22 Nov 2020  |   04:02am IST

400KV TL infrastructure for Goa or for the Railways?

400KV TL infrastructure for Goa or for the Railways?

Inacio E Vas

This is in reply to the article ‘The need of power infrastructure in Goa’ by Maria G. Durairaj (Herald, Nov 18). With due respect to his electrical knowledge, he fails to understand the repercussion of such projects on the highly sensitive and protected zones of Goa, which is very obvious when he passes his comment on the environmentalist slogan of “eating into the future of children”. 

Does he affirm that environmentalists are blind towards the future needs of the generations to come and only technocrats and business houses are well informed on these subjects and for that reason the COVID-19 virus has been closely related to the destruction of the nature and environment? Technology and development should be related to the social upliftment of humans and because we humans are so closely associated with the environment a line needs to be drawn as to how far humans can take the environment for granted. Trees are considered our lungs and rivers, lakes and springs as our bloodstreams. That close is the relation of humans with nature.

Now let us focus on the Central Electricity Authority forecast for Goa on the power demand. The predicted jump from the present 600+Mw to 1150+Mw by 2037, which is almost 100 per cent is based on what data? Does the CEA apply a common thumb rule for all States? Does it even consider the size of Goa and its carrying capacity? Or are we going to have huge power guzzlers coming into Goa in the next 10 years? How does the CEA forecast such a huge jump in power demand without the knowledge of the Goa government or is there something in the pipeline which the government is hiding from the local people? 

Goa is blessed to have supply from Karnataka and Maharashtra through the National Grid. With the present transmission lines in place and the power allotted to Goa we are self-sufficient with grid power and excess power the ED can sell and make up for the losses through the DC system of LILO. The Colvale power station is already operating on 400KV, however, and Xeldem sub-station is operating at 220KV. If this transmission line can be upgraded to 400KV then there is no need for another transmission line for another decade. New transmission line does not mean the power grid will sanction additional power to the State. 

The government has to look out for alternative means of power generation - solar/wind/tidal. Goa is never short of sunlight for almost eight months of the year from October to May and the most appropriate time of the year to go solar power. Then from June to September we have the monsoon which brings with it strong winds and the windmills can take care of the power during that time of the year. Also, during this time the tidal waves are strong and we can look at tidal power generation. In short Goa by itself can meet 40 per cent of its energy requirement from its own internal sources and that also eco friendly.

So where did the author miss the link?  He has not mentioned about the Gantry substation coming at Sangod (prior to Xeldem). Let us look into the current public agitations that Goa is into and the numerous debates that are happening around the country in support of the people’s movement. These agitations are against the coal handling operations in Goa originating at Mormugoa Port Trust (MPT). The agitations are against 1) transportation of coal through Goa 2)  Construction of 4-6 lane national highways through protected areas 3) Laying of 400KV transmission lines through the Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park.

We shall skip the first two and go straight to the 400KV transmission line project. As said earlier, the present 220 KV transmission line coming from Hubli Karnataka can be upgraded to 400KV and this can be done in a phased planned manner as Goa’s power allocation is healthy at the moment and for years to come. So why the hurry in getting the 400 KV transmission line project completed along with the other two? Is it because this proposed and approved 400KV transmission line is primarily for the railway traction system of the SWR to power the engines on electricity and the sole purpose of the Gantry Substation at Sangod which is close to Molem? This in turn will felicitate the smooth transition of the coal laden heavy goods train up the Anmod terrain with ease. The talk of boosting power conditions for future in Goa fall short when we think about coal. The Goa government has to come out clear on this as the full transmission line project is funded by Goa. A mere verbal assurance will not help at this stage when the people have lost all hope and respect for the elected representatives and this government. 

(The writer is an electrical engineer, environment activist and member of Goencho Avaaz)


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