Ed­i­tor's note

Power Watch India - - EDITORS NOTE - Sap­tarshi R Dutta Ed­i­tor

It was while lay­ing the foun­da­tion stone of the first phase (1,400 MW) of the 2,800 MW Haryana Nu­clear Power Project (Haryana Anu Vidyut Pariy­o­jna) at Haryana’s Fate­habad dis­trict (250 km from Chandigarh) in the sec­ond week of Jan­uary this year, that Prime Min­is­ter Man­mo­han Singh, said, “Our gov­ern­ment has laid a lot of em­pha­sis on the power sec­tor. The power gen­er­a­tion ca­pac­ity en­hance­ment in the last 10 years is higher than what was achieved in the pre­vi­ous 55 years since in­de­pen­dence.”

His state­ment has come at a time when resur­gence of gov­ern­ment in­ter­est in nu­clear power may be called mod­est at its best. The sec­tor saw a mere 1.8% growth in 2012-13 and is ex­pected to grow only by 5.9% in 2013-14 to 34.8 bil­lion units (BU), ac­cord­ing to a Septem­ber 2013 re­port by the Cen­tre for Mon­i­tor­ing In­dian Econ­omy (CMIE). As on 31st March, 2013, the coun­try’s to­tal in­stalled ca­pac­ity of elec­tric­ity gen­er­at­ing sta­tions was 2,23,343.60 MW. While the gov­ern­ment has ex­pressed some keen­ness by way of proac­tive mea­sures such as ren­o­va­tion and mod­ern­iza­tion (R&M) of old power plants, and im­proved coal and gas avail­abil­ity for the power sec­tor, the lat­ter reg­is­tered a growth rate of a mea­gre 3.96% in 2012-13, with a peak deficit of 9%.

Gas-based gen­er­a­tion de­clined by 28.5% in 2012-13. Lower avail­abil­ity of nat­u­ral gas, es­pe­cially due to de­clin­ing out­put from the Kr­ishna-Go­davari basin, im­pacted gas-based power gen­er­a­tion. The down­ward trend in gas-based gen­er­a­tion is likely to con­tinue in 2013-14 and ac­cord­ing to CMIE, de­cline by around 10% in 2013-14. The gov­ern­ment has now planned a ca­pac­ity ad­di­tion of 88,537 MW for the 12th Five Year Plan pe­riod. Some spe­cific in­ter­ven­tions that it in­tends to take in in­clude mon­i­tor­ing of ca­pac­ity ad­di­tion of on-go­ing gen­er­a­tion projects; reg­u­lar re­view meet­ings be­tween the Min­istry of Power (MoP) with the CEA, equip­ment man­u­fac­tur­ers, state util­i­ties/CPSUs/project de­vel­op­ers, etc. to iden­tify the bot­tle­necks in ca­pac­ity ad­di­tion and re­solve th­ese is­sues; the for­ma­tion of sev­eral joint ven­tures for man­u­fac­ture of main plant equip­ment in­dige­nously; and a thrust on power gen­er­a­tion from re­new­able sources.

To this end, based on MNRE fig­ures, grid in­ter­ac­tive re­new­able ca­pac­ity ad­di­tion likely dur­ing the 12th Plan is about 30,000 MW. Of course, for in­stance, since 2010, the coun­try has hiked in­stalled so­lar power ca­pac­ity from a mea­gre 17.8 megawatts to more than 2,000 MW, prob­a­bly aligned with the Prime Min­is­ter’s vi­sion of mak­ing “the sun oc­cupy cen­tre-stage” in the coun­try’s en­ergy mix. The gov­ern­ment has also set a tar­get of gen­er­at­ing 20,000 MW of grid-con­nected so­lar power and 2,000 MW of off-grid gen­er­a­tion, such as rooftop pan­els by 2022. In spite of this so­lar cen­tre stag­ing though, In­dian so­lar equip­ment com­pa­nies have not been prof­it­ing. The land­scape has been char­ac­ter­ized by mas­sive equip­ment im­ports, mainly from China, but also from the United States and Tai­wan. Their In­dian coun­ter­parts say that un­less im­ports are curbed, the coun­try will never de­velop an in­dige­nous so­lar in­dus­try. The com­merce min­istry has, in fact, launched a pre­lim­i­nary in­quiry into al­le­ga­tions of dump­ing, around the same time as cor­po­rate bank­ruptcy, loan re­struc­tur­ing and pleas to the gov­ern­ment for sup­port against in­ter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tion from equip­ment man­u­fac­tur­ers.

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