Amidst the coal and power surplus situation, union minister of state for power, coal and renewable energy, Piyush Goyal says his real achievement would lie in revamping the investment cycle in the sector.
Speaking at the official launch of EnergyInfraPost.com, a website focussed on coverage of energy and infrastructure sector, Goyal said that the need of the hour was to refurbish the overall investment cycle in the sector.
He even added that he was tired of “tom-toming” that India had become an electricity surplus nation.
On the feasibility of achieving One Nation One Grid One Price, Goyal said that to make this happen there are three key elements namely UDAY enabling Discoms to increase volume of power purchase , planning sufficient Renewable Energy generating capacity in all regions and reducing coal imports by increasing coal production in the country .
The minister said that he wants to revive the investment in the power sector. Goyal added that there was need to increase the demand in the power sector and look for areas where demand can be increased.
Vinayak Chatterjee, Chairman of Feedback Infra–who shared the dais with Piyush Goyal at the launch of EnergyInfraPost.com said that the nation needs to do away with the concept of 29 separate power markets.
The idea requires constitutional amendment and also amendment to the Electricity Act, he said.
Chatterjee said today we have 29 states each of which is a defined market on its own, we have fragmented the nation into 29 power markets each with its own regulator. Today when the nation is being built into one nation with the GST we are taking of separate electricity markets.
“We need to examine whether we need 29 state regulators,” he added.
Another expert in the sector, SN Roy of L&T viewed one-nation one-grid as the top priority of the present ruling government.
He said there was need to achieve one-nation one-grid fully.
Transporting solar power to the national grid at the moment is not possible as solar energy is yet to achieve grid parity vis-à-vis thermal and southern transmission link needs to be connected to the national grid at equal and stable frequency.
Once we achieve grid parity it would help in better evacuation of power not only from renewable sources but also from power surplus states to deficit states, he said.
Pricing, regulatory and state level challenges continue to be there, Roy added.
One of the company’s that will get benefitted from the government’s thrust of solar power would be GE.
Rathin Basu, Chairman Alstom India and Managing Director Alstom T&D said GE is all geared up to support India’s 100 GW solar capacity addition plan.
Basu said that his company is poised to leverage from the massive opportunity in the solar energy space that has arisen from the government’s announcement of the 100 GW of solar power by 2022.
Basu also believed that the target was achievable and expressed readiness from the point of view of his company as well to take up the mammoth challenge.
We have solar power solutions with the electrical balance of plant, which could make good contributions to all solar large projects. And if you come to transmission then we have been a market leader for transmission and therefore increasing renewable is going to be a challenge for the grid because these are intermediate kind of power supply and we require strong and stable grid, he added.
To strengthen the interstate transmission lines, the government has initiated an ambitious programme, Goyal added.
Going by the latest data by the Central Electricity Authority, a techno-economic clearance body of the power sector, coal stocks at the various thermal power stations across the country has improved drastically in the past one year or so followed by increased or rather surplus electricity generation. But that surplus power is yet to be absorbed by the state electricity boards that are burdened with debt.
According to the CEA data, the current installed power generation capacity of the country stands at 3,03,083 MW, from all sources of energy. As much as 60,000 MW capacity has come up in the last two years.
Goyal has time and again said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s assurance of ‘Power for All’ may become a reality by 2019, instead of 2022 envisaged earlier.
The power minister has been lauded by the India Inc for not only reviving the coal sector but for bringing back the focus on power, more so on renewable energy.
Meanwhile, Ministry of Power would soon seek Union Cabinet’s approval to enable private sector electricity distribution companies to get operational benefits of the Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana (UDAY).
Currently, under the UDAY scheme the government cannot take over a private distribution company’s debt but the government can involve the distribution companies as far as the operational efficiency aspect is concerned.
Under UDAY, the scheme for reviving financially stressed electricity distribution utilities, state governments take over 75 per cent of the debt with the electricity distribution utilities. The remaining debt is issued as discom bonds, backed by state governments.