Prime Minister Narendra Modi will seek US technology and investments for setting up 100,000 MW each of solar and wind energy generation capacity in India over the next 10 years, according to official documents in HT’s possession.
This is expected to be part of the Prime Minister’s agenda during his US visit starting September 27 and forms an important part of his plan to provide 24x7 power across the country within five years.
The average price of setting up 1 MW of solar or wind power is about Rs 7 crore. At this price, the initiative will need an investment of Rs 4 lakh crore at current prices. The initiative can also generate up to 670,000 jobs in the country.
India’s total installed capacity across thermal, hydel, wind, solar and nuclear power currently 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.
The government wants the public sector NTPC and Coal India Ltd (CIL) to implement this mega initiative as they have strong balance sheets and also the experience of rolling out mega projects. NTPC has cash reserves of Rs 16,000 crore and CIL has reserves of Rs 57,000 crore.
A “working group (of US and Indian stakeholders) to partner NTPC’s and CIL’s plans to roll out 100,000 MW each of solar and wind energy projects in 10 years” is likely to be announced during Modi’s US visit, the document says.
In the run-up to the visit, the government has already scrapped a plan to impose additional duties on solar panels imported from the US and elsewhere.
Presently, India has an installed capacity of 2,750 MW of solar power and 21,800 MW of wind power.
The government is keen that US companies, which have the technology to generate and store solar and wind power, set up shop in India to manufacture solar panels, wind turbines and related components in India.
This will help reduce costs and generate jobs within the country.
Power and coal minister Piyush Goyal was not available for comment. “I want to see an India free of diesel generator and inverter within the term of our government,” Goyal had told HT recently.