Where does Bangalore’s power come from?

Bangalore had been reeling under a power shortage until recently. The city alone consumes about a third of the state’s total power. What are Bangalore’s power sources?

For over a month, there have been reports about power shortage in the city. Early October, BESCOM had contemplated power cuts for industries, but later changed the plan when rains started.

Currently, the city has shortage of around 100 MW daily, which is only less than 5% of its total requirement, says P Manivannan, MD of BESCOM [1]. The shortage for entire BESCOM area is upto 600 MW. Manivannan says, "The shortage cannot be quantified, but varies from 0-600 MW through the day depending on wind and other sources. We are able to handle it, and are not contemplating any load shedding for the city."

Bangalore’s daily power demand is about 2300 MW (Mega Watt). That is, 2300 MW of power is transmitted throughout the day to the city on average (there are sharp differences in peak and non-peak hour consumption though). Bangalore consumes about one-third of the state’s total power. Karnataka’s average demand is 6000 MW per day.

Pic: wikimediacommons

Overall, Bangalore consumes 42 Million Units (MU) energy per day, as opposed to state’s 140 MU. The transmission of 2300 MW through the day, leads to consumption of 42 MU of energy.

What are our power sources?

Bangalore is powered by the same grid that supplies to the entire state – there are no specific sources for Bangalore alone. The sources include hydel, thermal and non-conventional sources like wind and sun. The state also gets power from Central Generating Stations (CGS) like Neyveli Lignite Corporation, Kaiga Atomic Power Station in North Karnataka etc. Together, the sources have the maximum capacity to produce 12,000 MW of power, but actual generation is about 6000 MW and the extent of generation from each source varies through the day. Major sources are the state’s own hydel and thermal power stations.

Hydel power:

The state has over 15 hydel power stations – Shivanasamudra, Sharavathy and Bhadra are some of them. Though hydel power is a major part of state’s power, BESCOM gets only a small share of it. The amount of hydel power allocation is fixed for ESCOMs (Electricity Supply Companies).

BESCOM gets 12% of state’s hydel power for its entire area which also includes Tumkur, Chitradurga, Davanagere etc (not just Bangalore). Because of this low dependency on hydel power, poor monsoon rains do not hinder power supply to Bangalore as much.

Thermal power:

Thermal power comes from coal, gas and diesel stations. Raichur and Bellary Thermal Power Stations (RTPS and BTPS), and Yelahanka Diesel Generating Station (YDGS) are the state’s major thermal stations. Unlike hydel power, thermal power is stable as long as there is no shortage of coal/diesel.

Central Generating Stations (CGS):

CGS are thermal/nuclear stations. The stations are maintained by central government, and each state gets a specified share of the power generated. The state in which the station is located, will get majority of the power while neighbouring states will get a smaller share. Karnataka gets about 1000 MW from CGS, on average.

Non Conventional Energy Projects (NCEPs):

This power is produced not by government agencies, but by Independent Power Producers (IPPs). NCE sources mainly are wind, sun, biomass etc. Wind generation is a major part of NCEPs, but depends on wind availability. While IPPs like Tata BP Solar exclusively generates solar power, much of NCE is generated in factories as by-product.

For instance, in sugar and steel factories, while production process goes on, power can be generated simultaneously. The factories use part of this power for themselves, and sell the excess to the state. Udupi Power Corporation Ltd (UPCL), a major IPP, produces power from imported coal.

How power reaches Bangalore

Three agencies are involved in the procurement, transmission and supply of power, before it reaches consumers. Karnataka Power Corporation Ltd (KPCL) is the state agency that gets power from different generating stations. KPCL also buys power from other states when required.

Another agency, Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Ltd (KPTCL) is in charge of transmitting power to different ESCOMs, including BESCOM. Once it gets the power from KPTCL, BESCOM’s local network supplies it to consumers.

All of this is co-ordinated by KPTCL’s State Load Despatch Centre (SLDC). ESCOMs inform SLDC about their power requirement forecast for the next day, 24 hours earlier. Similarly, KPCL informs SLDC of its generation forecast, a day before. Depending on this, the total power is distributed among each ESCOM for the next day. Demand and supply varies through the day, and SLDC maintains real-time data on this.

Addendum
[1] added

Comments:

  1. Rohit says:

    Informative article, thanks!

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