‘Modi Govt added record power capacity in 1st year’
Buoyed by the lowest-ever power deficit at 3.6 per cent on the back of 22,566 MW capacity addition, Coal and Power Minister Piyush Goyal on Wednesday said the stage has been set for energy security by ‘Team India’ for 50 years. During the past one year, the minister said, 22,566 <g data-gr-id="62">mw</g> of generation capacity was added to the existing level and there has been highest-ever increase in transmission line capacity of 22,100 circuit kilometres over and above the highest jump in sub-station capacity of
66,554 <g data-gr-id="45">mw</g>.
Reeling off achievements of the NDA government during its first year, Goyal said transparent coal auctions, corruption-free governance and de-bureaucratisation, among others, will help the Prime Minister’s vision of 24X7 affordable power to all become a reality. “A Rs 38,000-crore green energy corridor is being set up to transmit renewable energy” and clean energy will be prioritised with 25 solar parks of about 100 MW each, Goyal said while unveiling the blueprint for growth. Speaking to reporters, he said, “We have a plan to scale up the solar mission to 1,00,000 MW by 2022, which is 3,000 MW at present. It is a 33 times increase.”
He said 17 solar parks have already been approved and are fast-tracked and added that the government is confident of offering 15,877 MW of solar generating capacity for implementation. Also, the government is working on encouraging educated unemployed youth to set up solar units aggregating 20,000 MW of capacity. Welcoming FDI, he said, “We are also considering dollar tariffs in some cases to encourage foreign investment to come in and hedging against their debt or capital in dollars, which will help us keep the cost of solar power very reasonable.”
He added, “Of course, we will be creating a self-hedging mechanism to ensure it does not cause any distress to purchasing <g data-gr-id="48">discoms</g> and that self-purchase mechanism is being worked out right now. We are confident that all these will provide employment to about 50,000 youth.”
Talking about state-owned Coal India, Goyal said it produced a record 32 million tonnes (MT) of dry fuel and is looking at 100 MT by 2020 while the country’s total output is pegged at 150 MT. The future plans of the government include raising renewable energy capacity by more than five times to 1,75,000 MW by 2022, five <g data-gr-id="63">ultra-mega</g> power plants totaling 20,000 MW, reduction in peak load shortages through revival of stranded gas-based power plants, Rs 1.09 lakh crore investment in sub-transmission and distribution and Rs 1 lakh crore of new transmission projects to be bid out in the current year, he said.
Power Minister Piyush Goyal further said, “Long term vision by Team India, with the cooperation from state governments, will ensure energy security for the country, at least for the next 50 years.” He said the Prime Minister’s focus is on rural electrification and steps are on to provide connectivity to 28 crore rural populaces which is devoid of power connection.
On state <g data-gr-id="59">discoms</g> facing poor financial health, Goyal said states have been fiscally imprudent over several years. “Take the case of Rajasthan which <g data-gr-id="60">Vasudhara</g> Raje inherited in a complete state of collapse. The Government of Rajasthan, between 2008 and 2013, had ruined the <g data-gr-id="61">discoms</g> of Rajasthan, causing a loss of nearly Rs 15,000 crore every year in that one state alone and had been allowing rampant power theft (which led to) rampant losses,” he said.
This type of fiscal imprudence has caused the <g data-gr-id="66">discoms</g> dearly, he said, adding that a similar situation was witnessed in Maharashtra and some other states but “state governments now are becoming conscious of their duties, they are trying to bring down their losses and I see a reducing trend in the losses in the <g data-gr-id="67">discoms</g> of Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh and Haryana.” The Centre is helping states to borrow at lower rates of interest and bring down their power theft through Deen Dayal Upadhyay Gram Jyoti <g data-gr-id="68">Yojna</g> and Integrated Power Development Scheme. He said the government plans to fast-track rollout of LED bulbs which will result in reduction of 27,000 MW peak load. “All bulbs will be replaced with LEDs over next three years, resulting in huge savings in power bills for consumers while proposed amendments in Electricity Act will allow consumers to <g data-gr-id="69">chose</g> and change power supplier, with competition improving affordability and service,” he said.
Development of backward regions is the government’s priority, he said, adding that investments worth Rs 9,865 crore have been approved for upgrading power systems in 8 North-Eastern states and transmission lines have been approved with investments of Rs 26,000 crore to evacuate power to southern region from western region. Listing “elimination of corruption” as one of the major achievements of his government during the year, he said through transparent coal auctions, “we were able to create a framework that national resources of India cannot be given out in an arbitrary manner and it should be judicious.”