Interview

The ‘real demand’ for power is much more

In order to depict the real demand supply scenario it is necessary that the goal of ‘Power for All’ is accomplished.
Vimal Kejriwal, MD & CEO, KEC International Ltd
‘Power for All’ ought to be accomplished Presently, India’s per capita consumption of power is lowest amongst the BRIC nations and is just one third of the world average of around more than 3,000 kWh. While the phenomenon of surplus power is ideal, here it is solely with reference to people connected to the grid. “A large part of India’s population is still not connected to the grid and lacks access to electricity. The per capita availability of states is also low on account huge losses incurred. Affordable and reliable power is therefore a matter of concern. This clearly reflects that the real demand for power is much more, which necessitates that we augment its supply,” comments Vimal Kejriwal, MD and CEO, KEC International Ltd on power surplus.
He also opines, “We have to take into account the latent demand which will further enhance the demand supply requirement. In order to depict the real demand supply scenario it is necessary that the goal of ‘Power for All’ is accomplished.”
Strong grid enables seamless transmissionInforming on the game changer for this transformation Kejriwal believes, “A multitude of factors have led the Indian power sector to evolve over the years. The integration of the southern grid with the central grid is a commendable achievement which has enabled seamless transmission of power across India and empowered the country with one national grid.”
Further, the Indian government has been asserting significant thrust on the rapid growth and development of this sector which has led to sustained efforts being undertaken in the right direction. Endeavours, such as resolving coal related issues, expediting project clearances, reforming land acquisition norms etc, have been instrumental in improving the demand supply dynamics. Besides, Kejriwal considers, “Rolling out UDAY is also a positive step expected to improve the operational efficiency and reduce losses of discoms thereby resulting in more liquidity and in turn more opportunities for growth of this sector.”
KEC’s contribution “Since the last 7 decades, we have been powering significant infrastructure development across India and have played a vital role in the development of critical evacuation infrastructure including HVDC transmission line projects of up to 1,200kV. We are a front runner on technology and innovation front as well thereby successfully contributing to the growth of Indian power sector and the economy as a whole,” claims Kejriwal.
“Our strong project management capabilities, robust engineering and design credentials, exceptional manufacturing expertise and outstanding testing prowess reap in benefits like accelerated project deliveries leading to expediting the socio-economic progress and development of the region in concern. We are regularly appreciated for accelerated project deliveries in India and across the globe,” he informs.
Some noteworthy projects, endorsing KEC International credentials in India include: a) The company pioneered the use of covered conductor technology in India by executing a 66 kV covered conductor project in Bengaluru for Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Ltd. This technology is ideal for areas where shutdown of power is difficult and the corridor available is very narrow. With this 125MW of power supply was added to north Bengaluru area paving the way for zero blackouts in the region. 
b) KEC International completed the 400kV transmission line for Indo-Bangladesh Cross Border Interconnection 5 months ahead of its scheduled completion time, in record 7 months, despite numerous challenges including continuous sand boiling, continuous pit collapsing and swampy soil causing hindrance at many locations for execution of the foundation laying work. Barring logistics and severe monsoon challenges, the company completed the project and was lauded for accelerating its delivery.
c) The company successfully completed the 765kV Sasan – Vindhyachal transmission line in India amidst severe challenges. This was a challenging task as it had been on hold since the last three years due to severe Right of Way (ROW) and court cases. Undulated terrain and hard rock surface made tower spotting a challenge and PGCIL had to develop a special design for the foundation of four towers. It had to deploy special task force, jointly with the customer and local administration, to tackle the ROW issues. 32 metre boom cranes had to be deployed for three DD+25 metre towers. KEC International successfully completed this project in the timeframe set by the customer.
d) KEC International is currently executing projects at numerous locations in Jammu & Kashmir amidst severe challenges like extreme weather conditions, high altitude and difficulties in logistic arrangements. It is executing these projects as per the required timelines.
e) The company completed the 230kV Hybrid GIS Substation in Thiruverkadu, Chennai for TANTRANSCO in record 9 months, one month ahead of its schedule completion. A first of its kind, this was also the first time in the history of TANTRANSCO wherein a project delivery was accelerated by one month and it is glad to have contributed towards this accomplishment. 
The core challenges included building the substation on the banks of Cooum River, having depth of around 9 metres as well as deployment of multiple contractors for carrying out all the activities in parallel, so as to reduce the time lost. This was the first Hybrid project for KEC and Tamil Nadu Transmission Corporation Limited to be completed in all respects within the contractual period
Success was not easy  On sharing the turnaround story Kejriwal said, “When I joined KEC, it was in troubled waters with a turnover of Rs 500 crore, however, today, KEC is Rs 8,516 crore global infrastructure EPC major with footprints spanning over 61 countries. This transition was not easy; we have battled many difficult situations to reach to our present position.”
“At KEC, we continuously raise our benchmark and strive towards enhanced levels of excellence. During 2014-15, we underwent an organisation wide transformation exercise aimed at further enhancing our project management and execution capabilities. We understand that it is necessary to re-invent and innovate in order to maintain as well as enhance our success levels,” he adds.
Opportunities out of intra-state transmission infrastructureThe sector is gaining momentum and developments in this space are really encouraging. Numerous investment plans have been rolled out and a series of reforms and measures have been introduced. Huge network interconnectivity is envisaged with focus on affordability and reliability. All of this gives a very positive outlook to the sector.
“Substantial investments are being made by the state sector for expanding the intra-state transmission infrastructure, which is opening up good opportunities for players like us,” he states. In addition, many TBCB tenders floated sometime back have recently been awarded to the developers; will now unfold opportunities for EPC contractors. “New TBCB tenders have also been announced and we expect substantial EPC business from these, once awarded to the developers. Besides, the implementation of the green energy corridors has also commenced which is expected to unfold ample opportunities for players like us,” he anticipates. 

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