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To enhance power generation and improve efficiency, the government plans to replace all 25-year-old power plants in India.
Minister of state for power, coal and renewable energy, Piyush Goyal, told Rajya Sabha on Wednesday that the new plants will be given automatic clearances for coal linkage and will be allowed to enhance capacity by up to 50%.
"Replacing old plants will also help in protecting the environment besides increasing efficiency... The capacity enhancement of 50% will also step up India's power generation," he said.
Power plant's capacity has increased by 60% in the last few years, while coal production has gone up by 7-8%, he added.
The government will amend the Electricity Act in the next session of Parliament to help bring improvements in tariff policy and regulations in the power sector, he added.
Stating that the Centre was taking all efforts to increase coal production, Goyal said coal linkages granted so far were "irrational" and are being reviewed across the country - a move that is expected to save a lot of funds.
He also revealed that the power plants with capacity of 69,842 MW were held up for various reasons, of which 45,634 MW were due to non- availability of coal.
On his government's commitment to provide 24x7 power across the country in the next five years, Goyal said that the states of Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh and Delhi have already discussed plans with his ministry regarding the same.
"We have assured full support of the government to all states and have invited other states also to come forward with similar plans."
In order to provide a fillip to domestic manufacturing, Goyal said the government has decided to allow only 100% indigenous domestic companies to participate in the tendering process for 1,000 MW solar power plants for the defence sector.
The move, he said, is aimed at promoting domestic solar power companies to help increase solar power production in the country.