"However," feels Devesh Bansal, Director, Skipper "the market for monopoles has not got the traction it is supposed to receive due to the lack of awareness and expertise in the Indian utilities."
What categories of monopoles do you make for the power sector? How has the segment evolved design-wise?
Monopoles are used for a series of applications and are ideal for use when sufficient availability of land is restricted. They are the least-intrusive and easiest towers to erect, making them one of the most popular tower types in the industry. Skipper is a pioneer in this field and has global expertise in addressing the monopole and the structural accessory needs of the power transmission and distribution (T&D) industry. Leveraging a solid foundation of in-house engineering excellence, Skipper can design and manufacture structures that address tough technical challenges in most environments.
We manufacture power transmission monopoles from 33 kV to 765 kV-both single and double circuit lines-and power distribution monopoles up to 33 kV. Use of high tensile steel has been the key to reducing weights of these superstructures and paving the way for the design of monopoles covering multiple circuits along a wide range of voltages.
Are you associated with any joint venture(s)?
Since designing is a crucial aspect of our solutions, we are associated with the world-renowned designing company, Ramboll of Denmark for designing the best monopoles-an advantage that very few companies can provide.
Monopoles are recent additions to India's T&D infrastructure. How has the market progressed since its introduction?
Monopoles are the latest advancements in the T&D sector. It is more than 50 year since the European and some of the Gulf countries have been using these steel structures in T&D and telecom sectors. Monopole was first introduced in the year 2008-09 by Power Grid Corporation of India. Due to varied applications and advantages and the government's thrust on augmenting transmission capacity, monopoles have sought the attention of all the leading grid and distribution companies. However, the market for monopoles has not got the traction it is supposed to receive due to the lack of awareness and expertise with the Indian utilities. Being a relatively new product for the Indian market, the market size is still developing and it would be difficult to place any number to it at the moment.
What are the benefits of monopoles when compared to the angular, riveted towers that have been in use in the T&D sector for several decades now? Alternatively, what are the disadvantages that they may pose?
Riveted or angular towers have much larger base ground coverage compared to monopoles. The most challenging issues the transmission sector in India is facing today are the Right of Way (RoW), land acquisition, and regulatory and environmental clearances for the transmission lines. In India for many years, transmission lines have been constructed without any major RoW issues. However, with increased awareness of farmers and land owners, it has become increasingly difficult to get smooth and timely RoW clearances for reserved forests, bird sanctuaries and religious structures. Considering the lesser area requirement and several other advantages, monopoles are considered as replacements to the angular towers.
A few advantages are listed below:
Availability of space: The space consumed by a monopole, compared to a lattice structure of the same capacity, is almost 70 per cent less. Hence, monopole structures become suitable for heavily-populated and congested areas like metros and other cities.
Easy installation: As the number of components used in monopoles are much lesser than those used in lattice tower structures, the installation time is much lower.
Designing: Due to its built-in flexibility and lower aerodynamic coefficient, poles are subject to lesser wind load as compared to the conventional tower structures.
Aesthetically pleasing: Occupying lesser space makes monopoles look aesthetically smarter.
Protection against vandalism: Since poles are more continuum-type structures, they offer more resistance to vandalism.
Alternatively, the challenges or disadvantages of installing monopoles are cited below:
Difficulty in transportation: Monopoles require heavy cranes for their deployment and installation.
Limit transmission of high voltage current: Manufacturing limitations for voltage higher than 765 kV exist
Since monopoles are cantilever-type structures, they have higher over-turning moments at the base, which necessitate the use of heavy pile foundations.
What are the differences in the carrying capacities of monopoles and angular towers?
The load carrying capacity of a lattice tower is up to 1,200 kV and higher, whereas for monopoles it is up to 765 kV only, with no major difference in the frequency levels. Yes, both of them can be adapted to both AC/DC lines.
What are the challenges that you face in the Indian scenario? How can they be combated?
The primary challenge in our country is the lack of awareness of monopoles as compared to other utilities. Currently, many prestigious utilities like TS TRANSCO, AP TRANSCO, UPPTCL, MPPTCL, KPTCL, MSETCL, and HVPNL are considering implementation of monopoles for lines with RoW issues. In fact PGCIL too has come up with tenders for the installation and type testing of monopoles up to 765 kV.
Where does the market possibility for monopoles exist in the T&D infrastructure segment? Would such towers completely replace the existing T&D tower infrastructure in the years to come?
Nowadays most of the transmission utilities are facing problems in laying transmission lines in urban areas due to severe RoW problems. This is in view of non-availability of adequate land for installation of conventional lattice-type towers. To overcome these practical difficulties, monopoles are the latest alternatives to lattice-type self-supporting towers, seeking much lower space sought by lattice towers for erection. Hence, wherever there are RoW issues, monopoles come out as tentative solutions. Considering the current scenario, monopoles will not completely take over the angular tower's market share any time soon.
Have any global standards evolved for monopoles?
For monopoles, we are currently using ASCE48-05/48-11. The software used for designing poles are PLS Pole and STAAD PRO. However, unlike the US and Europe, BIS is yet to come up with global standards for the manufacturing of monopoles.
What is your market perspective for the segment over the next five years? How much of an opportunity do you see for the segment in mainstream power T&D?
A decade from now, we expect both angular towers and monopoles to coexist in the mainstream power T&D. However, considering the potential of the product, we do expect a substantial growth in the number of projects in the coming few years.
- RAHUL KAMAT
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