The government is considering an Aadhaar-like unique identification for all the power projects in the country to know the right amount of electricity generation and consumption, electricity requirement, demand-supply patterns, and transmission system requirements.
An online registry is proposed for the power producers, which include operators of all thermal, hydro, renewable and captive plants. The government is weighing taking stringent actions against non-compliance by power plant developers to ensure complete registration of power projects, a government official said. The registry will also help new power plants secure regulatory clearances, he said.
“The ministry is considering keeping a tab on the generation and consumption pattern. Post deregulation of the power sector, the power generation plants have not come for clearances to the power ministry. Some of the coal-based power generation plants were missed in the 12th Five Year Plan period, putting stress on electricity transmission planning,” he said. About 40% of captive power plants are estimated to be unaccounted in the electricity produced in India.
Likewise, most renewable projects including solar, small hydro and biogas are not included in the electricity consumption data.
Besides adequate transmission planning, accurate electricity generation and consumption data is critical as it is considered as one of the indicators of economic growth.
On July 7, ET reported that the government brushed aside arguments that electricity demand in India is low and said the problem is of oversupply as companies had invested heavily for profits.
The power ministry said electricity generation in India is growing at a robust rate. It argued that power consumption numbers are low as they do not include electricity purchased in the open markets and exports, while low plant utilisation and lack of PPAs is due to the problem of plenty. Industry insiders, however, differed saying consumption is the sum of demand of all states and has nothing to do with spot or bilateral markets. Growth rate in electricity generation in 2016-17 visa-vis 2015-16 is 5.83%, growth rate in consumption in the same period is 4.08%, the power ministry said.
The latest electricity generation figures released by CEA reflect a healthy percentage increase over last year of 8.66% for May 2017 and 7.06% for April-May 2017, power ministry statement released last week said.
Indian coal-based power plants are operating at 65%. Nearly 30,000 MW is ideal while another 40,000 MW is in the pipeline to be added to the current installed capacity of 330 GW. The government also plans to add 175 GW of renewable energy plants over and above the coal plants.