Govt ropes in states to meet 24x7 power goal in 5 years

  • Anupama Airy, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Nov 05, 2014 01:52 IST

The Centre has prepared a detailed roadmap in consultation with states to make India “diesel generator and inverter free” in the next five years, and fulfill the Narendra Modi government’s promise to provide 24x7 power to every home, factory and farm and put the country back on the high-growth trajectory.

Power, coal and renewable energy minister Piyush Goyal recently held meetings with ministers of states and Union Territories. The states were told that generating power alone was not enough.

“Development of power generation sector alone cannot ensure 24x7 power supply without matching development of transmission and distribution (T&D) sectors,” a government official said. “For this involvement of the states is vital... states were urged to develop the T&D in partnership mode to keep pace with power generation.”

Losses in transmission are the bane of the power sector in India. Up to 40% of power generated is lost in distribution. State-specific measures agreed at the meeting included bringing down transmission and distribution losses to 15% at the national level. Targets have been set for each state to bring down T&D losses, and over-achievement would be rewarded, the official said.

Faster clearances for coal and power projects on land and environment, expeditious allotment of hydro projects, putting in place state-specific solar power policy besides correcting imbalances in state transmission and distribution systems were also discussed, said the official.

Power generation has also been given state-specific strategy. For instance, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Karnataka, Rajasthan and Gujarat among others were asked to focus on solar power, while Arunachal Pradesh and Uttrakhand were asked to exploit the available hydro potential.

The Centre has roped in international funding agencies and banks such as the World Bank for help; the thrust is on bringing down distribution losses and improving infrastructure, apart from focusing on solar power.

World Bank help has been sought for a state-wise turnaround plan for the key states that together account for about 80% of the country’s $20 billion (`1.2 lakh crore) annual power distribution losses.

“The World Bank will help the states to undertake the required, difficult turnaround actions and will evaluate and implement state-specific programmes by providing international financial resources through long term Re bonds or credit enhancement products,” a government official said.

India’s total installed power generation capacity in all modes stands at 250,000 MW. Of this, only about 140,000 MW is actually available because of coal and gas shortages and sub-optimal capacity utilisation.

Solar power capacity is just 2,750 MW, which the Modi government is hoping to increase to 100,000 MW in the next five years.

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