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Powering the Commonwealth Games 2010

With the Queen’s baton for the Commonwealth Games 2010 arriving at the historic Wagah post on the India-Pakistan border, a look at the state of infrastructure construction required for the Games is necessary.

To be held in New Delhi, the Commonwealth Games are expected to generate business worth $4,940 million, according to a study by PwC India. The Games will also generate up to 2.47 million jobs.

As a fall-out from the impending Games, infrastructure development has gathered momentum in and around the Delhi National Capital Region, although at a rather slower pace than targeted. Providing power to the mega event has been and is expected to be one among the bigger challenges before the government.

According to the scheme, Delhi plans to be power surplus by the time of the Games in October this year. To ensure additional power to Delhi, the government had undertaken large power-production initiatives to increase production to over 5,880 mega watts (mw) from the current 4,500mw. The power distribution system was to be streamlined, so that more power can be directed to Delhi from new plants.

However, delays — by a now the leitmotif of Indian infrastructure projects — has affected plans for the Games.

Two major power projects planned are a 1,500-mw plant at Bawana in northwest Delhi and a 750-mw plant at Jhajjar in Haryana, to be set up by NTPC. However, both these projects are facing delays and may not be ready completely. When these projects are commissioned, the government hopes, Delhi will have surplus power. However, the games might be over by then!

Hence, the Delhi government plans to import power from other states during the Games.

The power situation in the country is poor with the deficit in northern India touching its peak. Average power deficit stood at 11.8% in the June 2010 quarter.


 (in MW)

Sector Thermal Hydro Nuclear Total
Central 6,015.0 649 1,220 7,884.0
State 6,549.2 356 0 6,905.2
Private 6,191.0 461 0 6,652.0
Total 18,755.2 1,466 1,220 21,441.2
Source: Power Ministry


Power Generation (million kwh)
  Apr-June 2010 Apr-June 2009 % y-o-y growth
Thermal 166,316 159,243 4.4
Nuclear 5,243 4,195 25.0
Hydro 27,731 25,242 9.9
Total 200,315 189,724 5.6

While the thermal, hydro and nuclear power generation during the April–June 2010 quarter grew 4.44%, 9.86% and 25% respectively, but the overall growth rate during the period has been 5.58 %. This is because thermal power accounts for nearly 80% of the power generated in India.

  • Growth in thermal generation was constrained due to about 2.3% growth in coal based generation, mainly due to 88 % materialisation of the requirement. As on June 30, 2010, up to 32 power stations had critical stock, of which 12 had supercritical stock — that is, stock for less than four days.
  • Availability of gas from the KG basin (D6), as also utilisation of surplus gas available, on fall-back basis has resulted in better capacity utilisation.
  • Higher water levels at major reservoirs that feed nearly 48% of the hydro power plants in India led to higher power generation from this segment. As on June 30, 2010, water levels at 31 major reservoirs were about 33% higher than the levels prevailing on the same day last year.
  • Higher availability of uranium and thorium aided growth in nuclear power generation. Generation was fuelled by uranium imports from Russia and France, particularly after the civilian nuclear deals India signed with these countries.
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