The future definitely belongs to a greater usage of monopoles, says Devesh Bansal - Director, Skipper Ltd.
Says Devesh Bansal - Director, Skipper Ltd, in conversation with R Srinivasan.
Your views on minimal usage of monopoles in India even though they’ve been around since 2010 and their usage as compared to countries world-wide that have adopted them for many years now.
Globally, monopoles have been in use in the transmission and distribution (T&D) and telecom sectors for over 50 years. However, monopoles were first introduced in India by PowerGrid Corporation of India during 20082009. In spite of its advantages of saving space and time for grid managers and the discom, it is yet to take off in Indian markets. This is especially relevant for urban parts of the country where monopoles are also economical, due to a lesser space requirement.
One more major reason for a delayed application is because of lack of awareness among decision-makers and utility personnel. Few other reasons for lesser usage of monopoles are because of its weight and need of superior engineering to build the same.
Comment on potential of the market for monopoles.
The most common problem faced by transmission utilities these days are laying the transmission lines in urban areas of the country due to severe Right of Way (ROW) and corridor width issues. This is due to non-availability of land and space required by conventional lattice towers. The current solution is introduction of monopoles that occupy 70% lesser space than traditional lattice towers. Thus there is enormous potential awaiting monopoles in the transmission and distribution sector. For this reason itself, monopoles are being widely used in the telecom industry, especially in expensive urban centres where ROW issues exist.
What are their advantages and disadvantages as compared to lattice towers?
Transmission monopoles are the latest addition to overhead transmission lines and considered to be a replacement for existing lattice towers. A major advantage of monopoles is that it offers a major solution to corridor width and ROW problems that are faced in land acquisition. Here are a list of advantages and disadvantages of monopoles over conventional lattice towers.
- Availability of space - Space consumed by a monopole compared to a lattice structure of same capacity is almost 70% less. Hence
monopole structures become suitable for heavily populated and congested areas like metros and other cities.
- Easy installation - As the number of fittings for monopoles are much lesser than lattice tower structures, the chances of failure are lesser. - Designing – Due to their flexibility, poles are subjected to lesser wind loads as compared to tower structures.
- Shorter project delivery – Due to lesser number of fittings, installation is 3 - 4 times faster - Aesthetically pleasing – As they occupy lesser space, monopoles are more aesthetic in appearance. - Protection against vandalism – Since poles are continuum types, they are resistant to vandalism. Disadvantages:
- Expensive – The cost of manufacturing monopoles is higher as compared to lattice towers - Since monopoles are Cantilever structures, the base is critical
- Difficulty in transportation – Monopoles require heavy cranes
- Limits transmission of high voltage current – Manufacturing limitations for voltage higher than 765 kV or higher
What factors make them more expensive though they have lesser units and joints?
Considering monopoles to be single-pole structure, virtue of design and the process of manufacturing monopoles makes it more expensive than conventional lattice towers.
What measures has the company taken to increase awareness levels?
Skipper Ltd has one of the largest designing and manufacturing facility of monopoles in India. We can design, manufacture and galvanise monopoles up to 400 kV. Skipper has in-house facilities to design world-class poles. Considering lesser awareness being one of the prime reasons of monopoles not being widely used in India, at Skipper we chose to do several presentations to utilities, promoting through advertisements and advertorials and circulating collaterals, based on monopole usage.
By roughly when do you expect its widespread usage in India?
Till a decade from now we expect both angular towers and monopoles to coexist. Only for new installations and at places where enough land is not available, monopoles shall be used. However considering the potential of the product we do expect a substantial growth in the number of projects in the coming few years.
Your view on the monopoles segment this year and in the years to come.
The industry is at a nascent stage in India but the future definitely belongs to greater usage of monopoles. Once utility owners start appreciating the benefits that monopoles accord, it will surely see a multi-fold increase in usage.