electricity that India is generating will go waste unless there is a matching T&D infrastructure in place to ensure its proper supply. As T&D specialists, the company bridge this critical gap by syncing power plants with the grid.
Having executed more than 150 high-voltage and extra high-voltage substation turnkey projects up to 400kV, Hartek Power has also connected 258MW of solar power to the grid since it ventured into solar EPC three years ago. Going by the sizeable orders bagged by the company in the first half of the current financial year, it has raised the bar and set a target of commissioning substations for at least 500MW solar projects in 2016-17. The company is also going all out to consolidate its operations in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Karnataka by targeting substation orders for at least 500 MW solar projects from these states in the next financial year.
Hartek Power forayed into the rooftop solar segment only recently, and has installed more than 13MW solar PV projects already. It recently executed Chandigarh’s first rooftop project in the commercial category, and also plan to enter the residential segment with its solar solutions.
Hartek Singh, Chairman and Managing Director, Hartek Power Pvt Ltd sounds optimistic with the expected power supply surplus in the country but still believe that the picture is not as rosy as it seems at first glance. He says, “It is heartening that India’s power deficit has steadily declined from 11 per cent in 2008-09 to 2.9 per cent in 2015-16. For the first time, the country will register a surplus of 1.1 per cent in 2016-17 if the Load Generation Balance Report of the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) is an indication. But the picture is not as rosy as it seems at first glance. While it is the difference between demand for power and its availability that determines surplus or deficit, the way we perceive demand presents a rather misleading surplus position.”
“While calculating power demand, only people who are connected to the grid and have access to electricity are taken into consideration. The real demand will be much more when India achieves the goal of ‘Power for All’ and industrial demand shoots up to fuel the country’s development needs. The entire surplus will get consumed then. Let’s be prepared to offset this fallout. Let’s not forget that 300 million Indians don’t have access to electricity to this day and many consumers in the industrial and farm segments still have to rely on backup arrangements in view of erratic power supplies,” he adds.
If we are becoming power surplus, why do we have power cuts? “While state discoms are unable to buy electricity due to poor financial health, generation companies are curtailing production. Rampant load shedding continues unabated. There is so much unused power lying in the grid,” complains Singh.
Combination of factors are game changer “It’s hard to pinpoint any one game changer. A combination of factors is behind this transformation. Any change in the entire ecosystem which makes the grid sustainable can be a game change,” he states. “The phenomenal improvement in transmission infrastructure and the unprecedented growth in generation capacity have brought about a huge difference, coupled by power reforms and the government’s efforts to overcome fuel scarcity and unclog the system by approving projects that were stuck up for want of environmental clearance. India, which has seen phenomenal capacity additions in the past two years, is all set to become power surplus despite a 7.03 per cent growth in demand in this period as against 5.65 per cent in the previous 10 years,” he informs.
With southern states shifting their focus to solar energy in recent years to overcome their power deficit, things are looking up in South India, which is expected to register a surplus of 3.3 per cent in 2016-17. “Other states should also follow suit in quest of the national target of 175GW from renewable sources of energy by 2022. Renewable energy, especially solar power, can go a long way in making India self-sufficient in electricity generation,” advised Singh.
Hartek’s turnaround storySharing the company’s turnaround story Singh described, “A first-generation entrepreneur, I started out as a marketing executive of power equipment in 1987 before venturing into the power sector business with Amtek Energy & Power Pvt Ltd, a marketing company of industrial high-tension products, four years later. In a span of just two decades, I transformed this marketing company into the billion INR-plus Hartek Group through sheer hard work and strategic planning.” Today, the Hartek Group operates through five strategic business units—Power Systems, Rooftop Solar, Power Distribution Products, Fuel Services and Value Added Services. Deriving our strength from its diversified portfolio, it is now present in 17 Indian states.
The company ventured into the business of executing substations in 2007 with the inception of Hartek Power Pvt Ltd and forayed into solar EPC six years later. “I used my business acumen to build up on the collaborative model of doing business through significant collaborations, technical know-how support and licence agreements with global industry giants. This initiative gave rise to Hartek India Pvt Ltd, an alliance partner of Schneider Electric in manufacturing high-voltage electrical panels and other power distribution products, in 2012. We have emerged as a vital link in the T&D value chain through backward integration with the manufacturing of power distribution products,” he added.
Giving a brief on the opportunities on the business front Singh says, “Sensing enormous opportunities in the Indian solar space, we ventured into the solar EPC business in 2013, coinciding with the boom in the solar sector. With India’s power generation capacity growing at a rapid pace to meet the ever-increasing demand for electricity and the government’s target of ‘Power for All’ by 2019, we sense immense opportunities across the entire power sector value chain.”

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