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Cover Story | November 2016

Hydro-rich states Karnataka, AP, Kerala reap benefits

Aditya Ravidran | Associate Consultant, Feedback Business Consulting Services Pvt Ltd

The distribution of monsoon this season has been the best in the last three years.

What is the impact of the recent monsoon on the various segments - generation, transmission and distribution - of the power sector, in general and why?
India┬┤s hydro power generation capacity is mostly concentrated in the Himalayan regions, and these generating stations are fed from the glaciers. Due to this reason, the hydro power sector did not see a significant uptick at a country level as would be expected by many. At a state-level, however, many hydro-power rich states like Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala etc., have benefitted.

On the other hand, the thermal power sector did see a significant change. Till a few years back, coal stocks at thermal power plants would be alarmingly low during the rainy season owing to reduced mining activity and low coal stock at pitheads. This year, there was sufficient coal stock at the power plants as well as the pitheads which averted the need for running these plants at lower PLFs.

The decent availability of power in the system meant that there were no untoward events like blackouts or load-shedding in the transmission and distribution network of the country.

Which of the generation sources like coal, gas, nuclear, solar and wind, that got affected or effected due to the monsoon and how?
Coal-based thermal power generation did not face any stress from low coal stock as it used to in the past. These plants were able to run free of any hiccups. (Renew) On the renewable side, solar power generation has seen a dip due to the unfavourable circumstances like prolonged cloud-cover brought by the weather. This has been compensated by the increased generation from wind energy systems, particularly in the southern states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. (due to higher wind speeds during the monsoon.)

What is its impact of the recent monsoon on specific segments like diesel engines and gensets, pumps and pumping systems, batteries and inverters, EPC contractors and operation and maintenance operations and how it will affect the companies in these segments?
(Details of/brief on case examples/studies are welcome) Sales of diesel engines, inverters and batteries picks up with the progress of summer and continues throughout the rainy season. This is because of the fact that the frequency of power outages tend to be more during these seasons owing to load-shedding in summers and technical outages (line faults and circuit tripping) in the rainy seasons.

On the other hand, a better spread of monsoon meant that there was reduced dependence on irrigation facilities, pumps and pumping systems during this Kharif season.

The rural economy is expected to turnaround in a few months creating more demand for products and services. How that is expected to increase demand for various power products and services?
A better monsoon is sure expected to result in a better crop yield, and this would bring more disposable income to the rural agrarian households. This means that there would be an economic boom in the rural sector with an increased demand for products and services. A part of this investment would also go into the farm equipment sector, creating more demand for latest technologies like energy efficient pumps and solar pumpsets.

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