Research & Development is a priority focus area in the power sector. With the total installed capacity of over 4,25,535.52 MW (as on 30.10.2023) and with a vision for providing affordable quality power to each strata of the Society, 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 re-constituted in 2015 by the MOP under the chairmanship of Chairperson/CEA to identify and prioritize important strategic areas of Research and Development including inter sector research projects, which are to be considered for implementation under the three Research schemes namely, In-house R&D(IHRD), Research Scheme on Power (RSoP) and R&D under NPP and also to identify leading Researchers and Domain Experts in diverse areas of Power Sector and engage them in the Research Schemes. Technical Committees in specific fields of power, namely: Thermal Generation, Hydro Generation, Transmission and Grid, Distribution & Energy Conservation, assist the SCRD in evaluating R&D proposals.
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).
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.
CPRI has established a Chair Professor position at IISc., Bangalore in the year 2013 for inviting highly qualified professionals (scientists/ engineers / faculties) in Power Engineering from foreign universities and research institutes to share their expertise with the CPRI Officers / Scientists and the budding researchers and students at IISC, Bangalore.
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. Details about CPRI are available in their websites at https://cpri.res.in