M. Prasanna Kumar

Managing Director, Gujarat State Electricity Corporation Limited

M. Prasanna Kumar, ma­naging director, Guja­rat State Electricity Cor­po­­­­ration Limited (GSECL), has over 30 ye­ars of experience in the generation se­c­tor across fuel management, operations and maintenance, coal handling and power plant erection. Prior to joining GSECL, he was wor­king with NTPC Li­­mi­­ted as an executive director, handling corporate fuel management.

“The Gujarat power sector is characterised by a higher share (around 32 per cent) of renewable generation ca­pa­­city,” he remarks. “Given the sta­te governme­nt’s mandated renewable energy ca­pa­city addition, GSECL has undertaken massive solar PV capacity ad­di­tion on wa­s­teland to supply cheaper power to the agricultural sector during the daytime. The lowest ever solar tariff of Rs 1.96 per kWh was also achieved for GSECL’s Babarzar solar PV project.” He believes that over the next 15-20 years, businesses would be requir­ed to run in hybrid mode, based on combined or pool­ed costs (ther­m­al and rene­w­ables), where the blended cost proportion will provide a reasonable sol­ution consi­dering dema­nd scalability, availability and pr­i­ce. Pra­sa­n­na Kumar expects signi­fi­ca­nt changes in the generation segment, driven by the influx of renewable energy into the grid. He adds that in future, the performance of the se­c­­tor will depend on how well re­newables are integrated with the grid. “Energy sto­rage is likely to play a cru­­c­ial role in the next few years,” he adds. “En­­e­r­gy sto­rage will help meet an­cillary re­quire­men­ts as well as minimise devi­a­ti­o­ns.”

On the outlook for coal-based power, Prasanna Kumar says that this segment will continue to play an important role in the future in spite of the rapid growth in renewable power. Despite renewables ac­hieving cost parity with thermal power, balancing po­wer will be provided by coal. “Gi­ven the highly variable output of rene­w­able energy (particularly wind) plan­ts, coal will have to be utilised for add­re­­­ssing de­mand shortages,” he adds.

Prasanna Kumar is a fellow of the Institute of En­­gineers and has presented and published a number of technical and managerial papers at national and international conferences and in various jo­urna­ls. He is also chairman, Western Re­gi­on Po­wer Committee, Mumbai, for 2021-22. Pra­sa­­nna Kumar is a mechanical engineering graduate from Nagarjuna Uni­versity and also holds an MBA in op­erations management, ma­r­keting ma­na­ge­ment, fi­n­an­cial management and hu­man resou­r­ces management.

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