The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on Thursday approved the second phase of the Green Energy Corridor (GEC) for Intra-State Transmission System (InSTS), a move that will aid grid integration and evacuation of close to 20 gigawatts of renewable energy (RE) capacity across seven States. The scheme will be implemented by FY26 and is likely to cost more than ₹12,000 crore.

The GEC-Phase II scheme aims to add around 10,750 circuit kilometres (ckm) of transmission lines and about 27,500 mega volt-amperes (MVA) transformation capacity of substations. It will facilitate grid integration and power evacuation of RE projects in Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy said in a statement.

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It is targeted to be set up with an estimated cost of ₹ 12,031.33 crore with Central Financial Assistance (CFA) at 33 per cent, or roughly ₹ 3,970.34 crore. The transmission systems will be created over a period of five years from FY22 to FY26. The CFA will help in offsetting the intra-State transmission charges and thus keep power costs down, it added.

GEC project is one of the most crucial components in India’s journey to have 500 GW of RE power capacity by 2030 and to achieve 50 per cent share of energy from non-fossil fuels. While RE generation has increased, it is the grid integration that is a challenge. To evacuate electricity from these RE projects, the government planned the expansion and modernisation of distribution and transmission grids. It will also address RE limitations such as intermittency (limitation in generating electricity at all hours of the day) and variation in power quality.

Another benefit of modernising transmission and distribution grids is that it will accelerate inter-state sale of RE. Besides, the waiver on inter state transmission system (ISTS) charges will also help bring down RE costs and will eventually aid States in fulfilling their renewable purchase obligations (RPOs) and meet electricity demand.

Long-term energy security

MNRE emphasised that GEC will contribute to the long term energy security of India and promote ecologically sustainable growth by reducing carbon footprint. This also assumes importance as India wants to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2070. The GEC will generate large direct and indirect employment opportunities for skilled and unskilled labour in power and related sectors.

This scheme is in addition to the GEC-Phase I, which is under implementation in RE-rich states of Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu for grid integration and power evacuation of around 24 GW of RE power and is expected to be completed this year.

This phase is for the addition of 9,700 ckm of transmission lines and 22,600 MVA capacity of substations having estimated cost of transmission projects of ₹10,141.68 crore with CFA of ₹ 4,056.67 crore.