Research & Development is a priority focus area in the power sector.With the total installed capacity of over 173,000 MW ( as on 31.03.2011) and with a vision for providing affordable quality power to each strata of the Society by 2012, it is not only necessary to ensure that, state-of-the-art technology is utilized but also that appropriate technology is developed keeping in view the social operating conditions in the country and the need to observe economy in a capital intensive sector.
Broadly, R&D has two dimensions viz.
- R&D for Industry manufacturing electrical equipment for generation/transmission & distribution of power.
- The applied research involving improvement of efficiency and effectiveness of various techniques, procedures, processes, maintenance and upkeep of equipment from technical, techno-economic and technological point of view
The cost of research being prohibitively high it is necessary that state-of-the art technology evolved world-wide is harnessed to achieve our goals in the most efficient cost effective manner. In order to do this, we must be in a position to assess and assimilate the latest technologies, adapt available technologies to suit our applied needs and where required develop our own product to meet our own specific requirements.
Standing Committee on R & D (SCRD) in Power Sector was constituted in 2001 by the MOP under the chairmanship of Chairperson/CEA to prepare a perspective R & D plan for the next 15 years and to make recommendations from time ot time for optimum utilization of infrastructure, raising of funds and to ensure that the outcome of research results in benefits to the customers and enhances the operational efficiency of the sector. Task Forces in specific fields of power, namely: Transmission, Distribution, Thermal, Energy Conservation, Hydro and Renewables, assist the SCRD in evaluating R & D proposals. Earlier the SCRD recommended 4 (four) R & D projects which were taken up by the various organisations during 10th Plan. Subsequently, 7 (seven) of the projects recommended by the SCRD have been approved by the MOP for the 11th Plan.
Research & Development Centre was established by the NTPC in 1981. Subsequently, to enhance the research activities Energy Technology Centre was established in 2004. In order to bring synergy between energy technologies and research and development department and integrate their efforts and resources to enable quick maturing of research projects into a deployable technology, these depts. were merged to form NTPC Energy Technologies Research Alliance (NETRA) in 2009. NETRA is envisioned as state-of-the-art centre for research, technology development and scientific services in the domain of electric power to enable seamless work flow right from concept to commissioning. NETRA complex is the first ECBC( Energy Conservation Building Code) compliant building in NTPC. The focus areas of NETRA are-Climate Change & Waste Management; New & Renewable Energy; Efficiency Improvement & Cost Reduction and providing Scientific Support to Stations ( both of NTPC & external).
An Excellence Enhancement Centre for the Indian Power Sector is being set up ( with German assistance) with the following basic aims & objectives:
- To provide a common platform to share best practices in all areas of power sector and providing broad based expertise
- To raise awareness for the need of excellence
- To provide a platform for interaction amognst the power industries and power plant operators for technological development
- To provide common solutions and joint action plans for mitigating problems associated with power sector in consultation with top experts of power sector
- To disseminate the best practices at power stations
- To translate, print, publish and circulate appropriate material for dissemination of useful knowledge through magazines, pamphlets or other printed mode for the development and advancement of excellence in power sector
The CEA have created a Chair at IIT, Delhi to which the officers of the Ministry of Power (since extended to officers of NPTI and CPRI) and CEA are nominated for upgradation of their knowledge and skills.
For the applied research specific to the power sector an autonomous body under the administrative control of the Ministry viz. Central Power Research Institute (CPRI) has been created and funds are being provided to them under Plan head to carry out the essential research schemes.
While the manufacturers of electrical systems and equipments, except Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd., largely depend on the R&D of International organizations, the BHEL have a separate R&D Department of their own. The in-house R&D in the Central and State power utilities at present is attended to by R&D cells within their permissible resources.
In addition, organizations in the Power Sector depending on the need and area of activities are also taking up small R&D projects subject to their financial resources. For the academic research and technological upgradation, the sector has been depending on the researches going on in the existing institutes like IITs and IISc etc. T&R Division in this Ministry deals with the training & research matters and the administration of National Power Training Institute and the Central Power Research Institute the two autonomous registered societies functioning in the field of Training and R&D respectively. Details about NPTI and CPRI are available in their websites at http://www.npti.in/ and http://www.cpri.in