India’s largest power generation company, NTPC is shifting its focus to renewable energy and going slow on coal-fired generation capacity addition to bring its business plan in line with the government’s priority to fight climate change.
The change in strategy might lead to a reduction in government’s capital spending this fiscal.
The state-run generator, which accounts for about 13% of the nation’s capacity, plans to spend Rs23,000 crore ($3.6 billion) as capital expenditure this financial year, which is about 18% lower than what it spent in the previous year.
Anyway, India has now become surplus in coal-fired generation capacity, a fact that is reflected in low plant load factor (PLF) of thermal plants.
NTPC is no exception. Other power generators too have become cautious about adding coal-fired capacity because of the dramatic fall in tariff for solar power plants in recent years.
The government is focusing on strengthening power and distribution network instead of pushing generation capacity addition, which is in no way urgent at this stage.
“There’s a glut in the power generation sector. NTPC already has a large project pipeline and that’s the reason we’re seeing it slowing down,” said an analyst.
The Central Electricity Authority has projected an 8.8% power surplus in the country this year. It made a similar projection last year, but fell short as demand overshot supply by 0.7%.