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Big bets on nuclear, wind power, says PwC

Power companies worldwide expect generation and utilisation of wind and nuclear energy to increase substantially in the next five years, reports M Rajendran.

business Updated: Jun 16, 2007 10:55 IST

Power companies worldwide, including those in India, expect generation and utilisation of wind energy and nuclear energy to increase substantially in the next five years, says a Pricewaterhouse Cooper (PwC) report released on Thursday.

The ninth annual PwC report "Energy and Efficiency: Utilities Global Survey 2007", based on responses from 114 power companies in 44 countries, warns however, that regulatory reform in India, as well as large investments in energy efficient technology are essential to overcome the existing power shortages.

In 2006, the report reveals, only 17 per cent and 19 per cent of all power utilities were looking at wind and nuclear power respectively as alternative energy sources. But this year 48 per cent and 45 per cent of them are already doing so.

The adverse impact of climate change was one of the reasons for the power utilities altered approach.

Kameswara Rao, executive director and India utilities leader, PricewaterhouseCoopers, said, “The Government of India has taken steps to bring investment into thermal, hydro, nuclear and renewable energy generation and also into transmission. But to achieve desired results, further regulatory reform and more sincere efforts at restructuring are necessary.”

Companies in metals, chemicals and paper sectors are increasingly seeking to have captive power plants and reduce dependence on utility companies, says the survey. Investment in energy efficiency is a now a priority for all companies.

The survey also points that for the first time the shortage of skilled manpower is becoming a major factor in influencing mergers and acquisitions. Power companies worldwide are feeling the pinch. Increasingly improved infrastructure and new generation technology are driving up the demand for expertise. The ageing workforce in many developed countries and the paucity of graduates opting for engineering in some others has compounded matters.

“In India too, the state power utilities face a serious shortage of the right people with a large number of senior staff retiring and many young managers moving to the private sector. Power utilities of course need to recruit, but to attract reasonable talent they must professionalize their operations and introduce modern management methods. It is time they invested in their people and processes," said Rao.